04 January 2009

Soldier • Statesman • President



William McKinley, Jr. (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the twenty-fifth President of the United States, and the last veteran of the American Civil War to be elected.
He served in the House of Representatives for 11 years before becoming Governor of Ohio.
He was elected president in 1896 and 1900.

McKinley's opponent in both elections was William Jennings Bryan who, at the age of 36, remains the youngest presidential nominee of a major party in American history.
Byran campaigned on the issue of free silver which argued for silver to be minted freely at rate of $1 per troy ounce. The defacto gold standard at the time was $20 per troy ounce and opponents to silver money feared inflation. McKinley upheld the idea of having only a gold standard which lead to the Gold Standard Act being officially ratified and signed by McKinley in 1900.
McKinley was also a supporter of high tariffs on imports and authored the McKinley Tariff of 1890. He argued, "Free foreign trade gives our money, our manufactures, and our markets to other nations to the injury of our labor, our tradespeople, and our farmers. Protection keeps money, markets, and manufactures at home for the benefit of our own people." His tariff proved detrimental to farmers as it drove up the cost of imported farm equipment while prices for domestic agricultural goods declined due to lack of competition from foreign sources.

McKinley chose Teddy Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election which they won easily with 51% of the vote. Roosevelt became president the next year in September of 1901 when McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo, New York.
McKinley's last words were "It is God's way; His will be done, not ours."


Niles, Ohio is the home of the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial. Located just off of Interstate 80 in eastern Ohio, the formal memorial features an unpretentious museum wing displaying many artifacts of McKinley's life.

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