Monday, September 14, 2009

“It is God’s way; His will be done, not ours.” President McKinley died of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin.

President McKinley (1843-1901) was the 25th president of the United States, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to serve as president. McKinley rose to the presidency in 1897 after a hard fought campaign against the Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan. During the campaign, McKinley delivered speeches from his front porch to organizations ranging from traveling salesman to bicycle clubs (according to Wikipedia). Here is a clip from one of McKinley’s front porch campaign speeches.

McKinley’s first term saw the annexation of Hawaii, the Spanish-American War (1898), and the seizure of the Phillipines (leading to the Philippine- American War (1899-1902). In a campaign based largely on foreign policy issues, McKinley was re-elected in 1900.

On September 5, 1901, President McKinley and his wife visited the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York where McKinley delivered an address. The next day, McKinley stood in the Temple of Music greeting guests at the Exposition. Leon Frank Czolgosz was waiting in line holding a pistol covered by a handkerchief. At 4:07 pm, Czolgosz fired twice at the president. Doctors were able to extract one bullet, but were unable to extract the other for fear of doing greater harm to the president. The president recuperated at the home of the Exposition’s director for more than a week, and appeared to be improving. However, on September 14th, after taking his first small meal since the shooting, McKinley went into shock and rapidly deteriorated. He said “It is God’s way; His will be done, not ours,” shortly before passing away at 2:15 am as a result of gangrene around the site of his wounds.

Here is a video of McKinley’s funeral cortege. Notice the military escort and the carriages carrying McKinley's family. The footage ends with McKinley's coffin being carried into the church.

Czolgosz was tried and found guilty of murder. He was executed by electric chair at Auburn Prison on October 29, 1901.

The press coverage of Czolgosz’s trial and execution was incredible, and the public even sought out details of his death. Thomas Edison made a short fictional film showing his execution based on an eyewitness account. I have included it below, and even though it is fictional, it still may be jarring to some viewers.

Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency upon McKinley's death.

[Images via
Wikipedia and]

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