1898 HOME > Introduction > William McKinley
William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was born in Niles, Ohio on January 29, 1843. He enlisted as a private during the Civil War and distinguished himself in action earning the rank of major in 1865. He served in Congress from 1876 to 1890 and became a strong supporter of protective tariffs. McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1891, serving a second term in 1893. By this time, McKinley was considered an important national leader. In 1896, the Republican national convention nominated him for president, on a platform stressing protective tariffs and the maintenance of a monetary standard based on gold.
Following the acquisition of these possessions, McKinley questioned whether the Constitution applied to them as it did to the continental United States. He accepted the view of Congress that since they lay outside the free trade area of the United States and were not incorporated territories, the provisions of the Constitution did not apply to them.
In 1900, McKinley was re-elected President. During his second term, he was gratified by the Supreme Court's decisons confirming the administration's limited application of the Constitution to these insular possessions, such as in Balzac v. Porto Rico. McKinley did not complete his second term because he was shot by an anarchist on September 6, 1901. He died shortly thereafter, on September 14, 1901, from complications related to the gunshot wound.
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