President McKinley Dodges
by Jeff Provine
says: we're very pleased to present a new story from Jeff Provine's
excellent blog This
Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this
post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).
By September 6th 1901,
while shaking hands at the Pan-American Exposition, William McKinley met
with the anarchist Leon Czolgosz, who slapped his extended hand aside. The
would-be assassin raised his hand wrapped in a handkerchief like a bandage
and fired two shots from a hidden revolver.
"Rich on many levels" - reader's commentsMcKinley,
reeling from the impertinence of slapping aside the president's hand, took
a half-step sideways. One bullet grazed his ribs while the other cut a
thin line across his torso but did little more than pierce the skin.
Secret Service agents, who had been distracted by a tall black man they
knew had been recently laid-off from an exposition restaurant, immediately
pounced upon Czolgsoz. As he was being dragged away, several members of
the enraged crowd struck him until McKinley gave the shout, "Don't let
them hurt him!" The president's forgiveness was noted in papers across the
country, especially in the anarchist's trial when Czolgosz was given a
life sentence of hard labor instead of the death penalty.
"You're saying that things would have gone much as
they did in OTL." - reader's commentThe rest of McKinley's
presidency was hardly as exciting, and his vice-president Theodore
Roosevelt continued the Republican Progressive Era with his election in
1904. During his two terms (1905-13) he would be responsible for actions
such as the expedition of the Great White Fleet, the construction of the
Panama Canal in northern Columbia (the rights for which McKinley's
administration had paid Columbia $25,000,000), negotiating the end to the
Russo-Japanese War, and breaking up many of the US's overbearing
monopolies. In 1912, the Republicans would continue in the White House
with Roosevelt's vice-president Taft winning the election against New
Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson.
"For a while, at least. Thought experiments
constantly amaze me with external powers shifted but not wholly shaken by
alterations in the time-line. " - author's responseWith war in
Europe in 1914, Roosevelt would return from his safari in Africa and press
America to take part. Taft would disagree publicly, and the country would
be divided between them. Many Republicans wanted nothing to do with a
European war while those with Roosevelt were ready to charge into the fray
like a "Bull Moose". With the Republicans crippling themselves, Wilson
would take to the campaign trail. By 1916, however, the Republican
committee solved its division with Charles Hughes taking the presidency,
Taft being prepared for the Supreme Court, and Roosevelt readying a
potential expedition if the war did come to America.
"So why wouldn't Teddy run for a third term? Given
what was going on around 1912, he very well may do that. Needless to say
the changes in the TL could be significant for global politics & WWI." -
reader's commentIn 1917, the war did come with the Zimmerman
Telegram to Mexico. Roosevelt led the American Expeditionary Forces aided
by General John J. Pershing. By the war's end, Roosevelt's opinion of the
honors and glories of wars would change, and he would retire from politics
permanently. Americans would take up a similar opinion and leave Europe to
itself, which created an especially crippling Treaty of Versailles for the
Central Powers. With a sense of blame for the war, the Republican
Progressive Era would come to an end with Democrat James Cox coming to the
White House in 1920 with his VP Franklin Roosevelt, a distant cousin of
Their campaign had been a "Return to Normalcy," though the following
decade would be one of unprecedented economic and social growth. With the
fall in 1929 and the Great Depression, the Democrats would find blame of
their own despite then-president FDR's Works Progress Administration.
Voters would turn back to Republicans with Herbert Hoover and his many
alleviation projects, but his "do it yourself" ideals backfired as people
looked to improve life in America through unity and strength, just as the
nations of Italy and Germany had done in becoming fascist.
says in reality, William McKinley was killed by the assassin Czolgosz.
The second bullet pierced McKinley's stomach, kidney, and pancreas. With
limited surgical facilities at the exposition, doctors were unable to remove
the bullet. The president would die of gangrene in the early hours of
September 14, 1901. Czolgosz was executed by electric chair October 29.
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Jeff Provine, Guest Historian of
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