McKinley, Murder and the Pan-American Exposition

A History of the Presidential Assassination, September 6, 1901

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About the Book

On September 6, 1901, President William McKinley held a public reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. In the receiving line, holding a gun concealed by a handkerchief, was Leon Czolgosz, a young man with anarchist leanings. When he reached McKinley, Czolgosz fired two shots, one of which would prove fatal. The backdrop of the assassination was among the largest of many world’s fairs held in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Exposition celebrated American progress, highlighting the new technology electricity. Over 100,000 light bulbs outlined the Exposition’s building—on display inside were the latest inventions utilizing the new power source.
This new treatment of the McKinley assassination is the first to focus on the compelling story of the Exposition: its labor and construction challenges; the garish Midway; the fight for inclusion of an accurate African-American display to offset racist elements of the Midway; and the impressive exhibit halls.

About the Author(s)

Roger Pickenpaugh, a retired history teacher, has written four books on Civil War prisons. He lives in Caldwell, Ohio.

Bibliographic Details

Roger Pickenpaugh
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 300
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6630-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2591-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
1. McKinley: A Career of Opportunities 5
2. Czolgosz: “A dreamer, always a dreamer” 17
3. Buffalo: Growth of an Industrial City 24
4. McKinley: From the Front Porch to the White House 32
5. McKinley: Domestic Priorities and Foreign Challenges 40
6. McKinley: ­Commander-in-Chief and Beyond 55
7. The War of the Standards 66
8. Buffalo: Niagara and the Triumph of AC 78
9. Exposition: Plans and Problems 85
10. Exposition: Problems with the Plans 100
11. McKinley: Journey to San Francisco 112
12. Exposition: Deadlines and Delays 122
13. Czolgosz: The Path to Anarchy 131
14. Exposition: Midway Carnival and Controversy 139
15. Exposition: Racism vs. Respect 150
16. McKinley: Respite in Canton 156
17. Exposition: The Good 162
18. Exposition: The Bad and the Costly 181
19. Czolgosz: Two Trips to Buffalo 188
20. McKinley: Sojourn to Buffalo 192
21. Convergence: Assassination 200
22. McKinley: Week of Hope and Agony 213
23. Czolgosz: Trial and Execution 223
24. Exposition: The Final Weeks 237
Appendix: The Secret Service, “Big Jim” Parker, the 73rd Seacoast Artillery and Homer James: Who Did What? 247
Chapter Notes 253
Bibliography 273
Index 281