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Photographs and Prints
William McKinley * 1897-1901

William McKinley Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


William McKinley (1843-1901)
Twenty-Fifth President
Term of Office: 1897-1901

William McKinley, a Republican, was victorious in the presidential campaigns of 1896 and 1900.

In 1896 his vice-presidential running mate was Garret A. Hobart (1844-1899). Opposition candidates in the 1896 election included William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925), representing the Democratic and People's (Populist) Parties, John M. Palmer of the National Democratic Party, and Joshua Levering from the Prohibition Party.

Vice-president Hobart died in office in 1899, and in 1900 McKinley's vice-presidential running mate was Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919). Opposing candidates included William Jennings Bryan, representing the Democratic and People's/Populist Parties and Eugene Victor Debs, a Social Democratic.

A major campaign issue in the 1896, as well as the 1900 election was the nation's monetary system, and whether or not it should be based on a gold standard, favored by McKinley and the Republicans, or a combination of gold and silver. The Republicans and Democrats were symbolized as the "Goldbugs" and the "Silverbugs", respectively. These images, as well as the "16 to 1" silver to gold ratio are depicted on several of the displayed buttons. It was also during McKinley's administration in 1898 that the Spanish-American War took place. This 100-day war resulted in the capture of Manila in the Philippines and the destruction of the Spanish fleet at Santiago harbor in Cuba. McKinley's 1900 campaign stood for "the full dinner pail", along with sound money, prosperity, and good markets as portrayed on the button which depicts himself and Teddy Roosevelt.

Early cigarette companies, such as High Admiral Cigarettes, would often insert novelty or political buttons in their cigarette packs to increase sales. Several of these, representing both McKinley as well as Bryan, are shown on this page.

While attending a reception in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, McKinley was shot by an assassin named Leon Czolgosz. He died from his wounds some days later on September 14th, whereupon Theodore Roosevelt assumed the Presidency. McKinley had been the third President to be assassinated in office (Lincoln and Garfield before him). While he lay dying he asked his attendants to exercise care in how they broke the news to his wife of his death.

William Jennings Bryan is also noted for his participation in the 1925 prosecution of John Scopes, the Tennessee high school teacher who taught evolution, and who was defended by Clarence Darrow. This became known as the "Monkey Trial"


Al Feldstein

Al Feldstein

Collection Location:
LaVale, Maryland

Campaign paraphernalia, United States, History; Presidents, United States, Election, History.

United States, 1896-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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