William McKinley Annexed Hawaii To Become U.S. Territory, Learn More Facts About U.S. 25th President Inside
We know quite a bit about the background of our presidents. But what about the presidents in the time before the 1960s? How about as far back as the late 1800s? There’s no doubt that hardly anyone knows a single fact about President William McKinley.
To help you get familiar with the 25th president, here are a couple of interesting facts you may not have known:
1. He Helped Keep a Gang of Coal Miners Out of Prison
Born in 1843 in the city of Niles, Ohio, McKinley grew up to studying at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania and Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio but was no graduate of either school.
McKinley volunteered service with the Union Army when the Civil War broke out, becoming second lieutenant and given honorary major status. After getting out of the military, he apprenticed with a lawyer and took law classes for less than one year at New York’s Albany College. He received admittance to the bar in Ohio in March 1867.
Almost a decade after, McKinley acted as a defense attorney for a group of coal miners who allegedly incited a riot and fought the Ohio militia.
McKinley got all but one of the miners off, and turned down any payment for his services as a defense attorney.
2. As President, He Booted Spain Out of Four Territories
While McKinley was acting president, the United States had a deteriorating relationship with the country of Spain. Declaring support for Cuba while Spain still held power in the Caribbean, the mysterious destruction of the battleship Maine off the coast of Havana in February 1898 and the death of 266 crew drew McKinley’s ire.
The 25th president demanded independence on Cuba’s behalf, going so far as to acquire a declaration of war from Congress.
The Spanish-American War, as it was called, lasted no more than 100 days, the United States destroying the Spanish Fleet outside of Cuba’s Santiago, and driving them out of other places such as Puerto Rico, Guam and Manila in the Philippines.
3. His Home Life Was Tragic
Ida Saxton, a cashier working in her father’s banking institution was the woman McKinley courted into marriage. They married in 1871 and had their daughter Katherine on Christmas Day.
Their second child Ida, was born in 1873, but died a few months later of unknown causes. Typhoid Fever took Katherine in 1875, with his wife’s health declined because of phlebitis and undiagnosed epilepsy.
It took sedation for Ida to sit through the majority of official functions, McKinley sometimes throwing a handkerchief over his wife when she was struck with an epileptic seizure.
4. He Annexed the Republic of Hawaii
Previous president Grover Cleveland sought to advocate for Hawaii becoming a U.S. territory, largely leaving local government intact. That didn’t sit well with McKinley, who thought its strategic position in the Pacific was too valuable an opportunity to pass up.
McKinley proposed a resolution in 1898 to the House and Senate for annexation which passed. From the time that the Hawaiian queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown in 1893 to 1898, the Hawaiian Patriotic League had managed to stay the annexation.
5. An Anarchist Shot Him Months into His Second Term
It seems to be the fate of president that, if it isn’t old age that takes them from the Earth, it’s a madman with a gun.
A public reception was held at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y. on September 6, 1901. Hiding in the crown with others, Leon Czolgosz waited till McKinley got close enough for a handshake before shooting him twice in the abdomen.
While on the Exposition Grounds of the hospital he was rushed to, McKinley said of Czolgosz, “It must have been some poor misguided fellow. He didn’t know, poor fellow, what he was doing. He couldn’t have known.”
6. An OB/GYN Performed the Surgery that Failed to Save McKinley’s Life
The one assigned to work on the 25th POTUS’s wound was one Matthew Mann, a physician and profession of gynecology at the University of Buffalo. He was the doctor a group of doctors scrambled to elect as “chief surgeon” to save McKinley’s life.
Despite the success of removing one bullet, the doctor had no luck finding the other bullet. Things might have been different, had they used the X-ray machine sent by Thomas Edison.
McKinley later died of the gangrene that formed around the bullet, passing on September 14, 1901.
7. Mount McKinley Lost More than 80 feet in 2013, and Then Lost His Name
While there may have been a mountain named after him, President McKinley had never been to Alaska. New technology showed us that the North peak was 20,237 feet and not the 20,320 feet we had thought before.
A resolution proposed in 2015 changed the mountain’s name to Denali.