American Civilization In Raauway's Murdering Mckinley, By Eric Rauchway

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When an American Dictionary of the English Language was first published in 1828 by Noah Webster the word “American” was defined as; “noun. A native of America; originally applied to the aboriginals, or copper colored races, found here by the Europeans; but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America.” A further note applied to the definition of “American” was a quote from Washington stating, “The name American must always exalt the pride of patriotism” (Webster 's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition.). Noah Webster had officially defined the standard by which society should determine who exactly was American. In 1901 when Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley, Webster’s definition of who was and was not American …show more content…
In his book Murdering McKinley, Eric Rauchway examines the many aspects of the assassination; from it’s conception and occurrence to the trial and execution of Leon Czolgosz. Rauchway then examines the affects on American politics after the events of September 6, l901. Rauchway, through his research comes to the conclusion that Leon Czolgosz was not insane, nor had he been an anarchist as others had implied. Leon Czolgosz was merely a product of an ineffective society that had been accustomed to oppressing “outsiders” for over a century. While he was a “descendant of Europeans born in America”, his Polish heritage never allowed him to be considered American by the establishment that had elected, President William McKinley. That same establishment had paved the path for the assassination of the president and made sure that investigators would not come to any other conclusions that may save the life of a …show more content…
Two previous presidents, Lincoln and Garfield had been assassinated while in office. The oppression of African-Americans had legally been laid to rest. Society, however, had not completely given up on the idea that those of African descendant were not a threat to the American way of life. In his account of the of the assassination of President McKinley, Rauchway describes the events of September sixth through the eyes of witnesses. During the trial of Leon Czolgosz, a Secret Service agent was asked to describe the events leading up to the shooting of the president. That agent, George Foster testified that; “…he had passed over Czolgosz to focus on a dark complexioned man with a black mustache” (Rauchway, 61). The defense attorney, Robert Titus, asked Mr. Foster why he had focused so much on the dark complexioned man and not on others in the crowd. Foster replied that “seeing a colored man made him suspicious. Why, Titus asked. I didn’t like his general appearance, the agent replied. So while the white, good-looking murderer advanced on the President, Foster was motioning to his colleague to keep an eye on the darker man-whom, he said, he lost track of afterward (Rauchway, 61). It was later concluded that the man Foster was referring to, James Parker, had actually come to the president’s aid and had deflected a third bullet. The Secret Service who was entrusted to protect the President

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