Friday, November 8, 2013

William McKinley

William McKinley, the 25th president, won a landslide electoral victory in 1896 and was elected to a second term in 1900.

William McKinley by Courtney Art Studio, 1896.jpg

McKinley was known to favor tariffs, and raised the highest tariffs in history following the Depression of 1893. But he is best known for involving the US in the Spanish-American war, which resulted in American possession of Puerto Rico, the Phillipines, and Guam, as well as Cuban independence from Spain and the establishment of Guantanamo Bay.

Though his primary goal as President was economic prosperity, foreign affairs and imperialism became a better landmark of his term. Though he spoke in favor of civil rights and against lynchings, his policies turned out against sectionalism (preferring one's own region above the whole country) rather than against racial discrimination, causing him to lose some of the black vote by the 1900 election. 

Another interesting and eventually historically significant detail of his presidency was his second vice president (his previous running mate, Garret Hobart, having died in 1899)- Theodore Roosevelt. T. Roosevelt was well-known in New York for breaking up trusts and monopolies while mayor- this made him unpopular with some of the Republicans who owned said corporations. Therefore, they urged McKinley to adopt TR as his Vice President, convinced it would limit TR's power.

That backfired spectacularly when William McKinley was assassinated in 1901 and his Vice President Teddy Roosevelt ascended to the presidency. He is generally in the middle of presidential rankings, though his face adorns the rarely seen $500 bill.

Sources: Wikipedia, White,

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