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Old December 2nd, 2012, 03:54 PM   #1

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William McKinley, opinions


What are your opinions on him? History channels te men who built America portrayed him in a bad light IMO. Was he really corrupt? Why is so forgotten in history despite being one of four assassinated. (Same with Garfield) was it because his administration was faded away as teddy came in?
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 03:57 PM   #2

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He was a decent man, but as President he was a puppet. First the business interests pulled his strings, then the war-mongers pulled his strings. And when they pulled, he danced.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 04:39 PM   #3

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From what I have read, McKinley seemed like a fairly passive Chief Executive that could be easily swayed. He had been opposed to U.S. entry into war however McKinley eventually succumed to pressure for American involvement. It's well-known that TR had been quoted as saying the McKinley had "the backbone of a chocolate eclair."
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 05:12 PM   #4

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After the Civil War corruption was pretty much a way of life. See this and other references on The Shame of the Cities by Lincoln Steffens.

Quote:
So you see, they are not such bad fellows, these practical politicians. I wish I could tell more about them: how they have helped me; how candidly and unselfishly they have assisted me to facts and an understanding of the facts, which, as I warned them, as they knew well, were to be used against them.
The link is to the introduction; you could find the whole text out there. Steffens was one of the earliest of those investigative journalists dubbed "muckrakers" by Teddy Roosevelt (an allusion to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress). Others were photographer Jacob Riis (who worked for TR when TR was CoP in NY), Ida Tarbell who was reasonably fair and wrote about Standard Oil, and others.

My point is that laissez faire capitalism led to corruption which reached its apex in the Grant administration and was a way of life until the progressive movement beginning with TR. McKinley was a decent man, but business interests got him elected over Bryan and business interests controlled Congress and the President. The muckrakers, (many of them admittedly socialists) will tell you how.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 07:15 PM   #5

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Another interesting book that describes the corruption of that period is William Dean Howells Cowperwood trilogy. The model for Cowperwood in these three novels was "Traction King" Charles T. Yerkes. Frank Algernon Cowperwood's life parallels Charles Tyson Yerkes' real life philanthropies and crimes pretty closely. The Financier follows him through his rise to power in Pennsylvania and eventual imprisonment there. Titan follows his life as "Traction King" in Chicago. The Stoic, which wasn't published until 1947 follows his life in London after 1900. For a non-fictional account of Yerkes' life, there is Robber Baron by John Franch (2006, Univ. of Illinois Press), but Howells captures well the flavor of the time. It is the flavor of McKinley's time that I was after in suggesting this book more than Yerkes.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 08:47 AM   #6

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Can someone be more specific on how McKinley was a puppet and had no backbone? One example was us involvement. Now is this for the annexation of Puerto Rico? Other than being weak we're the rest of his policies good? Domestic economic etc minus the big business factions. I imagine he was cutting them big breaks and allowing them to monopolize?
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 11:22 AM   #7

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I would think it would be for the annexation of the Philippines. The Philippines was a much larger prize then Puerto Rico.

In one of our island cities two important main streets were renamed in the early 20 century in honor of McKinley and Post who had been Governor of PR. He was imposed and not elected. Seems the local mayor at that time was a friend of his. Who knows but probably he was kissing up to him. At the start of the 21 century, McKinley was dropped and the old name of the street which was Candelaria was restored. Candelaria is a saint.

The street by the name of Post was changed to Betances who had done much for the city and its people. He was also an important pro-independence figure from the late 19 century. Some consider him the father of PR. When it came to Betances, they say that city hall had agreed to change the name of the street to Betances over 90 years ago but it was never implemented until a few years ago.

Regis_Henri_Post Regis_Henri_Post

Betances Betances

Last edited by Epix; December 3rd, 2012 at 11:33 AM.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:20 PM   #8

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Sorry I meant the phillipines haha sorry
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 04:19 PM   #9

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Says he doesn't want war, starts US' first war with a European power other than Britian.

*Scumbag Kinley*

Well I'm not sure Spain could count as a world power at this point. But that's an arguement for another thread. But any nation that could be pushed around by apre WWI US does not have much power.

But in all seriousness McKinley was a corrupt as they came in the Lazze-Faire era of politics. An old quote from a senator at the time, "Whatever Morgan desires, McKinley will be swift to grant him that request."
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:11 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patito de Hule View Post

Ida Tarbell who was reasonably fair and wrote about Standard Oil, and others.
Considering her brother and father competed against Standard Oil and lost miserable...I'd be reluctant to take everything she says at face value.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patito de Hule View Post
My point is that laissez faire capitalism led to corruption which reached its apex in the Grant administration and was a way of life until the progressive movement beginning with TR. McKinley was a decent man, but business interests got him elected over Bryan and business interests controlled Congress and the President. The muckrakers, (many of them admittedly socialists) will tell you how.

I don't know which particular incidents you might mean, but as far as Standard Oil goes Rockefeller was obsessed with efficiency and was always finding ways to improve his service. He captured such a big market share because his innovations made him the only guy who could still make a profit when oil went down to a nickel a barrel. Pretty much any company he bought was already facing bankruptcy because they couldn't make a profit...meaning people got their goods at even lower prices. A large market share does very little to put a company in a position to take advantage of anyone. It is only when the government gets involved do things get messy.



Granted, you can just take this as a revisionist point of view, but if you're interested in delving into the subject more:


Remembering a Classic That Demolished a Myth [Mackinac Center]


The ARC Speaker Series--The Monopoly Myth: The Case of Standard Oil - The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights


The Myth of Predatory Pricing | Thomas J. DiLorenzo | Cato Institute: Policy Analysis


A Politically Incorrect Guide to Antitrust Policy - D.T. Armentano - Mises Daily



Edit: As for McKinley goes...I don't hold him in high regard as I see him as, the Father of Interventionism that was to begin and grow in the 20th century into being the 'Global Police' that the US is now.

Last edited by Shinobu Sensui; December 6th, 2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: .
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