In 1901, President and Mrs. McKinley attended the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He delivered a speech about his positions on tariffs and foreign trade. On the second day, McKinley was at the Temple of Music, greeting the public. Leon Frank Czolgosz waited in line with a pistol in his right hand concealed by a handkerchief. At 4:07 P.M. Czolgosz fired twice at the president. The first bullet grazed the president's shoulder. The second, however, went through McKinley's stomach, colon, and kidney, and finally lodged in the muscles of his back.
McKinley Survives by Eric LippsOne bullet was easily found and extracted, but doctors were at first unable to locate the second bullet. There was, however, one of the newly-developed X-ray machines at the fair, and in desperation, despite concerns about possible side effects it might have on the wounded President, the physicians employed it. With its aid, they were able to find and safely remove the bullet.
Upon recovering from his injuries, President McKinley returned to his presidential duties with renewed vigor. A deeply conservative Republican, he found himself at odds with many in his own party, including his vice-president, Theodore Roosevelt, who were pushing for various reforms involving greater regulation of business by government. In fact, arguing that 'free enterprise' was 'the engine of the prosperity of this nation,' pushed hard for repeal of existing regulatory legislation, including the Sherman Antitrust Act. This made him a target of crusading journalists and authors such as Ida Tarbell and Upton Sinclair.
In 1904, McKinley's backing of William Howard Taft was essential to the rotund Ohioan's winning of the GOP presidential nomination against the opposition of Vice-President Roosevelt. Taft continued and extended McKinley's policies; in 1907, he shepherded repeal of the Sherman Act through Congress, and in 1908, he publicly advocated the full annexation of Cuba, which, though nominally 'independent,' had been under U.S. occupation and political control since 1898.
Taft easily won re-election in November 1908 against Democrat William Jennings Bryan, in the latter's third and final unsuccessful run for the White House. He continued the pro-business policies he and his predecessor had pursued, and quietly pressed Cuba to agree to becoming a U.S. territory.
In 1910, Mexico erupted in revolution. The following year, rebel leader Francisco Madero reached an agreement with Mexican president Porfirio Diaz under which Diaz would step down and Madero would assume the presidency. Madero, who championed a series of agrarian reforms, was viewed uneasily in Washington, and when in 1913 a military coup unseated him, few tears were shed either in the White House or in the State Department.
By then, a new president sat in the Oval Office: House Speaker James Beauchamp 'Champ' Clark of Missouri, nominated on the 46tth ballot of a bitterly contested Democratic convention. He had defeated former Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, nominated by an equally divided Republican convention, in a race so close that as late as one in the morning following the vote the winner had remained uncertain.
President Clark's domestic policies were largely aimed at fostering rural prosperity at the expense of Northeastern urban interests; along this line, campaigned successfully to defeat the Federal Reserve Bill of 1913. In foreign policy, he was determinedly isolationist. When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, he issued a ringing declaration that the United States would not involve itself. He would keep his word; despite strong pressure even from many in his own party, he would maintain American neutrality until the close of the conflict in May of 1919.
The occupation of Berlin is the end for the Central Powers, although formal peace treaties between all belligerents will take some time to be agreed upon. During the final battle for the German capital, an Austrian corporal named Adolf Hitler will be among the thousands killed. No one will take any special notice.