William McKinley (1897-1901)

William McKinleyWilliam McKinley (January 29, 1843 - September 14, 1901) was the last veteran of the Civil War to be elected, by the 1880s this Ohio native was a nationally known Republican leader; his signature issue was high tariffs on imports as a formula for prosperity, as typified by his McKinley Tariff of 1890. As the Republican candidate in the 1896 presidential election, he upheld the gold standard, and promoted pluralism among ethnic groups. His campaign, designed by Mark Hanna, introduced new advertising-style campaign techniques that revolutionized campaign practices and beat back the crusading of his arch-rival, William Jennings Bryan. The 1896 election is often considered a realigning election that marked the beginning of the Progressive Era. McKinley presided over a return to prosperity after the Panic of 1893 and was reelected in 1900 after another intense campaign against Bryan, this one focused on foreign policy. As president, he fought the Spanish-American War. McKinley for months resisted the public demand for war, which was based on news of Spanish atrocities in Cuba, but was unable to get Spain to agree to implement reforms immediately. Later he annexed the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as Hawaii, and set up a protectorate over Cuba. He was assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, and succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.¹

Quotes

"Cuba ought to be free and independent, and the government should be turned over to the Cuban people."

"Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not in conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war."

"The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation."

"We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is Manifest Destiny."

Noteworthy Sites

¹ William McKinley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Books on William McKinley
Essays on William McKinley and His Administration
William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

 


 
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