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

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