As we noted in last week’s Almanac entry about the shooting of William McKinley, who was thought to have had a good chance for survival but ended up dying anyway, The Nation was no fan of McKinley but even less a fan of his young vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, who assumed the presidency on this date in 1901. Not only was he young, brash and inexperienced, but he was a war-mongering Jingo imperialist, while The Nation, decidedly, was not. But when Roosevelt, after rushing from the Adirondacks to Buffalo, where McKinley was shot, to take the oath of office, issued a declaration of his intentions as president, The Nation was largely soothed.
The outline of the President’s policy telegraphed from Buffalo is as encouraging for what it omits as for what it contains. There is not a line in it which “breathes short-winded accents of new broils.” On the contrary, it contains the promise to “use all conciliatory methods of arbitration in all disputes with foreign nations, so as to avoid armed strife.” The spirit of Jingoism is not only wanting from it, but is expressly cast out. This is the most admirable feature of the communication…. Most gratifying is the closing paragraph in the Buffalo declaration which promises “the placing in positions of trust men of only the highest integrity.” This, we will not doubt, is the firm and honest purpose of the new President.
To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, every morning this year The Almanac will highlight something that happened that day in history and how The Nation covered it. Get The Almanac every day (or every week) by signing up to the e-mail newsletter.