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President of the United States.
William McKinley was inaugurated president of the United States March 4, 1897. His inaugural address, like all of his previous public utterances, was dignified, clear and exhaustive. He pointed out the wants of the country, and pledged himself to meet them as far as possible. His cabinet was composed of the following eminent men:
Secretary of State—Hon. John Sherman, of Ohio.
Secretary Sherman resigned in 1897, on account of ill-health, and Judge William R. Day, of Ohio, an old friend of the president's, was appointed to succeed him. Judge Day subsequently resigned to become head of the peace commission appointed to arrange for the termination of the Spanish-American war, and Hon. John Hay, formerly minister to England, succeeded him. Judge McKenna, attorney general, also resigned in 1897, and Hon. John W. Griggs was appointed his successor. In 1898 Postmaster General Gary resigned and Hon. Charles Kmory Smith, of Pennsylvania, became his successor. Russell A. Alger, secretary of war, tendered his resignation in 1899 and Hon. Elihu Root, of New York, succeeded him.
More American history was made during President McKinley's first term of office than in any preceding administration since the day the martyred Lincoln ceased his work.
In the light of the present, to undertake to pronounce upon the permanent character of all the acts of the administration would be to assume superior wisdom. But if the voice of the people is to be relied upon as the voice of God, then, assuredly President McKinley was wise beyond ordinary men, for the people promptly and decisively, when the time came, sanctioned his acts. The Spanish war and its results was the main feature of his first year's work. It grew out
of the oppression of the people of Cuba by Spain. The Cubans had been for years in arms against the Spaniards, and the people were worn out with the struggle. Constantly they appealed to the people of the United States to aid them in their struggle, and the people—not the government—responded. Spain took offense at this and urged the government of the United States to prevent munitions of war and other supplies being supplied to the Cubans. The Spaniards were absolute]) unable to crush the independent spirit of the Cubans. Finally, in 1897, when the island was a scene of awful desolation, the sufferings of American citizens in Cuba became so great that congress at a special session, appropriated $50,000 for their relief. Here was further cause for complaint on the part of Spain. War grew out of the situation, but as the matter will be fully treated of elsewhere it will not be further alluded to here. The passage of the "sound money" law, placing the country on a gold basis and in line with the other leading nations of the earth, was accomplished and many other things, which may be best told briefly in the words of Senator Hanna in his Union Club speech, in which he said:
"President McKinley's administration brought about a more prompt readjustment of the tariff, to accord with the views of the party which elected him to office, than any preceding administration, and in this case it was accomplished under peculiarly embarrassing and difficult conditions, by reason of the well known fact that his own party did not have a clear majority in one branch of congress—the senate. President McKinley was inaugurated on March 4, 1897, and immediately called congress to meet in special session on March 15. In his message to that congress he called attention to the excessive importations and the lack of revenues, and said: 'Congress should promptly correct the existing conditions. Ample revenues must be supplied, not only for the ordinary expenses of the government, but for the prompt payment of liberal pensions and the liquidation of the principal and interest of the public debt. In raising revenues, duties should be levied upon foreign products so as to preserve the home market so far as possible to our own producers; to revive and increase manufactures: to relieve and encourage agriculture; to increase our domestic and foreign commerce; to aid and develop mining and building, and to render to labor in every field the useful occupation, the liberal wages and the adequate' rewards to which skill and industry are justly entitled. The necessity of a tariff law which shall provide ample revenue need not be further urged. The imperative demand of the hour is the prompt enactment of such a measure, and to this object I earnestly recommend that congress shall make every endeavor.'
"This recommendation was promptly complied with. Congress met on March 15, and on that day a tariff bill was introduced in the house; on March 19 it was reported from the committee on ways and means: the debate began on March 22, and on March 31 the bill passed the republican house and was sent to the senate, which, after making some amendments, passed the measure on July 7. „
"The bill was then sent to the conference committee and became a law on July 24. 143 days from the date of President McKinley's inauguration. This was less time than was occupied in the enactment of any tariff legislation since the days of Washington, whose first tariff measure consumed about two months, being, of course, very brief. Adams, Jefferson. Madison, Monroe, J. Q. Adams, Jackson, William H. Harrison, Polk, Pierce. Buchanan, Lincoln, Grant, Arthur, Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland all signed tariff bills, but none of them became laws in so short a time as did the Dingley law. Cleveland's second term, with his own party in control of both branches of congress, did not witness the completion of its tariff measure until nearly eighteen months after his inauguration.
"Regarding the war with Spain and its results, the facts are so well known as to need little discussion in detail. No war of such results was ever waged with so little loss of life. In the campaign which resulted in the rescue of Cuba from her oppressors and in the addition of Porto Rico to the territory of the United States, fewer lives were lost upon the battlefield than were lost in the United States during the peaceful celebration of the Fourth of July, 1899.
"In like manner the financial record of the administration may be best described by a quotation from the president's special message to congress on July 24, 1897:
"'Nothing was settled more clearly at the late national election than the determination upon the part of the people to keep their currency stable in value and equal to that of the most advanced nations of the world.
"'The soundness of our currency is nowhere questioned. No loss can occur to its holders. It is the system which should be simplified and strengthened, keeping our money just as good as it is now with less expense to the government and the people.
"'The sentiment of the country is strongly in favor of early action by congress in this direction, to revise our currency laws and remove them from partisan contention. A notable assembly of business men with delegates from twenty-nine states and territories was held at Indianapolis in January of this year. The financial situation commanded their earnest attention and, after a two-day session, the convention recommend to congress the appointment of a monetary commission.
"I commend this report to the consideration of congress. The authors of the report recommend a commission 'to make a thorough investigation of the monetary affairs and needs of this country in all relations and aspects, and to make proper suggestions as to any evils found to exist and the remedies therefor.
"'This subject should receive the attention of congress at its special session. It ought not to be postponed until the regular session.
"'I, therefore, urgently recommend that a special commission be created, non-partisan in its character, to be composed of well informed citizens of different parties, who will command the confidence of congress and the country because of their special fitness for the work, whose duty it shall be to make recommendations of whatever changes in our present banking and currency laws may be found necessary and expedient, and to report their conclusions on or before the first day of November next, in order that the same may be transmitted by me to congress for its consideration at its first regular session.'
"This committee was appointed, worked during the summer recess and the result of its deliberations was the present law.
"To summarize, the results of the first McKinley administration were:
"The Dingley tariff.
"The sound money law.
"The war with Spain.
"The annexation of Porto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.
"The annexation of Hawaii.
"The annexation of Tutuila.
"The organization of Cuba."
The President's Own Story of the Spanish War.
No more admirable presentation of all of the incidents leading up to the Spanish war, or of the results of that event, has been made than that of President McKinley himself, in his second annual message to congress. In that document he said:
"Military service under a common flag and for a righteous cause has strengthened the national spirit and served to cement more closely than ever the fraternal bonds between every section of the country.
"In my annual message very full consideration was given to the question of the duty of the government of the United States toward Spain and the Cuban insurrection as being by far the most important problem with which we were then called upon to deal. The considerations then advanced, and the exposition of the views then expressed, disclosed my sense of the extreme gravity of the situation.
SPAIN GIVEN TIME TO SETTLE TROUBLE.
"Setting aside, as logically unfounded or practically inadmissible, the recognition of the Cuban insurgents as belligerents, the recognition of the independence of Cuba, neutral intervention to end the war by imposing a rational compromise between the contestants, intervention in favor of one or the other party, and forcible annexation of the islands. I concluded it was honestly due to our friendly relations with Spain that she should be given a reasonable chance to realize her expectations of reform, to which she had become irrevocably committed. Within a few weeks previously she had announced comprehensive plans. which it was confidently asserted would be efficacious to remedy the evils so deeply affecting our own country, so injurious to the true interests of the mother country as well as to those of Cuba, and so repugnant to the universal sentiment of humanity.
"The ensuing month brought little sign of real progress toward ilie pacification of Cuba. The autonomous administration set up in the capital and some of the principal cities appeared not to gain the favor of the inhabitants nor to be able to extend their influence to the large extent of territory held by the insurgents, while the military arm. obviously unable to cope with the still active rebellion, continued manv of the