DEAD: William McKinley

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

William McKinley (aged 58)
25th President of the United States

William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897 until his assassination, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of free silver (effectively, expansionary monetary policy).

DEATH: On the morning of September 13, McKinley’s condition deteriorated. Specialists were summoned; although at first some doctors hoped that McKinley might survive with a weakened heart, by afternoon they knew the case was hopeless. Unknown to the doctors, the gangrene that would kill him was growing on the walls of his stomach, slowly poisoning his blood. McKinley drifted in and out of consciousness all day; when awake he was the model patient. By evening, McKinley too knew he was dying, “It is useless, gentlemen. I think we ought to have prayer.” Relatives and friends gathered around the death bed. The First Lady sobbed over him, “I want to go, too. I want to go, too.” Her husband replied, “We are all going, we are all going. God’s will be done, not ours” and with final strength put an arm around her. He may also have sung part of his favorite hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee”, although other accounts have her singing it softly to him.

At 2:15 a.m. on September 14, President McKinley died. Theodore Roosevelt had rushed back to Buffalo and took the oath of office as president. Czolgosz, put on trial for murder nine days after McKinley’s death, was found guilty, sentenced to death on September 26, and executed by electric chair on October 29, 1901.

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