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William McKinley, Twenty-fifth President, 1897-1901

In the Civil War, William McKinley served admirably under future president Rutherford B. Hayes. When McKinley was elected president in 1896, he emulated his predecessor Grover Cleveland's "hands off" approach, allowing big business to run amok. But when he passed the Dingley Tariff Act, establishing higher tariffs on imports, the American economy finally turned around for everyone. It was at foreign policy that McKinley excelled. In 1898, McKinley tried to help Cuba declare independence from Spain. When the American battleship "Maine" was blown up in Havana harbor, the U.S. declared war on Spain and won in four short months. Also in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii, acquired Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines Islands through the Treaty of Paris. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Hays negotiated a trade policy with China, and arranged for the treaty under which the U.S. would build and own the Panama Canal. Winning reelection in 1900, McKinley was shot by a Polish anarchist in Buffalo the following year.

 


"Marching with McKinley," William McKinley campaign song

"Marching with McKinley" from the recording entitled Presidential Campaign Songs 1789-1996, Folkways 45051, provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. © 1999. Used by permission.

Words: M. C. Dawsey; Melody: "Marching Through Georgia;" arranged by Oscar Brand/TRO-Hollis Music, Inc., BMI

Partial lyrics:
"…Hurrah, Hurrah
McKinley is the Man,
Hurrah, Hurrah
Gold will lead the band
Then we will shout protection over all this glorious land
Marching with McKinley to victory …"

 


 



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