Last Updated 08 Apr 2020

History: american civilization essay

Category Civilization
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William McKinley was proposed as the presidential Republican with the support of Mark Hanna, who was very wealthy industrialist he favored tariffs so as to protect the nation’s prosperity and a limitation on silver and ended up defeating William Jennings Bryan, who was feared as a menace to the administration during 1892 election. McKinley was adapted to the international bimetallism idea which was a contract of a number of countries in the usage of both silver and gold as the currency base.  He later opened the way to acceptance of the1900 Gold Standard Act.

William McKinley was the president of diverse historical period. William McKinley lived during the Populist period and was the US president during the Progressive era.  In that period, as the president of the United States, traditional values such as the gambling and brothels were being eroded.  The ideology was changing of all the political parties.  Factionalism rose as a consequence.  The United States Peoples ways of life was shifting rapidly.  America moved to industrial economy from the agricultural economy and to urban environment from the rural environment and from the producer’s culture to the consumer’s culture.

Small businesses and factories and increased in number.  Immigrants were moving to America very quickly as Workers demanded more rights and planned means to get them.  Aggressive labor movements pursued. There were radical changes in the government and the politics that were meant to make America further democratic.  William McKinley was against corruption and the vice in his government as People demanded businesses to be further be responsible too.  The city dwellers demanded better living conditions

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Nevertheless, Theodore Roosevelt became the president in these continuing circumstances when William McKinley was assassinated. Some historians believe Roosevelt became the president when the modern era had already been begun. Roosevelt was fond of writing about himself boastfully and excessively, besides that he was reckless.  His behavior towards the courts and the Congress displayed his highhandedness.  He never made long term plans but his life was illustrated by contradictions and inconsistencies.

In the year 1900, Roosevelt had claimed that he could not be a vice president, but changed his mind later.  After leaving the office in 1904, he had said that he would never run for the US presidency again, but contradicted himself eight years afterward.  His understanding of the global affairs was deficient.  Roosevelt’s aspiration was also “adolescent” sine he had left the post of the New York police commissioner without a success.  Roosevelt was successful strenuous in improving the navy technologically.  He believed the Navy should be used for offense. The major function of the US Navy was to destroying the enemies and not defending its coastline. The navy had only seven main ships when Roosevelt became president, but were twenty two by the time he left was considered 5th best in the world.

McKinley sponsored a protective tariff in 1890 that bore his name which was the highest tariff in the United States history.  While he was Ohio governor and later became he favored negotiation between labor and capital and frequently favored the poor. After the Spanish American War and the1900 re-election, he revealed a fresh and a broader means for an internationally conscious America.  Ironically, this became his final speech as he was mortally wounded by an assassin’s the following day on 6th, September, 1901.

McKinley competently manipulated both the politicians and the public.  His domestic achievements and programs were overpowered by the foreign policies that dominated his administration.  Ever an advocate for a healthy and a wealthy economy, McKinley supported creation of new overseas markets for products from United States.   These foreign markets put America at danger of being involved affairs of the other nations.

Though the Spanish-American War that ended in August 1898 was short-lived, the US surfaced as a world super power.  He played a major role in organizing the US military effort where he was directly functioning as the Commander-in-Chief.  Peace negotiations with the Spanish government led to US occupation of Cuba until 1902 when it gained independence, besides the acquisition of Guam and Puerto Rico.

Not willing to let the previous Spanish ownership, the Philippines islands fell into competing hands, he, McKinley directed his envoys to get the islands.  After getting the news of the conquest of Admiral George Dewey against the Spanish fleet on 1st may 1898 at Manila Bay, McKinley ran a campaign persuading the Americans that the islands had to become the ownership of the US.  Despite the opposition, he engineered ratification by the senate of the Treaty of Paris which was an achievement that expanded the influence and the powers of the president.

The rest of McKinley’s life as president was shaped by the results of the Spanish-American War.  .

The American Civil War of 1861 to1865 that outshined the Spanish American War and the U.S. participation in World War One of 1917 to 1918, united with the recent national sense of guilt concerning the Spanish-American War clouded McKinley’s reputation.  McKinley strengthened the presidency, toured widely, and offered the press greater accessibility to the White House.  He had a masterful management of the congress led to evolution of the modern presidency; in fact, he laid the base for further development of the presidential office under the presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.


George William Norris (1992) Fighting Liberal, University of Nebraska Press, US

Kathleen H. Jamieson (1996) Packaging the Presidency, Oxford University Press, US

ON HISTORIANS’ CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT PRE-1950s AND POST-1940s, retrieved on 3rd, October, 2007, available at

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