The William McKinley presidency brought the United States into the 20t
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
The William McKinley presidency brought the United States into the 20th century both literally and
figuratively. Now an imperialistic world power, the US began its expansion and emergence as such under
McKinley's five years of presidency. The US also saw notable events such as the Gold Standard Act and
the passing of the highest tariff in its history. These events took place during economic rebuilding after the
depression of 1893.
Accepting the office in 1896, McKinley applied his traditional economic policies. During his 14 years as a
congressman he became an expert on tariffs and gave his name to the 1890 act called the McKinley Tariff
Act. He strongly advocated this protectionism as a way to start new industry. He again applied this during
his presidency as he passed the Dingley Act which was a tariff on foreign wool and sugar, and may have
aided the recovery of the economy. But whether or not the rebuilding was a result of this type of economic
strategy or merely a consequence of the economic patterns cannot be determined. He also passed the Gold
standard Act which made gold the backing of the dollar. This caused the dollar to be more stable and
economically trustworthy and the effects of this were no doubt seen long after his presidency. Yet despite
his large involvement with economics it became more of a minor role during his presidency.
And an even more a minor role was his Domestic Policy. He did have some intentions of making
it a priority in his 2nd term but because he was assassinated only a year into it, it is unknown whether this
was of genuine intent. Because of this he is among the others of his time that kept Domestic Policy a
contrast of today's excessive social programs. So what was a major role during his administration?
Foreign Policy never seemed an issue prior to the election but it suddenly became the chief component of
McKinley's presidency. By 1897, Spain had been violently trying for two years to suppress the revolting of
the Cubans. Spain had historically violated the Monroe Doctrine and they gave little promise of ever
staying inactive with American affairs. The US declared war, won, and emerged as a World Power. With
the Treaty of Paris, the US acquired from Spain: Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. Add to that the
acquisition of Hawaii form earlier in his term and it is apparent that the US started to resemble the modern
day superpower. Other foreign relation triumphs include the "Open Door Policy," as Secretary of State,
John Hay, secured friendly relations with China. This was after the "Boxer rebellion," a Chinese resistance
to Western influence. McKinley was the first chief executive to face the responsibilities in Asia and Latin
America and many presidents followed h!
Due to the foreign affairs the US increased militarily. McKinley became a brevet major in the Civil War,
so he was not ignorant of fighting so when the conflict aroused with Spain, he wished to give the Spanish
every chance of withdrawal. In fact he later said,"...our interest is in concord, not conflict. And that our
real eminence rests I the victories of peace, not those of war." However, there were too many reasons to go
to war: First, their violations with the Monroe Doctrine. Second, the mysterious destruction of the
battleship Maine that was in a Cuban port. Third, there was the political pressure. He felt obligated to
intervene. After congress agreed and approved 50,000,000 dollars in defense, the US won the 100 day
Spanish-American war. He played a large role in coordinating the military effort and acted directly as the
commander in chief. All of this elevated the condition of the US military. But in no way would this tarnish
his image as a kind and compassio!
McKinley's character was strong and trustworthy. When he campaigned, he did not travel across the
country but rather he invited people to his front porch in Canton, Ohio. When he was shot, he pleaded with
the police not to beat his the gunman. With all of his formal duties, he still never failed to care or his ailing
wife. He managed to organize the military and still compose himself with compassion and reason. It is no
View Full Essay
Sons of the American Revolution, SpainUnited States relations, William McKinley, SpanishAmerican War, Vice Presidents of the United States, Treaty of Paris, Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley Tariff, John Hay, Proposed political status for Puerto Rico, Mark Hanna, William McKinley presidential campaign
More Free Essays Like This