127 Facts About William McKinley


William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States, serving from 1897 until his assassination in 1901.


In 1876, William McKinley was elected to Congress, where he became the Republican expert on the protective tariff, which he promised would bring prosperity.


William McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1891 and 1893, steering a moderate course between capital and labor interests.


William McKinley defeated his Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan after a front porch campaign in which he advocated "sound money" and promised that high tariffs would restore prosperity.


William McKinley promoted the 1897 Dingley Tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition and in 1900 secured the passage of the Gold Standard Act.


William McKinley hoped to persuade Spain to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict, but when negotiation failed, requested and signed Congress's declaration of war to begin the Spanish-American War of 1898.


William McKinley defeated Bryan again in the 1900 presidential election in a campaign focused on imperialism, protectionism, and free silver.


William McKinley's achievements were cut short when he was fatally shot on September 6,1901, by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist.


William McKinley died eight days later and was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.


The family moved to Ohio when the senior William McKinley was a boy, settling in New Lisbon.


William McKinley met Nancy Allison there and they later married.


William McKinley senior operated foundries throughout Ohio, in New Lisbon, Niles, Poland, and finally Canton.


The William McKinley household was, like many from Ohio's Western Reserve, steeped in Whiggish and abolitionist sentiment, the latter based on the family's staunch Methodist beliefs.


The younger William McKinley followed in the Methodist tradition, becoming active in the local Methodist church at the age of sixteen.


William McKinley was an honorary member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.


William McKinley remained at Allegheny for one year, returning home in 1860 after becoming ill and depressed.


William McKinley studied at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, as a board member.


William McKinley began working as a postal clerk and later took a job teaching at a school near Poland, Ohio.


William McKinley quickly took to the soldier's life: he wrote a series of letters to his hometown newspaper extolling the army and the Union cause.


William McKinley initially thought Scammon was a martinet, but when the regiment entered battle, he came to appreciate the value of their relentless drilling.


Three days after the battle, William McKinley was assigned to duty in the brigade quartermaster office, where he worked both to supply his regiment, and as a clerk.


William McKinley spent the winter substituting for a commissary sergeant who was ill, and in April 1862 he was promoted to that rank.


The 23rd was in the thick of the fighting at Antietam, and William McKinley came under heavy fire when bringing rations to the men on the line.


William McKinley's regiment suffered many casualties, but the Army of the Potomac was victorious and the Confederates retreated into Virginia.


William McKinley's regiment was detached from the Army of the Potomac and returned by train to western Virginia.


William McKinley later said the combat there was "as desperate as any witnessed during the war".


Finally assigned to Carroll's staff again, William McKinley acted as the general's first and only adjutant.


William McKinley joined a Freemason lodge in Winchester, Virginia, before he and Carroll were transferred to Hancock's First Veterans Corps in Washington.


Just before the war's end, William McKinley received his final promotion, a brevet commission as major.


Carroll and Hancock encouraged William McKinley to apply for a place in the peacetime army, but he declined and returned to Ohio the following month.


William McKinley soon formed a partnership with George W Belden, an experienced lawyer and former judge.


William 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.


In 1869, William McKinley ran for the office of prosecuting attorney of Stark County, an office that had historically been held by Democrats, and was unexpectedly elected.


William McKinley's wife descended into a deep depression at her baby's death and her health, never robust, declined.


Ida William McKinley developed epilepsy around the same time and depended strongly on her husband's presence.


William McKinley remained a devoted husband and tended to his wife's medical and emotional needs for the rest of his life.


William McKinley 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, William McKinley undertook a high-profile case defending a group of striking coal miners, who were arrested for rioting after a clash with strikebreakers.


William McKinley's good standing with labor became useful that year as he campaigned for the Republican nomination for Ohio's 17th congressional district.


William McKinley's victory came at a personal cost: his income as a congressman would be half of what he earned as a lawyer.


William McKinley took his congressional seat in October 1877, when President Hayes summoned Congress into special session.


In so doing, William McKinley voted against the position of the House Republican leader, James Garfield, a fellow Ohioan and his friend.


From his first term in Congress, William McKinley was a strong advocate of protective tariffs.


William 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; William McKinley was selected to fill it, gaining a spot on the most powerful committee after only two terms.


Hanna came to admire William McKinley and became a friend and close adviser to him.


In 1889, with the Republicans in the majority, William McKinley sought election as Speaker of the House.


William McKinley 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 Democrats again redistricted Stark County for the 1884 election; William McKinley was returned to Congress anyway.


The William McKinley Tariff was a main theme of the Democratic campaign nationwide, and there was considerable attention paid to William McKinley's race.


William McKinley tirelessly stumped his new district, reaching out to its 40,000 voters to explain that his tariff.


The Ohio Republican party remained divided, but William McKinley quietly arranged for Foraker to nominate him at the 1891 state Republican convention, which chose William McKinley by acclamation.


William McKinley 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.


William McKinley objected to delegate votes being cast for him; nevertheless he finished second, behind the renominated Harrison, but ahead of Blaine, who had sent word he did not want to be considered.


Walker had deceived William McKinley, telling him that new notes were actually renewals of matured ones.


Walker was ruined by the recession; William McKinley was called upon for repayment in February 1893.


The total owed was over $100,000 and a despairing William McKinley initially proposed to resign as governor and earn the money as an attorney.


All of the couple's property was returned to them by the end of 1893, and when William McKinley, who had promised eventual repayment, asked for the list of contributors, it was refused him.


William McKinley was easily re-elected in November 1893, receiving the largest percentage of the vote of any Ohio governor since the Civil War.


William McKinley campaigned widely for Republicans in the 1894 midterm congressional elections; many party candidates in districts where he spoke were successful.


William McKinley supported Foraker for the Senate and Bushnell for governor; in return, the new senator-elect agreed to back William McKinley's presidential ambitions.


Hanna, on William 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 William McKinley's nomination in exchange for promises regarding patronage and offices.


William McKinley 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 William McKinley visited and met with Republican politicians from the region.


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 William McKinley organization took control of Indiana with a speed Harrison privately found unseemly.


Thousands of partisans came from Canton and surrounding towns that evening to hear William McKinley speak from his front porch.


However, compared with the Democrats, Republican divisions on the issue were small, especially as William McKinley promised future concessions to silver advocates.


William McKinley made himself available to the public every day except Sunday, receiving delegations from the front porch of his home.


William McKinley was drawn as a child, easily controlled by big business.


William McKinley always thought of himself as a tariff man and expected that the monetary issues would fade away in a month.


William McKinley was sworn in as president on March 4,1897, as his wife and mother looked on.


William McKinley needed to have Hanna appointed to the Senate so Senator Sherman was moved up.


Sherman's mental faculties were decaying even in 1896; this was widely spoken of in political circles, but William McKinley did not believe the rumors.


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.


American public opinion favored the rebels, and William McKinley shared in their outrage against Spanish policies.


However while public opinion called for war to liberate Cuba, William 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.


In January 1898, Spain promised some concessions to the rebels, but when American consul Fitzhugh Lee reported riots in Havana, William McKinley agreed to send the battleship USS Maine.


William McKinley insisted that a court of inquiry first determine whether the explosion was accidental.


Nick Kapur says that William McKinley's actions were based on his values of arbitrationism, pacifism, humanitarianism, and manly self-restraint, and not on external pressures.


William McKinley 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.


William 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.


William 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.


William McKinley stood firmly in that demand even as the military situation in Cuba began to deteriorate when the American army was struck with yellow fever.


William 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.


William McKinley came to office as a supporter of annexation, and lobbied Congress to act, warning that to do nothing would invite a royalist counter-revolution or a Japanese takeover.


The resulting Newlands Resolution passed both houses by wide margins, and William McKinley signed it into law on July 8,1898.


Americans and other westerners in Peking were besieged and, in cooperation with other western powers, William McKinley ordered 5000 troops to the city in June 1900 in the China Relief Expedition.


The westerners were rescued the next month, but several Congressional Democrats objected to William McKinley dispatching troops without consulting the legislature.


William McKinley's actions set a precedent that led to most of his successors exerting similar independent control over the military.


Now, with American business and military interests even more involved in Asia, a canal seemed more essential than ever, and William McKinley pressed for a renegotiation of the treaty.


William 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 William McKinley refused it and ordered him to continue negotiations to achieve the Senate's demands.


William McKinley was successful, and a new treaty was drafted and approved, but not before McKinley's assassination in 1901.


William McKinley had built his reputation in Congress on high tariffs, promising protection for American business and well-paid American factory workers.


William McKinley had spoken out against lynching while governor, and most black people who could still vote supported him in 1896.


William McKinley's priority was in ending sectionalism, and they were disappointed by his policies and appointments.


When black postmasters at Hogansville, Georgia, in 1897, and at Lake City, South Carolina, the following year, were assaulted, William McKinley issued no statement of condemnation.


William McKinley toured the South in late 1898, promoting sectional reconciliation.


William McKinley visited Tuskegee Institute and the famous black educator Booker T Washington.


Gould concluded regarding race, "William McKinley lacked the vision to transcend the biases of his day and to point toward a better future for all Americans".


Republicans were generally successful in state and local elections around the country in 1899, and William McKinley was optimistic about his chances at re-election in 1900.


The only question about the Republican ticket concerned the vice presidential nomination; William McKinley needed a new running mate as Hobart had died in late 1899.


William McKinley initially favored Elihu Root, who had succeeded Alger as Secretary of War, but William McKinley decided that Root was doing too good a job at the War Department to move him.


William McKinley considered other prominent candidates, including Allison and Cornelius Newton Bliss, but none were as popular as the Republican party's rising star, Theodore Roosevelt.


William McKinley remained uncommitted in public, but Hanna was firmly opposed to the New York governor.


William McKinley affirmed that the choice belonged to the convention, not to him.


Bryan's campaigning failed to excite the voters as it had in 1896, and William McKinley never doubted that he would be re-elected.


Bryan carried only four states outside the solid South, and William McKinley even won Bryan's home state of Nebraska.


William McKinley refused, and Cortelyou arranged for additional security for the trip.


William McKinley intended the speech as a keynote to his plans for a second term.


William McKinley had managed to get close to the presidential podium, but did not fire, uncertain of hitting his target.


William McKinley was taken to the exposition aid station, where the doctor was unable to locate the second bullet.


Specialists were summoned; although at first some doctors hoped that William McKinley might survive with a weakened heart, by afternoon they knew that the case was hopeless.


William McKinley drifted in and out of consciousness all day, but when awake he was a model patient.


Czolgosz, put on trial for murder nine days after William McKinley's death, was found guilty, sentenced to death on September 26 and executed by electric chair on October 29,1901.


William McKinley remained in Canton for the remainder of her life, setting up a shrine in her house and often visiting the receiving vault, until her death at age 59 on May 26,1907.


William McKinley died only months before the completion of the large marble monument to her husband in Canton, which was dedicated by President Roosevelt on September 30,1907.


William and Ida McKinley are interred there with their daughters atop a hillside overlooking the city of Canton.


The William McKinley Monument stands in front of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus and a large marble statue of McKinley is situated at his birthplace in Niles.


McKinley's biographer H Wayne Morgan remarks that McKinley died the most beloved president in history.


The new president made little effort to secure the trade reciprocity that William McKinley had intended to negotiate with other nations.


Historian Michael J Korzi argued in 2005 that while it is tempting to see McKinley as the key figure in the transition from congressional domination of government to the modern, powerful president, this change was an incremental process through the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


William McKinley pointed to McKinley's success at building an electoral coalition that kept the Republicans mostly in power for a generation.


Phillips believes that part of William McKinley's legacy is the men whom he included in his administration who dominated the Republican Party for a quarter century after his death.


William McKinley was a major actor in some of the most important events in American history.


Louisiana Purchase Exposition stamp honoring William McKinley, who had signed a bill authorizing a subsidy for that upcoming event.