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William McKinley: A President of Progress

February 18, 20244 min read

“War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed.” - William McKinley

Born in Ohio in 1843, McKinley grew up in a humble family and learned the value of education and perseverance from a young age. He studied diligently, becoming a lawyer and eventually entering politics.

McKinley's rise to prominence came during his time serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, where he showed bravery and leadership on the battlefield. After the war, he continued his political career, serving in Congress and as governor of Ohio. His popularity and reputation as a skilled statesman led him to run for president in 1896. McKinley's support for the gold standard and his vision for a prosperous America resonated with voters, propelling him to victory and making him the 25th President of the United States.

In 1896, McKinley ran for president as the candidate for the Republican Party. He was a popular choice because he supported the gold standard, which was important for the economy at the time. He won the election and became the 25th President of the United States.

The Spanish-American War

In the late 1800s, Spain had control over places like Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. But the people living in these places wanted to be free from Spanish rule. They were fighting for their independence. The United States, feeling sympathetic towards these struggles, decided to get involved. The war started in 1898 and lasted for about four months.

One of the most famous moments of the war was when the U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba, killing 266 American sailors. This event stirred up feelings of anger in America, and it played a big part in starting the war. While the cause of the explosion was not definitively determined, many Americans blamed Spain, who controlled Cuba at the time, and believed it was an act of sabotage. The phrase "Remember the Maine!" became a rallying cry for the war.

Commodore George Dewey, defeats the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. The United States fought bravely, and in the end, they won the war. As a result, Spain had to give up control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, which meant these places became territories of the United States.

The Spanish-American war marked a turning point in American history. It should that the United States was a significant player on the world stage and could assert its power when needed.

The State of the Union

A lot of firsts happened during the McKinley administration: The first Boston Marathon takes place. Gold is discovered in the Yukon territory. McKinley became the first president to ride in an automobile. And the first major oil strike in Texas happens.

Meanwhile, President McKinley helped to modernize the United States by supporting the building of new roads, bridges, and buildings. He annexed Hawaii, making it part of the United States. And he worked to strengthen the country's military and improve its defenses. Congress passes the Volunteer Army Act, and the “Rough Riders” a volunteer cavalry under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and Colonel Leonard Wood, is created.

One of McKinley's most famous achievements was his role in the passage of the Gold Standard Act in 1900. This law made gold the official standard for the United States dollar, which helped to stabilize the economy and promote growth.


Tragedy struck in 1901 when President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist while attending a public event in Buffalo, New York. His death was a shock to the nation, and people mourned the loss of their beloved president. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt became President on September 14, 1901.

During his presidency, William McKinley guided the United States through a time of growth and change. His leadership helped to shape the country into what it is today.

Learn more about William McKinley here.

Recommended Reading

Archie Strikes Gold by Brandon Terrell

Archie Strikes Gold

Archie is traveling with his uncle Harold, a member of an entertainment revue hired by the renovated Dawson City Theatre, to perform for the Yukon gold rushers. While there, Harold befriends an older gentleman, Montgomery Wycroft, who is in the area panning for gold. Archie and his uncle opt to stay behind in Dawson City, joining Monty on his dangerous quest for gold, battling with both greedy gold-seekers and the unforgiving Canadian terrain. Will Archie and his uncle strike gold, or will they find something more valuable? Ages 8 to 11.

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