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William McKinley: The 25th president

McKinley won the 1896 election.

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William McKinley (1843-1901) was the 25th president of the United States and the third to be assassinated. He ran as a Republican in the 1896 election against Democrat William Jennings Bryan. He beat Bryan by about 600,000 votes – the largest margin in 25 years – and got more electoral votes, too.
Cuba was controlled by Spain when McKinley took office, but the people were revolting. American newspapers described a horrible situation, and Americans demanded a war to free Cuba. On April 25, the U.S. formally declared war. The Spanish-American War only lasted for 100 days before American forces defeated Spain near Santiago harbor in Cuba. In December 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the war and granting Guam, Philippines, and Puerto Rico to the U.S.
In 1900, McKinley ran for re-election, again facing Bryan. Again, he beat him – this time, by an even larger margin. McKinley began a tour of the western states and then attended and gave a speech on September 5 at the Pan-American Exposition. While standing in the receiving line, Leon Czolgosz, an unemployed Detroit mill worker, walked up to him wearing a bandage on his hand and proceeded to shoot the president twice in the chest at point-blank range. He claimed the president was an “enemy of the people.” At first the prognosis was good for McKinley, but then he developed gangrene and died five days later. The assassin was executed for his crimes in October 1901.

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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