25. William McKinley

“The Idol of Ohio”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: William McKinley
  • Years in office: 1897–1901
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: Garret A. Hobart (first term); Theodore Roosevelt (second term)
  • Age at inauguration: 54
  • Nicknames: “Idol of Ohio,” “Wobbly Willie,” “Napoleon of Protection”

Random Trivia

  • A pink carnation: McKinley always wore on pink carnation on his lapel.  He would often give the carnation to friends.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: January 29, 1843
  • Birthplace: Niles, Ohio
  • Death: September 14, 1901
  • Place of death: Buffalo, New York
  • Place of burial: Canton, Ohio
  • Last words: “Goodbye, all, goodbye. It is God’s way. His will be done.”


  • Father: William McKinley (1807–1892)
  • Mother: Nancy Allison McKinley (1809–1897)
  • Wife: Ida Saxton (1847 – 1907)
  • Marriage: January 25, 1871 in Ohio
  • Kids: Two
    • Katherine (1871–1875)
    • Ida (1873–1873)
  • Home: Market Avenue in Canton, Ohio
    • McKinley’s Canton, Ohio home is no longer in existence.  It was razed over the winter of 1934-35.

Other Facts

  • Height: 5’7″
  • Eye color: Blue-Gray
  • Ancestry: Scotch-Irish and English
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Born in a log cabin: No
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: Yes


  • Early education: Poland Academy
  • College degree: No
  • College: Allegheny College; Albany Law School


  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Lawyer (1853–)
  • Soldier, Officer in Civil War (1861–1865)
  • Major (1865)
  • Member of Congress (1877–1891)
  • Governor of Ohio (1892–1896)
  • President (1897–1901)


  • The Tariff in the Days of Henry Clay and Since


With the economic Panic of 1893 fresh in everyone’s mind, the Democrats started this race a step behind.  William McKinley, the Civil War officer and Governor of Ohio, faced William Jennings Bryan, the great orator.

The parties differed in their views on protective tariffs (the Republicans strongly supported them).  The Republicans also supported a gold standard with the possibility of using silver as well.  The Democrats supported bimetallism. The Republican party invested roughly $4 million in the campaign, and it paid off.  McKinley won a vast majority of the electoral votes.

William McKinley had a head start in this race as well.  He was the victorious leader in the Spanish-American War, and the country was doing well economically. In this rematch election, McKinley again won the vast majority of electoral votes over William Jennings Bryan.

Campaign Poster

Prosperity at Home, Prestige Abroad, lithograph by Northwestern Litho. Co., between 1895 and 1900 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek