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AMERICAN HISTORY

25th President: William McKinley
Years in Office:  1897 -- 1901  ( 4 yrs )
Party: Republican
Vice Presidents: Garret A. Hobart,  Theodore Roosevelt
First Lady:  Ida Saxton McKinley
Year Born: 1843
Year Died:  1901  ( 58 yrs old )

When William McKinley, the son of a small - town Ohio family, enlisted in the army in 1861, he was following in the footsteps of ancestors who fought in the Revolution, the Indian Wars and the War of 1812.  He earned praise for his bravery from his commanding officer, Rutherford B. Hayes and was promoted to second lieutenant and then to major.

    After passing the bar in 1867, McKinley practiced law in Ohio.  When appointed a prosecuting attorney, he censured the state constitution for denying blacks the right to vote.  In 1876, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in 1889.  The next year he drafted the McKinley Act, which protected American industry from overseas competition but angered the people and cost him his seat.

    In 1892, he was elected governor.  Four years later, he entered the presidential race with support of powerful bankers and manufactures.  Refusing to leave his invalid wife behind, he conducted his campaign from his front porch.

    As president, McKinley cautioned Spain to release its hold on Cuba.  In February 1898,  the U.S. battleship Maine was blown up in the harbor of Havana,  and America declared war on Spain.  After winning in four months, the U.S. gained the rights to occupy Cuba for three years and to acquire Puerto Rico.  On Sept. 6, 1901,  McKinley was assassinated by a Polish anarchist and died eight days later.