William McKinley

Presidential term: March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901

When the time for a new election drew near, the silver men, including most of the Democratic party, proposed Bryan, while the Republicans, in favor of gold, nominated William McKinley. Both parties were greatly excited, there were huge processions everywhere, but McKinley was finally elected by the citizens in favor of sound money.

Shortly after his inauguration, the Wilson tariff was set aside in favor of the Dingley Bill. The wheat crops having been unusually large in the West, the farmers earned much money, and newspapers showed that business was doing better day by day.

As you have read in this book, our country is made up of different pieces of land which came into our hands one after another. First, you know, we had only the thirteen colonies with the land to the Mississippi. Next, we bought Louisiana, or most of the land between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains. To this we added, little by little, Oregon, Florida, Texas, New Mexico and California, the Gadsden Purchase, and then Russian America, or Alaska. During McKinley’s term we also added several distant islands to our possessions, as you shall soon hear.

It seems as if there must always be war somewhere. While all was going on smoothly with us, the newspapers told harrowing tales of the suffering in Cuba, where the people were fighting to win their independence from Spain.

Spain not only refused to part with this choice possession, but went on treating the Cubans so unjustly that in 1868 they again rebelled, and began a ten years’ war. During this long struggle the Cubans did wonders; but they were so few, compared to the Spanish forces, that they could not win their freedom. In their despair they called upon the United States for aid, but Congress refused it.

On September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated by Leon Czolosz in Buffalo, New York–two years after publication of this book.