William McKinley (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: By strengthening the powers of the presidency, McKinley’s administration prepared the way for forceful executives of the twentieth century such as Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His expansionist policies brought new overseas territories such as Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii into the American empire.
William McKinley, Jr., was born January 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio. His mother, née Nancy Allison, was descended from pious Scottish ancestors; his father, William McKinley, Sr., of Scotch-Irish and English Puritan descent, was an iron founder in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The elder McKinley’s iron furnace brought only a meager living. The son grew up in a rural environment and attended the Methodist Church faithfully with his parents. When the family moved to the larger town of Poland, near Youngstown, Ohio, William was able to attend the academy there in preparation for college. He was able to complete only one term during 1860 at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania; family financial reverses prevented resumption of his studies. Young McKinley had proved himself to be a good public speaker and a diligent, if not brilliant, student.
Because of his short stature—five feet six inches tall—erect posture, and somber countenance, McKinley’s physical appearance has often been compared to that of Napoleon Bonaparte. His gray,...
(The entire section is 2683 words.)
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