Ranked #20: A lot of the work McKinley did would later influence future policies as it pertains to US foreign policy. Particularly American expansion in the world. It was during his administration that the US rosed to the world stage.
Summary: President William McKinley was a really nice man who deeply cared for his wife. By almost all accounts, he was a likable guy. In fact you could say he was beloved and even his political opponents felt this way. He got virtually no exercise. Outside of an occasional walk on the White House grounds and a carriage ride here and there, he rarely got fresh air. He enjoyed the opera, the theater, playing cribbage, smoking cigars and an occasional glass of scotch.
Bio: He was a big man at 200 pounds with a height of 5’ 6”. By the turn of the 19th century in America, having a gut was a sure way to tell the rich from the poor so he was certainly in vogue. McKinley liked having lots of people with him and had a dry wit with a taste for a good clean joke.
As president, it was at first believed that political cronies had a big influence on him. But as time went on it became clear that he was very much in control. He had a handshake known as the “McKinley grip” to provide relief from the many handshakes that he endured as a politician. He had a way of grabbing and squeezing a persons hand before they had a chance to squeeze his.
HcKinley expanded the US economy and was a trusted figure with organized labor and race relations. Opened trade with China and acquired Cuba and Puerto Rico as a result with a war with Spain.
McKinley sadly was a victim of an assassination when he was standing in a receiving line at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY on September 5, 1901. A man with a bandage wrapped around his right hand approached the president and when McKinley reached out to greet him, he was shot twice a point blank ranch. He was operated on for an hour but unfortunately one of the bullets lodged in his pancreas. Although he rallied a bit, he could only hang on for 7 days.
Pros: Annexed Hawaii. Led America to victory against Spain. Helped the American economy prospered.
Cons: Took the Philippines with excessive force and fought back a Filipino rebellion. Declared war on Spain under false pretenses. His campaign's corporate supporters made him look bad.
Born: January 29, 1843, Niles, OH
Died: September 14, 1901 (aged 58) Buffalo, NY
Term: March 4, 1897 to September 14, 1901 (1 term, died in office )
Political Party: Republican
Education: Allegheny College
Marriage: January 25, 1871, to Ida Saxton (1847–1907)