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William Mckinley Celluloid Photo Ribbon Columbus Ohio 1896 Republican Political For Sale
Size is 2 3/8" X 6 1/2" In great condition, a celluloid photo on a ribbon. Shows great and 100%
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about the condition and I will answer the best I can.William McKinley
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the 25th President of the United States. For other people with the same name, see William McKinley (disambiguation).
25th President of the United States
March 4, 1897– September 14, 1901
Garret Hobart (1897–1899)
Theodore Roosevelt (1901)
39th Governor of Ohio
January 11, 1892– January 13, 1896
(1843-01-29)January 29, 1843
Niles, Ohio, U.S.
September 14, 1901(1901-09-14) (aged58)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
McKinley National Memorial
Katherine, Ida (both died in early childhood)
Allegheny College, Albany Law School
United States Army
Years of service
23rd Ohio Infantry
American Civil War
William McKinley (January 29, 1843– September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897 until his assassination in September 1901. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals.
Though McKinley's administration was cut short with his assassination,
his presidency marked the beginning of a period of dominance by the Republican Party that lasted for more than a third of a century.
McKinley was the last President to have served in the American Civil War, beginning as a private in the Union Army and ending as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton, Ohio, where he practiced law and married Ida Saxton. In 1876, he was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican Party's expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity. His 1890 McKinley Tariff was highly controversial; which together with a Democratic redistricting aimed at gerrymandering
him out of office, led to his defeat in the Democratic landslide of
1890. He was elected Ohio's governor in 1891 and 1893, steering a
moderate course between capital and labor interests. With the aid of his
close adviser Mark Hanna,
he secured the Republican nomination for president in 1896, amid a deep
economic depression. He defeated his Democratic rival, William Jennings Bryan, after a front-porch campaign
in which he advocated "sound money" (the gold standard unless altered
by international agreement) and promised that high tariffs would restore
Rapid economic growth marked McKinley's presidency. He promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition, and in 1900, he secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act. McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba
without conflict, but when negotiation failed, he led the nation in the
Spanish–American War of 1898; the U.S. victory was quick and decisive.
As part of the peace settlement Spain turned over to the United States its main overseas colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; Cuba was promised independence but at that time remained under the control of the U.S. Army. The United States annexed the independent Republic of Hawaii in 1898 and it became a U.S. territory.
McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election, in a campaign focused on imperialism, prosperity, and free silver. President McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in September 1901, and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt. Historians regard McKinley's 1896 victory as a realigning election, in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. He is generally placed near the middle in rankings of American presidents.
1 Early life and family
2 Civil War
2.1 Western Virginia and Antietam
2.2 Shenandoah Valley and promotion
3 Legal career and marriage
4 Rising politician 1877–1895
4.1 Spokesman for protection
4.2 Gerrymandering and defeat for re-election
4.3 Governor of Ohio
5 Election of 1896
5.1 Obtaining the nomination
5.2 General election campaign
6 Presidency 1897–1901
6.1 Inauguration and appointments
6.2 War with Spain
6.3 Peace and territorial gain
6.4 Expanding influence overseas
6.5 Tariffs and bimetallism
6.6 Civil rights
6.7 Judicial appointments
6.8 1900 election
6.9 Second term and assassination
7 Funeral, memorials, and legacy
7.1 Funeral and resting place
7.2 Other memorials
7.3 Legacy and historical image
8 Administration and cabinet
9 See also
13 External links
Early life and family
William McKinley at age 15
William McKinley, Jr., was born in 1843 in Niles, Ohio, the seventh child of William and Nancy (Allison) McKinley. The McKinleys were of English and Scots-Irish descent and had settled in western Pennsylvania in the 18th century. There, the elder McKinley was born in Pine Township. The family moved to Ohio when the senior McKinley was a boy, settling in New Lisbon (now Lisbon). He met Nancy Allison there in 1829, and married her the same year. The Allison family was of mostly English blood and among Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. The family trade on both sides was iron-making, and McKinley senior operated foundries in New Lisbon, Niles, Poland, and finally Canton, Ohio.
The McKinley household was, like many from Ohio's Western Reserve, steeped in Whiggish and abolitionist sentiment. Religiously, the family was staunchly Methodist and young William followed in that tradition, becoming active in the local Methodist church at the age of sixteen. He was a lifelong pious Methodist.
In 1852, the family moved from Niles to Poland so that their children
could attend the better school there. Graduating in 1859, he enrolled
the following year at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. He remained at Allegheny for only one year, returning home in 1860 after becoming ill and depressed.
Although his health recovered, family finances declined and McKinley
was unable to return to Allegheny, first working as a postal clerk and
later taking a job teaching at a school near Poland.
Western Virginia and Antietam
Rutherford B. Hayes was McKinley's mentor during the Civil War and afterward.
When the southern states seceded from the Union and the American
Civil War began, thousands of men in Ohio volunteered for service. Among them were McKinley and his cousin, William McKinley Osbourne, who enlisted as privates in the newly formed Poland Guards in July 1861. The men left for Columbus where they were consolidated with other small units to form the 23rd Ohio Infantry. The men were unhappy to learn that, unlike Ohio's earlier volunteer regiments, they would not be permitted to elect their officers; they would be designated by Ohio's governor, William Dennison. Dennison appointed Colonel William Rosecrans as the commander of the regiment, and the men began training on the outskirts of Columbus. McKinley quickly took to the soldier's life and wrote a series of letters to his hometown newspaper extolling the army and the Union cause. Delays in issuance of uniforms and weapons again brought the men into conflict with their officers, but Major Rutherford B. Hayes
convinced them to accept what the government had issued them; his style
in dealing with the men impressed McKinley, beginning an association
and friendship that would last until Hayes' death in 1893.
After a month of training, McKinley and the 23rd Ohio, now led by Colonel Eliakim P. Scammon, set out for western Virginia (today part of West Virginia) in June 1861 as a part of the Kanawha Division. McKinley initially thought Scammon was a martinet, but when the regiment finally saw battle, he came to appreciate the value of their relentless drilling. Their first contact with the enemy came in September when they drove back Confederate troops at Carnifex Ferry in present-day West Virginia. Three days after the battle, McKinley was assigned to duty in the brigade quartermaster office, where he worked both to supply his regiment, and as a clerk. In November, the regiment established winter quarters near Fayetteville (today in West Virginia). McKinley spent the winter substituting for a commissary sergeant who was ill, and in April 1862 he was promoted to that rank.
The regiment resumed its advance that spring with Hayes in command
(Scammon by then led the brigade) and fought several minor engagements
against the rebel forces.
That September, McKinley's regiment was called east to reinforce General John Pope's Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Delayed in passing through Washington, D.C., the 23rd Ohio did not arrive in time for the battle, but joined the Army of the Potomac as it hurried north to cut off Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia as it advanced into Maryland. The 23rd was the first regiment to encounter the Confederates at the Battle of South Mountain on September 14. After severe losses, Union forces drove back the Confederates and continued to Sharpsburg, Maryland, where they engaged Lee's army at the Battle of Antietam, one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
The 23rd was also in the thick of the fighting at Antietam, and
McKinley himself came under heavy fire when bringing rations to the men
on the line.[a]
McKinley's regiment again suffered many casualties, but the Army of the
Potomac was victorious and the Confederates retreated into Virginia. The regiment was then detached from the Army of the Potomac and returned by train to western Virginia.
Shenandoah Valley and promotion
McKinley in 1865, just after the war. Photograph by Mathew Brady.
While the regiment went into winter quarters near Charleston, Virginia (present-day West Virginia), McKinley was ordered back to Ohio with some other sergeants to recruit fresh troops. When they arrived in Columbus, Governor David Tod surprised McKinley with a commission as second lieutenant in recognition of his service at Antietam. McKinley and his comrades saw little action until July 1863, when the division skirmished with John Hunt Morgan's cavalry at the Battle of Buffington Island. Early in 1864, the Army command structure in West Virginia was reorganized, and the division was assigned to George Crook's Army of West Virginia. They soon resumed the offensive, marching into southwestern Virginia to destroy salt and lead mines used by the enemy. On May 9, the army engaged Confederate troops at Cloyd's Mountain, where the men charged the enemy entrenchments and drove the rebels from the field. McKinley later said the combat there was "as desperate as any witnessed during the war." Following the rout, the Union forces destroyed Confederate supplies and skirmished with the enemy again successfully.
McKinley and his regiment moved to the Shenandoah Valley as the armies broke from winter quarters to resume hostilities. Crook's corps was attached to Major General David Hunter's Army of the Shenandoah and soon back in contact with Confederate forces, capturing Lexington, Virginia, on June 11. They continued south toward Lynchburg, tearing up railroad track as they advanced. Hunter believed the troops at Lynchburg were too powerful, however, and the brigade returned to West Virginia. Before the army could make another attempt, Confederate General Jubal Early's raid into Maryland forced their recall to the north. Early's army surprised them at Kernstown on July 24, where McKinley came under heavy fire and the army was defeated. Retreating into Maryland, the army was reorganized again: Major General Philip Sheridan replaced Hunter, and McKinley, who had been promoted to captain after the battle, was transferred to General Crook's staff. By August, Early was retreating south in the valley, with Sheridan's army in pursuit. They fended off a Confederate assault at Berryville, where McKinley had a horse shot out from under him, and advanced to Opequon Creek, where they broke the enemy lines and pursued them farther south. They followed up the victory with another at Fisher's Hill on September 22, and were engaged once more at Cedar Creek on October 19. After initially falling back from the Confederate advance, McKinley helped to rally the troops and turn the tide of the battle.
After Cedar Creek, the army stayed in the vicinity through election
day, when McKinley cast his first presidential ballot, for the incumbent
Republican, Abraham Lincoln. The next day, they moved north up the valley into winter quarters near Kernstown. In February 1865, Crook was captured by Confederate raiders.
Crook's capture added to the confusion as the army was reorganized for
the spring campaign, and McKinley found himself serving on the staffs of
four different generals over the next fifteen days—Crook, John D. Stevenson, Samuel S. Carroll, and Winfield S. Hancock. Finally assigned to Carroll's staff again, McKinley acted as the general's first and only adjutant. Lee and his army surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant a few days later, effectively ending the war. McKinley found time to join a Freemason lodge (later renamed after him) in Winchester, Virginia, before he and Carroll were transferred to Hancock's First Veterans Corps in Washington. Just before the war's end, McKinley received his final promotion, a brevet commission as major. In July, the Veterans Corps was mustered out of service, and McKinley and Carroll were relieved of their duties.
Carroll and Hancock encouraged McKinley to apply for a place in the
peacetime army, but he declined and returned to Ohio the following
Legal career and marriage
Ida Saxton McKinley
After the war ended in 1865, McKinley decided on a career in the law and began studying in the office of an attorney in Poland, Ohio. The following year, he continued his studies by attending Albany Law School in New York. After studying there for a year, McKinley returned home and was admitted to the bar in Warren, Ohio, in March 1867. That same year, he moved to Canton, the county seat of Stark County, and set up a small office. He soon formed a partnership with George W. Belden, an experienced lawyer and former judge.
McKinley's practice was successful enough for him to buy a block of
buildings on Main Street in Canton, which provided him with a small but
consistent rental income for decades to come.
When his Army friend Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for governor in
1867, McKinley made speeches on his behalf in Stark County, his first
foray into politics. The county was closely divided between Democrats and Republicans but Hayes carried it that year in his statewide victory. In 1869, McKinley ran for the office of prosecuting attorney of Stark County, an office usually then held by Democrats, and was unexpectedly elected. When McKinley ran for re-election in 1871, the Democrats nominated William A. Lynch, a prominent local lawyer, and McKinley was defeated by 143 votes.
As McKinley's professional career progressed, so too did his social life blossom as he wooed Ida Saxton, the daughter of a prominent Canton family.
They were married on January 25, 1871, in the newly built First
Presbyterian Church of Canton, although Ida soon joined her husband's
Methodist church. Their first child, Katherine, was born on Christmas Day 1871. A second daughter, Ida, followed in 1873, but died the same year. McKinley's wife descended into a deep depression at her baby's death and her health, never robust, grew worse. Two years later, in 1875, Katherine died of typhoid fever. Ida never recovered from her daughters' deaths; the McKinleys had no more children. Ida McKinley developed epilepsy around the same time and thereafter disliked her husband leaving her side. He remained a devoted husband and tended to his wife's medical and emotional needs for the rest of his life.
Ida insisted that McKinley continue his increasingly successful career in law and politics.
He attended the state Republican convention that nominated Hayes for a
third term as governor in 1875, and campaigned again for his old friend
in the election that fall. The next year, McKinley undertook a high-profile case defending a group of coal miners arrested for rioting after a clash with strikebreakers. Lynch, McKinley's opponent in the 1871 election, and his partner, William R. Day, were the opposing counsel, and the mine owners included Mark Hanna, a Cleveland businessman. Taking the case pro bono, he was successful in getting all but one of the miners acquitted.
The case raised McKinley's standing among laborers, a crucial part of
the Stark County electorate, and also introduced him to Hanna, who would
become his strongest backer in years to come.
McKinley's good standing with labor became useful that year as he campaigned for the Republican nomination for Ohio's 17th congressional district. Delegates to the county conventions thought he could attract blue-collar voters, and in August 1876, McKinley was nominated.
By that time, Hayes had been nominated for President, and McKinley
campaigned for him while running his own congressional campaign. Both were successful. McKinley, campaigning mostly on his support for a protective tariff, defeated the Democratic nominee, Levi L. Lamborn, by 3,300 votes, while Hayes won a hotly disputed election to reach the presidency. McKinley's victory came at a personal cost—his income as a congressman would be half of what he earned as a lawyer.
Rising politician 1877–1895
Spokesman for protection
For additional information on the currency question, see Cross of Gold speech#Background.
McKinley first took his congressional seat in October 1877, when President Hayes summoned Congress into special session.[b] With the Republicans in the minority, McKinley was given unimportant committee assignments, which he undertook conscientiously. McKinley's friendship with Hayes did McKinley little good on Capitol Hill; the President was not well-regarded by many leaders there. The young congressman broke with Hayes on the question of the currency, but it did not affect their friendship. The United States had effectively been placed on the gold standard by the Coinage Act of 1873;
when silver prices dropped significantly, many sought to make silver
again a legal tender, equally with gold. Such a course would be
inflationary, but advocates argued that the economic benefits of the
increased money supply would be worth the inflation; opponents warned that "free silver" would not bring the promised benefits and would harm the United States in international trade. McKinley voted for the Bland-Allison Act
of 1878, which mandated large government purchases of silver for
striking into money, and also joined the large majorities in each house
that overrode Hayes' veto of the legislation. In so doing, McKinley
voted against the position of the House Republican leader, his fellow
Ohioan and friend, James Garfield.
From his first term in Congress, McKinley was a strong advocate of
protective tariffs. The primary purposes of such imposts was not to
raise revenue, but to allow American manufacturing to develop by giving
it a price advantage in the domestic market over foreign competitors.
McKinley biographer Margaret Leech noted that Canton had become prosperous as a center for the manufacture of farm equipment because of protection,
and that this may have helped form his political views. McKinley
introduced and supported bills that raised protective tariffs, and
opposed those that lowered them or imposed tariffs simply to raise
revenue. Garfield's election as president in 1880 created a vacancy on the House Ways and Means Committee; McKinley was selected to fill it, placing him on the most powerful committee after only two terms.
McKinley increasingly became a significant figure in national
politics. In 1880, he served a brief term as Ohio's representative on
the Republican National Committee. In 1884, he was elected a delegate to that year's Republican convention,
where he served as chair of the Committee on Resolutions and won
plaudits for his handling of the convention when called upon to preside.
By 1886, McKinley, Senator John Sherman, and Governor Joseph B. Foraker were considered the leaders of the Republican party in Ohio.
Sherman, who had helped to found the Republican Party, ran three times
for the Republican nomination for president in the 1880s, each time
while Foraker began a meteoric rise in Ohio politics early in the
decade. Hanna, once he entered public affairs as a political manager and
generous contributor, supported Sherman's ambitions, as well as those
of Foraker. The latter relationship broke off at the 1888 Republican National Convention,
where McKinley, Foraker, and Hanna were all delegates supporting
Sherman. Convinced Sherman could not win, Foraker threw his support to
the unsuccessful Republican 1884 presidential nominee, Maine Senator James G. Blaine. When Blaine stated he was not a candidate, Foraker returned to Sherman, but the nomination went to former Indiana senator Benjamin Harrison,
who was elected president. In the bitterness that followed the
convention, Hanna abandoned Foraker, and for the rest of McKinley's
life, the Ohio Republican Party was divided into two factions, one
aligned with McKinley, Sherman, and Hanna and the other with Foraker.
Hanna came to admire McKinley and became a friend and close adviser to
him. Although Hanna remained active in business and in promoting other
Republicans, in the years after 1888, he spent an increasing amount of
time boosting McKinley's political career.
In 1889, with the Republicans in the majority, McKinley sought election as Speaker of the House. He failed to gain the post, which went to Thomas B. Reed of Maine; however, Speaker Reed appointed McKinley chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. The Ohioan guided the McKinley Tariff
of 1890 through Congress; although McKinley's work was altered through
the influence of special interests in the Senate, it imposed a number of
protective tariffs on foreign goods.
Gerrymandering and defeat for re-election
Recognizing McKinley's potential, the Democrats, whenever they controlled the Ohio legislature, sought to gerrymander or redistrict him out of office.
In 1878, McKinley faced election in a redrawn 17th district; he won
anyway, causing Hayes to exult, "Oh, the good luck of McKinley! He was
gerrymandered out and then beat the gerrymander! We enjoyed it as much
as he did." After the 1882 election, McKinley was unseated on an election contest by a near party-line House vote.
Out of office, he was briefly depressed by the setback, but soon vowed
to run again. The Democrats again redistricted Stark County for the 1884
election; McKinley was returned to Congress anyway.
Judge magazine cover from September 1890, showing McKinley (left)
having helped dispatch Speaker Reed's opponent in early-voting Maine,
hurrying off with the victor to McKinley's "jerrymandered" Ohio
For 1890, the Democrats gerrymandered McKinley one final time,
placing Stark County in the same district as one of the strongest
pro-Democrat counties, Holmes, populated by solidly Democratic Pennsylvania Dutch.
The new boundaries seemed good, based on past results, for a Democratic
majority of 2000 to 3000. The Republicans could not reverse the
gerrymander as legislative elections would not be held until 1891, but
they could throw all their energies into the district, as the McKinley
Tariff was a main theme of the Democratic campaign nationwide, and there
was considerable attention paid to McKinley's race. The Republican
Party sent its leading orators to Canton, including Blaine (then Secretary of State), Speaker Reed and President Harrison. The Democrats countered with their best spokesmen on tariff issues. McKinley tirelessly stumped his new district, reaching out to its 40,000 voters to explain that his tariff
was framed for the people... as a defense to their industries, as a
protection to the labor of their hands, as a safeguard to the happy
homes of American workingmen, and as a security to their education,
their wages, and their investments... It will bring to this country a
prosperity unparalleled in our own history and unrivalled in the history
of the world."
Democrats ran a strong candidate in former lieutenant governor John G. Warwick.
To drive their point home they hired young partisans to pretend to be
peddlers, who went door to door offering 25-cent tinware to housewives
for 50 cents, explaining the rise in prices was due to the McKinley
Tariff. In the end, McKinley lost by 300 votes, but the Republicans won a
statewide majority and claimed a moral victory.
Governor of Ohio
Even before McKinley completed his term in Congress, he met with a
delegation of Ohioans urging him to run for governor. Governor James E. Campbell, a Democrat, who had defeated Foraker
in 1889, was to seek re-election in 1891. The Ohio Republican party
remained divided, but McKinley quietly arranged for Foraker to nominate
him at the 1891 state Republican convention, which chose McKinley by
acclamation. The former congressman spent much of the second half of
1891 campaigning against Campbell, beginning in his birthplace of Niles.
Hanna, however, was little seen in the campaign; he spent much of his
time raising funds for the election of legislators pledged to vote for
Sherman in the 1892 senatorial election.[c] McKinley won the 1891 election by some 20,000 votes;
the following January, Sherman, with considerable assistance from
Hanna, turned back a challenge by Foraker to win the legislature's vote
for another term in the Senate.
Even after his final run for president in 1884, James G. Blaine was still seen as a possible candidate for the Republican nomination. In this 1890 Puck cartoon, he is startling Reed and McKinley (right) as they make their plans for 1892.
Ohio's governor had relatively little power—for example, he could recommend legislation, but not veto it—but with Ohio a key swing state, its governor was a major figure in national politics. Although McKinley believed that the health of the nation depended on that of business, he was evenhanded in dealing with labor.
He procured legislation that set up an arbitration board to settle work
disputes and obtained passage of a law that fined employers who fired
workers for belonging to a union.
had proven unpopular; there were divisions even within the Republican
party as the year 1892 began and Harrison began his re-election drive.
Although no declared candidate opposed Harrison, many Republicans were
ready to dump the President from the ticket if an alternative emerged.
Among the possible candidates spoken of were McKinley, Reed, and the
aging Blaine. Fearing that the Ohio governor would emerge as a
candidate, Harrison's managers arranged for McKinley to be permanent
chairman of the convention in Minneapolis,
requiring him to play a public, neutral role. Hanna established an
unofficial McKinley headquarters near the convention hall, though no
active effort was made to convert delegates to McKinley's cause.
McKinley objected to delegate votes being cast for him; nevertheless he
finished third, behind the renominated Harrison, and behind Blaine, who
had sent word he did not want to be considered. Although McKinley campaigned loyally for the Republican ticket, Harrison was defeated by former President Cleveland in the November election. In the wake of Cleveland's victory, McKinley was seen by some as the likely Republican candidate in 1896.
Soon after Cleveland's return to office, hard times struck the nation with the Panic of 1893. A businessman in Youngstown,
Robert Walker, had lent money to McKinley in their younger days; in
gratitude, McKinley had often guaranteed Walker's borrowings for his
business. The governor had never kept track of what he was signing; he
believed Walker a sound businessman. In fact, Walker had deceived
McKinley, telling him that new notes were actually renewals of matured
ones. Walker was ruined by the recession; McKinley was called upon for
repayment in February 1893. 
The total owed was over $100,000 and a despairing McKinley initially
proposed to resign as governor and earn the money as an attorney. Instead, McKinley's wealthy supporters, including Hanna and Chicago publisher H. H. Kohlsaat,
became trustees of a fund from which the notes would be paid. Both
William and Ida McKinley placed their property in the hands of the
fund's trustees (who included Hanna and Kohlsaat), and the supporters
raised and contributed a substantial sum of money. All of the couple's
property was returned to them by the end of 1893, and when McKinley, who
had promised eventual repayment, asked for the list of contributors, it
was refused him. Many people who had suffered in the hard times
sympathized with McKinley, whose popularity grew.
He was easily re-elected in November 1893, receiving the largest
percentage of the vote of any Ohio governor since the Civil War.
McKinley campaigned widely for Republicans in the 1894 midterm
congressional elections; many party candidates in districts where he
spoke were successful. His political efforts in Ohio were rewarded with
the election in November 1895 of a Republican successor as governor, Asa Bushnell,
and a Republican legislature that elected Foraker to the Senate.
McKinley supported Foraker for Senate and Bushnell (who was of Foraker's
faction) for governor; in return, the new senator-elect agreed to back
McKinley's presidential ambitions. With party peace in Ohio assured,
McKinley turned to the national arena.
Election of 1896
Main article: United States presidential election, 1896
Obtaining the nomination
McKinley's close friend and adviser, Mark Hanna.
It is unclear when William McKinley began to seriously prepare a run
for president. As Phillips notes, "no documents, no diaries, no
confidential letters to Mark Hanna (or anyone else) contain his secret
hopes or veiled stratagems."
From the beginning, McKinley's preparations had the participation of
Hanna, whose biographer William T. Horner noted, "what is certainly true
is that in 1888 the two men began to develop a close working
relationship that helped put McKinley in the White House."
Sherman did not run for president again after 1888, and so Hanna could
support McKinley's ambitions for that office wholeheartedly.
Backed by Hanna's money and organizational skills, McKinley quietly
built support for a presidential offer through 1895 and early 1896. When
other contenders such as Speaker Reed and Iowa Senator William B. Allison
sent agents outside their states to organize Republicans in support of
their candidacies, they found that Hanna's agents had preceded them.
According to historian Stanley Jones in his study of the 1896 election,
Another feature common to the Reed and Allison campaigns was their
failure to make headway against the tide which was running toward
McKinley. In fact, both campaigns from the moment they were launched
were in retreat. The calm confidence with which each candidate claimed
the support of his own section [of the country] soon gave way to...
bitter accusations that Hanna by winning support for McKinley in their
sections had violated the rules of the game.
Hanna, on McKinley's behalf, met with the Eastern Republican political bosses, such as Senators Thomas Platt of New York and Matthew Quay
of Pennsylvania, who were willing to guarantee McKinley's nomination in
exchange for promises regarding patronage and offices. McKinley,
however, was determined to obtain the nomination without making deals,
and Hanna accepted that decision.
Many of their early efforts were focused on the South—Hanna obtained a
vacation home in southern Georgia where McKinley visited and met with
Republican politicians from the region. McKinley needed 453½ delegate
votes to gain the nomination; he gained nearly half that number from the
South and border states. Platt lamented in his memoirs, "[Hanna] had the South practically solid before some of us awakened."
Louis Dalrymple cartoon from Puck magazine,
June 24, 1896, showing McKinley about to crown himself with the
Republican nomination. The "priests" are Hanna (in green) and
Congressman Charles H. Grosvenor (red); H. H. Kohlsaat is the page holding the robe.
The bosses still hoped to deny McKinley a first-ballot majority at the convention by boosting support for local favorite son candidates such as Quay, New York Governor (and former vice president) Levi P. Morton, and Illinois Senator Shelby Cullom.
Delegate-rich Illinois proved a crucial battleground, as McKinley
supporters, such as Chicago businessman (and future vice president) Charles G. Dawes,
sought to elect delegates pledged to vote for McKinley at the national
convention in St. Louis. Cullom proved unable to stand against McKinley
despite the support of local Republican machines; at the state
convention at the end of April, McKinley completed a near-sweep of
Former president Harrison had been deemed a possible contender if he
entered the race; when Harrison made it known he would not seek a third
nomination, the McKinley organization took control of Indiana with a
speed Harrison privately found unseemly. Morton operatives who journeyed
to Indiana sent word back that they had found the state alive for
McKinley. Wyoming Senator Francis Warren
wrote, "The politicians are making a hard fight against him, but if the
masses could speak, McKinley is the choice of at least 75% of the
entire [body of] Republican voters in the Union".
By the time the national convention began in St. Louis
on June 16, 1896, McKinley had an ample majority of delegates. The
former governor, who remained in Canton, followed events at the
convention closely by telephone, and was able to hear part of Foraker's
speech nominating him over the line. When Ohio was reached in the roll
call of states, its votes gave McKinley the nomination, which he
celebrated by hugging his wife and mother as his friends fled the house,
anticipating the first of many crowds that gathered at the Republican
candidate's home. Thousands of partisans came from Canton and
surrounding towns that evening to hear McKinley speak from his front
porch. The convention nominated Republican National Committee vice
chairman Garret Hobart
of New Jersey for vice president, a choice actually made, by most
accounts, by Hanna. Hobart, a wealthy lawyer, businessman, and former
state legislator, was not widely known, but as Hanna biographer Herbert Croly pointed out, "if he did little to strengthen the ticket he did nothing to weaken it".
General election campaign
For additional information on the currency question, see Cross of Gold speech#Background.
Prior to the 1896 convention, McKinley tried to avoid coming down on one side or the other of the currency question. William Allen Rogers's cartoon from Harper's Weekly, June 1896.
Prior to the Republican convention, McKinley had been a "straddle
bug" on the currency question, favoring moderate positions on silver
such as accomplishing bimetallism
by international agreement. In the final days before the convention,
McKinley decided, after hearing from politicians and businessmen, that
the platform should endorse the gold standard, though it should allow
for bimetallism by international agreement. Adoption of the platform caused some western delegates, led by Colorado Senator Henry M. Teller,
to walk out of the convention. However, compared with the Democrats,
Republican divisions on the issue were small, especially as McKinley
promised future concessions to silver advocates.
The bad economic times had continued, and strengthened the hand of forces for free silver.
The issue bitterly divided the Democratic Party; President Cleveland
firmly supported the gold standard, but an increasing number of rural
Democrats wanted silver, especially in the South and West. The
silverites took control of the 1896 Democratic National Convention and chose William Jennings Bryan for president; he had electrified the delegates with his Cross of Gold speech.
Bryan's financial radicalism shocked financiers—they thought his
inflationary program would bankrupt the railroads and ruin the economy.
Hanna approached them for support for his strategy to win the election,
and they gave $3.5 million for speakers and over 200million pamphlets
advocating the Republican position on the money and tariff questions.
McKinley speaks from his front porch
recording of William McKinley. The final 1:08 of this sound file
contains an excerpt from one of his 1896 campaign speeches.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.
Bryan's campaign had at most an estimated $500,000. With his eloquence and youthful energy his major assets in the race, Bryan decided on a whistle-stop
political tour by train on an unprecedented scale. Hanna urged McKinley
to match Bryan's tour with one of his own; the candidate declined on
the grounds that the Democrat was a better stump speaker: "I might just
as well set up a trapeze on my front lawn and compete with some
professional athlete as go out speaking against Bryan. I have to think when I speak."
Instead of going to the people, McKinley would remain at home in Canton
and allow the people to come to him; according to historian R. Hal
Williams in his book on the 1896 election, "it was, as it turned out, a
brilliant strategy. McKinley's 'Front Porch Campaign' became a legend in American political history."
William and Ida McKinley (to her husband's right) pose with members of the "Flower Delegation" from Oil City, Pennsylvania,
before the McKinley home. Although women could not vote in most states,
they might influence male relatives and were encouraged to visit
McKinley made himself available to the public every day except
Sunday, receiving delegations from the front porch of his home. The
railroads subsidized the visitors with low excursion rates—the
pro-silver Cleveland Plain Dealer disgustedly stated that going to Canton had been made "cheaper than staying at home".
Delegations marched through the streets from the railroad station to
McKinley's home on North Market Street. Once there, they crowded close
to the front porch—from which they surreptitiously whittled souvenirs—as
their spokesman addressed McKinley. The candidate then responded,
speaking on campaign issues in a speech molded to suit the interest of
the delegation. The speeches were carefully scripted to avoid
extemporaneous remarks; even the spokesman's remarks were approved by
McKinley or a representative. This was done as the candidate feared an
offhand comment by another that might rebound on him.
"A Man of Mark" 1896 Homer Davenport cartoon of McKinley as Hanna's creature, from William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal
Most Democratic newspapers refused to support Bryan, the major exception being the New York Journal, controlled by William Randolph Hearst, whose fortune was based on silver mines. In biased reporting and through the sharp cartoons of Homer Davenport,
Hanna was viciously characterized as a plutocrat, trampling on labor.
McKinley was drawn as a child, easily controlled by big business.
Even today, these depictions still color the images of Hanna and
McKinley: one as a heartless businessman, the other as a creature of
Hanna and others of his ilk.
The Democrats had pamphlets too, though not as many. Jones analyzed
how voters responded to the education campaigns of the two parties:
For the people it was a campaign of study and analysis, of
exhortation and conviction—a campaign of search for economic and
political truth. Pamphlets tumbled from the presses, to be read, reread,
studied, debated, to become guides to economic thought and political
action. They were printed and distributed by the million... but the
people hankered for more. Favorite pamphlets became dog-eared, grimy,
fell apart as their owners laboriously restudied their arguments and
quoted from them in public and private debate.
The battleground proved to be the Midwest—the South and most of the
West were conceded to Bryan—and the Democrat spent much of his time in
those crucial states. The Northeast was considered most likely safe for McKinley after the early-voting states of Maine and Vermont supported him in September.
By then, it was clear that public support for silver had receded, and
McKinley began to emphasize the tariff issue. By the end of September,
the Republicans had discontinued printing material on the silver issue,
and were entirely concentrating on the tariff question.
On November 3, 1896, the voters had their say in most of the nation.
McKinley won the entire Northeast and Midwest; he won 51% of the vote
and an ample majority in the Electoral College.
Bryan had concentrated entirely on the silver issue, and had not
appealed to urban workers. Voters in cities supported McKinley; the only
city outside the South of more than 100,000 population carried by Bryan
was Denver, Colorado.
The 1896 presidential election is often seen as a realigning election,
in which McKinley's view of a stronger central government building
American industry through protective tariffs and a dollar based on gold
triumphed. The voting patterns established then displaced the
near-deadlock the major parties had seen since the Civil War; the
Republican dominance begun then would continue until 1932, another realigning election with the ascent of Franklin Roosevelt.
Phillips argues that, with the possible exception of Iowa Senator
Allison, McKinley was the only Republican who could have defeated
Bryan—he theorized that Eastern candidates such as Morton or Reed would
have done badly against the Illinois-born Bryan in the crucial Midwest.
According to the biographer, though Bryan was popular among rural
voters, "McKinley appealed to a very different industrialized, urbanized
Inauguration and appointments
McKinley's first inauguration in 1897
Video clip of McKinley's inauguration in 1897.
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Chief Justice Melville Fuller swears in William McKinley as president; outgoing President Grover Cleveland at right.
William McKinley was sworn in as president on March 4, 1897, as his
wife and mother looked on. The new President gave a lengthy inaugural
address; he urged tariff reform, and stated that the currency issue
would have to await tariff legislation. He warned against foreign
interventions, "We want no wars of conquest. We must avoid the
temptation of territorial aggression."
McKinley's most controversial Cabinet appointment was that of John Sherman as Secretary of State. Sherman was not McKinley's first choice for the position; he initially offered it to Senator Allison.
One consideration in Senator Sherman's appointment was to provide a
place in the Senate for Hanna (who had turned down a Cabinet position as
Postmaster General). As Sherman had served as Secretary of the Treasury
under Hayes, only the State position, the leading Cabinet post, was
likely to entice him from the Senate. Sherman's mental faculties were
decaying even in 1896; this was widely spoken of in political circles,
but McKinley did not believe the rumors.
Nevertheless, McKinley sent his cousin, William McKinley Osborne, to
have dinner with the 73-year-old senator; he reported back that Sherman
seemed as lucid as ever.
McKinley wrote once the appointment was announced, "the stories
regarding Senator Sherman's 'mental decay' are without foundation...
When I saw him last I was convinced both of his perfect health,
physically and mentally, and that the prospects of life were remarkably
After some difficulties, Ohio Governor Bushnell appointed Hanna to the Senate.
Once in Cabinet office, Sherman's mental incapacity became increasingly
apparent. He was often bypassed by his first assistant, McKinley's
Canton crony Judge William Day, and by the second secretary, Alvey A. Adee.
Day, an Ohio lawyer unfamiliar with diplomacy, was often reticent in
meetings; Adee was somewhat deaf. One diplomat characterized the
arrangement, "the head of the department knew nothing, the first
assistant said nothing, and the second assistant heard nothing".
Maine Congressman Nelson Dingley, Jr.,
was McKinley's choice for Secretary of the Treasury; he declined it,
preferring to remain as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Charles Dawes, who had been Hanna's lieutenant in Chicago during the
campaign, was considered for the Treasury post but by some accounts
Dawes considered himself too young. Dawes eventually became Comptroller of the Currency; he recorded in his published diary that he had strongly urged McKinley to appoint as secretary the successful candidate, Lyman J. Gage, president of the First National Bank of Chicago and a Gold Democrat. The Navy Department was offered to former Massachusetts Congressman John Davis Long, an old friend from the House, on January 30, 1897.
Although McKinley was initially inclined to allow Long to choose his
own assistant, there was considerable pressure on the President-elect to
appoint Theodore Roosevelt,
head of the New York City Police Commission and a former state
assemblyman. McKinley was reluctant, stating to one Roosevelt booster,
"I want peace and I am told that your friend Theodore is always getting
into rows with everybody." Nevertheless, he made the appointment.
In addition to Sherman, McKinley made one other ill-advised Cabinet appointment, that of Secretary of War, which fell to Russell A. Alger, former general and Michigan governor. Competent enough in peacetime, Alger proved inadequate once the conflict with Spain began. With the War Department plagued by scandal, Alger resigned at McKinley's request in mid-1899.
Vice President Hobart, as was customary at the time, was not invited to
Cabinet meetings. However, he proved a valuable adviser both for
McKinley and for his Cabinet members. The wealthy Vice President leased a
residence close to the White House; the two families visited each other
without formality, and the Vice President's wife, Jennie Tuttle Hobart, sometimes substituted as Executive Mansion hostess when Ida McKinley was not well. For most of McKinley's administration, George B. Cortelyou served as his personal secretary. Cortelyou, who served in three Cabinet positions under Theodore Roosevelt, became a combination press secretary and chief of staff to McKinley.
War with Spain
For decades, rebels in Cuba had waged an intermittent campaign for freedom from Spanish colonial rule. By 1895, the conflict had expanded to a war for Cuban independence. As war engulfed the island, Spanish reprisals against the rebels grew ever harsher. These included the removal of Cubans to reconcentration camps near Spanish military bases, a strategy designed to make it hard for the rebels to receive support in the countryside. American opinion favored the rebels, and McKinley shared in their outrage against Spanish policies.
As many of his countrymen called for war to liberate Cuba, McKinley
favored a peaceful approach, hoping that through negotiation Spain might
be convinced to grant Cuba independence, or at least to allow the
Cubans some measure of autonomy.
The United States and Spain began negotiations on the subject in 1897,
but it became clear that Spain would never concede Cuban independence,
while the rebels (and their American supporters) would never settle for
anything less. In January 1898, Spain promised some concessions to the rebels, but when American consul Fitzhugh Lee reported riots in Havana, McKinley agreed to send the battleship USS Maine there to protect American lives and property. On February 15, the Maine exploded and sunk with 266 men killed. Public opinion and the newspapers demanded war, but McKinley insisted that a court of inquiry first determine if the explosion was accidental. Negotiations with Spain continued as the court considered the evidence, but on March 20, the court ruled that the Maine was blown up by an underwater mine. As pressure for war mounted in Congress, McKinley continued to negotiate for Cuban independence.
Spain refused McKinley's proposals, and on April 11, McKinley turned
the matter over to Congress. He did not ask for war, but Congress anyway
declared war on April 20, with the addition of the Teller Amendment which disavowed any intention of annexing Cuba.
Editorial cartoon intervention in Cuba. Columbia (the American people) reaches out to help oppressed Cuba in 1897 while Uncle Sam (the U.S. government) is blind to the crisis and will not use its powerful guns to help. Judge magazine, Feb. 6, 1897
The expansion of the telegraph and the development of the telephone
gave McKinley a greater control over the day-to-day management of the
war than previous presidents had enjoyed, and he used the new
technologies to direct the army's and navy's movements as far as he was
able. McKinley found Alger inadequate as Secretary of War, and did not get along with the Army's commanding general, Nelson A. Miles. Bypassing them, he looked for strategic advice first from Miles's predecessor, General John Schofield, and later from Adjutant General Henry Clarke Corbin.
The war also led to a change in McKinley's cabinet, as the President
accepted Sherman's resignation as Secretary of State; Day agreed to
serve as Secretary until the war's end.
Within a fortnight, the navy had its first victory when the Asiatic Squadron, led by Commodore George Dewey, engaged the Spanish navy at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines, destroying the enemy force without the loss of a single American vessel.
Dewey's overwhelming victory expanded the scope of the war from one
centered in the Caribbean to one that would determine the fate of all of
Spain's Pacific colonies. The next month, McKinley increased the number of troops sent to the Philippines and granted the force's commander, Major General Wesley Merritt, the power to set up legal systems and raise taxes—necessities for a long occupation.
By the time the troops arrived in the Philippines at the end of June
1898, McKinley had decided that Spain would be required to surrender the
archipelago to the United States.
He professed to be open to all views on the subject; however, he
believed that as the war progressed, the public would come to demand
retention of the islands as a prize of war.
Meanwhile, in the Caribbean theater, a large force of regulars and volunteers gathered near Tampa, Florida, for an invasion of Cuba.
The army faced difficulties in supplying the rapidly expanding force
even before they departed for Cuba, but by June, Corbin had made
progress in resolving the problems. After lengthy delays, the army, led by Major General William Rufus Shafter, sailed from Florida on June 20, landing near Santiago de Cuba two days later. Following a skirmish at Las Guasimas on June 24, Shafter's army engaged the Spanish forces on July 2 in the Battle of San Juan Hill. In an intense day-long battle, the American force was victorious, although both sides suffered heavy casualties.
The next day, the Spanish Caribbean squadron, which had been sheltering
in Santiago's harbor, broke for the open sea but was intercepted and
destroyed by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson's North Atlantic Squadron in the largest naval battle of the war. Shafter laid siege to the city of Santiago, which surrendered on July 17, placing Cuba under effective American control. McKinley and Miles also ordered an invasion of Puerto Rico, which met little resistance when it landed in July.
The distance from Spain and the destruction of the Spanish navy made
resupply impossible, and the Spanish government began to look for a way
to end the war.
Peace and territorial gain
Signing of the Treaty of Paris
On July 22, the Spanish authorized Jules Cambon, the French Ambassador to the United States, to represent Spain in negotiating peace.
The Spanish initially wished to restrict the discussion to Cuba, but
were quickly forced to recognize that their other possessions would be
claimed as spoils of war.
McKinley's cabinet agreed with him that Spain must leave Cuba and
Puerto Rico, but they disagreed on the Philippines, with some wishing to
annex the entire archipelago and some wishing only to retain a naval
base in the area.
Although public sentiment seemed to favor annexation of the
Philippines, several prominent political leaders, including Bryan,
ex-President Cleveland, and the newly formed American Anti-Imperialist League made their opposition known.
McKinley proposed to open negotiations with Spain on the basis of Cuban
liberation and Puerto Rican annexation, with the final status of the
Philippines subject to further discussion.
He stood firmly in that demand even as the military situation on Cuba
began to deteriorate when the American army was struck with yellow fever. Spain ultimately agreed to a ceasefire on those terms on August 12, and treaty negotiations began in Paris in September 1898. The talks continued until December 18, when the Treaty of Paris was signed. The United States acquired Puerto Rico and the Philippines as well as the island of Guam, and Spain relinquished its claims to Cuba; in exchange, the United States agreed to pay Spain $20 million.
McKinley had difficulty convincing the Senate to approve the treaty by
the requisite two-thirds vote, but his lobbying, and that of Vice
President Hobart, eventually saw success, as the Senate voted in favor
on February 6, 1899, 57 to 27.
During the war, McKinley also pursued the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii. The new republic, dominated by American interests, had seized power from the royal government in 1893.
The lame-duck Harrison administration had submitted a treaty of
annexation to the Senate; Cleveland, once he returned to office, had
sent a special commission to the islands. After receiving the report,
Cleveland withdrew the treaty, stating that the revolution did not
reflect the will of Hawaiian citizens.
Nevertheless, many Americans favored annexation, and the cause gained
momentum as the United States became embroiled in war with Spain.
McKinley came to office as a supporter of annexation, and lobbied
Congress to adopt his opinion, believing that to do nothing would invite
a royalist counter-revolution or a Japanese takeover.
Foreseeing difficulty in getting two-thirds of the Senate to approve a
treaty of annexation, McKinley instead supported the effort of
Democratic Representative Francis G. Newlands of Nevada to accomplish the result by joint resolution of both houses of Congress. The resulting Newlands Resolution passed both houses by wide margins, and McKinley signed it into law on July 8, 1898.
McKinley biographer H. Wayne Morgan notes, "McKinley was the guiding
spirit behind the annexation of Hawaii, showing... a firmness in
pursuing it"; the President told Cortelyou, "We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny." Wake Island, an uninhabited atoll between Hawaii and Guam, was claimed for the United States on July 12, 1898.
Expanding influence overseas
In acquiring of Pacific possessions for the United States, McKinley expanded the nation's ability to compete for trade in China.
Even before peace negotiations began with Spain, McKinley asked
Congress to set up a commission to examine trade opportunities in the
region and espoused an "Open Door Policy", in which all nations would freely trade with China and none would seek to violate that nation's territorial integrity. When John Hay replaced Day as Secretary of State at the end of the war, he circulated notes to that effect to the European powers.
Great Britain favored the idea, but Russia opposed it; France, Germany,
Italy and Japan agreed in principle, but only if all the other nations
Trade with China became imperiled shortly thereafter as the Boxer Rebellion menaced foreigners and their property in China. Americans and other westerners in Peking were besieged and, in cooperation with other western powers, McKinley ordered 5000 troops to the city in June 1900 in the China Relief Expedition.
The westerners were liberated the next month, but several Congressional
Democrats objected to McKinley dispatching troops without consulting
the legislature. McKinley's actions set a precedent that led to most of his successors exerting similar independent control over the military.
After the rebellion ended, the United States reaffirmed its commitment
to the Open Door policy, which became the basis of American policy
Closer to home, McKinley and Hay engaged in negotiations with Britain
over the possible construction of a canal across Central America. The Clayton–Bulwer Treaty,
which the two nations signed in 1850, prohibited either from
establishing exclusive control over a canal there. The war had exposed
the difficulty of maintaining a two-ocean navy without a connection
closer than Cape Horn.
Now, with American business and military interests even more involved
in Asia, a canal seemed more essential than ever, and McKinley pressed
for a renegotiation of the treaty. Hay and the British ambassador, Julian Pauncefote, agreed that the United States could control a future canal, provided that it was open to all shipping and not fortified.
McKinley was satisfied with the terms, but the Senate rejected them,
demanding that the United States be allowed to fortify the canal.
Hay was embarrassed by the rebuff and offered his resignation, but
McKinley refused it and ordered him to continue negotiations to achieve
the Senate's demands. He was successful, and a new treaty was drafted and approved, but not before McKinley's assassination in 1901.