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President William McKinley

Updated on January 6, 2017

William McKinley (1843-1901) was the 25th president of the United States (1897-1901).

Born in Niles, Ohio. He attended Allegheny College and in 1871 he married Ida Saxton.

After serving in the Union Army, McKinley was admitted to the bar and practiced in Canton. In 1876 he was elected as a Republican to the US House of Representatives, and in 1889 he became chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He wrote the protectionist McKinley Tariff Act (1890), which was unpopular with the public but highly regarded by Ohio industrialists, one of whom, Marcus A. Hanna, became McKinley's political manager.

McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1891 and reelected in 1893. In 1895, Hanna began a successful campaign to win the 1896 presidential nomination for McKinley. McKinley won the election over William Jennings Bryan, who ran on a platform of free trade and free silver coinage.

As president, McKinley fulfilled his conservative Republican platform. He became involved somewhat reluctantly in the Spanish-American War but saw it quickly ended. He was easily reelected in 1900, this time with war hero Theodore Roosevelt as his running mate. On September 6, 1901, while in Buffalo, N.Y., McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist. He died on September 14 and was succeeded by Roosevelt.


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