Best Books About William McKinley
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
In this interpretation of the McKinley presidency Lewis L. Gould contends that William McKinley was the first modern president. Making use of extensive original research in manuscript collections in the United States, Great Britain, and France, Gould argues that during McKinley’s four and a half years in the White House the executive office began to resemble the institution as the twentieth century would know it. He rejects the erroneous stereotypes that have long obscured McKinley’s historical significance: McKinley as the compliant agent of Mark Hanna or as an irresolute executive in the Cuban crisis that led to war with Spain. He contends that McKinley is an important figure in the history of the United States because of the large contributions he made to the strengthening and broadening of the power of the chief executive.
When George W. Bush won the White House, he was the first incumbent Republican governor elected president since William McKinley in 1896. William McKinley was the last of the Civil War veterans to reach the White House. Known widely as the Major, in honor of his military rank, he rose through Congress to head the crucial Ways and Means Committee where, in the early 1890s, he passed a strong and popular tariff bill. That success caught the eye of Marcus Hanna, a Cleveland industrialist with a passion for politics and an ambition to help make and elect a president. Democrats complained that McKinley was a mere puppet of the wealthy Hanna, but historians generally believe they were a well-matched team of two strong-willed men. With Hanna’s help, McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1892.
In 1901, as America tallied its gains from a period of unprecedented imperial expansion, an assassin’s bullet shattered the nation’s confidence. The shocking murder of President William McKinley threw into stark relief the emerging new world order of what would come to be known as the American Century. The President and the Assassin is the story of the momentous years leading up to that event, and of the very different paths that brought together two of the most compelling figures of the era: President William McKinley and Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who murdered him.
By any serious measurement, bestselling historian Kevin Phillips argues, William McKinley was a major American president. It was during his administration that the United States made its diplomatic and military debut as a world power. McKinley was one of eight presidents who, either in the White House or on the battlefield, stood as principals in successful wars, and he was among the six or seven to take office in what became recognized as a major realignment of the U.S. party system.
Major McKinley is the first complete account of the Civil War service of President William McKinley, the last of the Civil War veterans to reach the White House and the only one who served in the ranks. McKinley enlisted as a private in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Later commanded by another future president, Rutherford B. Hayes) and was the regiment’s commissary sergeant when his bravery at the Battle of Antietam led to a commission and an assignment to Hayes’s military staff. He later served with four other generals and ended his military career as adjutant of a division and as a brevet major. McKinley regarded the end of slavery as the significant outcome of the war and valued the contributions of the black soldiers in the Union army. After the war, as a young lawyer and congressman, he defended the rights of freedmen and continued to do so long after others had tired of the cause. He also reached out to former Confederate soldiers in an effort to help restore unity to a divided country, but this initiative eventually overshadowed and diminished his advocacy of civil rights. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including McKinley’s own paper and the diaries and letters of men who served with him, this book presents a new picture of McKinley as a soldier and provides a fresh appreciation of his later life as a veteran in politics.
This lively, thought-provoking analysis is based on the author’s highly acclaimed Presidency of William McKinley.
This second volume of President McKinley, War and Empireassesses five theories that have dominated analysis of modern societies in the last century–liberalism, Marxism, mass society, pluralism, and elitism–in accounting for an aberrant event in American history: the Spanish-American War. President McKinley and the Coming of the War 1898, volume 1 of this definitive history, considered the origins of that war. This second volume is concerned with the war’s outcome; the settlement in which the U.S. gained an “empire.”
William McKinley was the first US president to address globalization; his legacy in protectionism and immigrant labor offer lessons for the current era. He orchestrated an alliance between big business and the American worker that ushered in one of the greatest periods of growth ever known in the US economy. Yet McKinley has been in the shadow of his successor Theodore Roosevelt for over a hundred years.