William McKinley had defeated William Jennings Bryan in the first of the populist’s three runs. The last president to have fought in the Civil War, he championed high tariffs, prosecuted the Spanish American war and in his time the Republic of Hawaii was annexed as an American territory.
He was enormously popular.
And then, on the 6th of September, 1901, anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot the president twice. He lingered until this day, when he died at 2:15 a.m.
Theodore Roosevelt had been prominent, elected governor of New York, but generally considered a pain in the posterior by the leaders of the Republican party. They thought they had buried him politically by making him McKinley’s vice president – against the wishes of the president. He was so successfully sidelined that he enrolled in law school to alleviate the boredom of his office.
He had been climbing Mount Marcy in northeastern New York when he was informed that the president had been shot and was not expected to live. He made it to Buffalo where at 5:22 a.m., he received a telegram telling him the president had died.
Roosevelt was sworn in at 3:39 p.m.
On this day.
A complex and not entirely attractive person
But certainly emblematic of the era
became president of the United States.
And with that a new era would begin…