Tragedy After the War

President William McKinley, courtesy Library of Congress

President William McKinley, courtesy Library of Congress

Theodore Roosevelt’s public life soared after the Spanish-American War, but the president in office during that war suffered tragedy before his term ended.

An anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, shot President McKinley at the Pan American Exposition on September 6, 1901.

McKinley died of his wounds on the 14th, and Roosevelt took office.

Leon Czolgosz, courtesy library.buffalo.edu

Leon Czolgosz, courtesy library.buffalo.edu

 

Czolgosz’s trial began September 23rd; he was convicted three days later and sentenced to death. (Czologsz was executed October 29, 1901.)

Czolgosz’s trial was vastly different from that of another presidential assassin, Charles Guiteau, who murdered President James Garfield on July 2, 1881. Guiteau’s lawyers pursued what was then a rare insanity defense, which turned the trial into a showcase for alienists and their views on insanity. My next post will discuss this trial and the major players in it.

Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, New York 1901

Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, New York 1901

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