Thursday, September 15, 2011

President William McKinley Jr.

 President William McKinley Jr. was born to a Methodist family in Ohio on January 29, 1843. At the age of ten, he went forward at a revival meeting and trusted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. At the age of sixteen, William McKinley became a full-fledged member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He continued to be active in the Methodist Episcopal Church throughout his life. Although his mother had hoped he would become a minister; he pursued a different course in history.

He joined the Twenty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment when he was eighteen at the outbreak of the Southern War for Independence. At the climax of the war, William McKinley attained the rank of major. He considered the possibility that he may be killed on the battlefield and wrote In his diary a contemplative attitude:

“Fall in a good cause and hope to fall in the arms of my blessed Redeemer. This record I want left behind, that I not only fell as a soldier for my Country, but also as a Soldier of Jesus. [His family and friends would be comforted with the solace] that if we never meet again on earth, we will meet around God’s throne in heaven. Let my fate be what it may, I want to be ready and prepared.”

After the cessation of the war, he became a lawyer in Canton, Ohio and married Ida Saxton. Ida was a Sunday school teacher and a temperance worker. Tragically, the couple was stricken with various hardships. They lost two young children and eventually Ida succumbed to a nervous malady becoming a semi invalid. McKinley remained a faithful husband devoted to his wife and cared for her throughout his life.
He held various political offices within local and state government. He was elected as a congressman to the House of Representatives and became a leader within the Republican Party. In 1891, McKinley was elected as Governor of Ohio.

As governor, William McKinley addressed the Baptist Young People’s Union in Lakeside, Ohio on July 4, 1892:

“Lincoln, like Washington, illustrated in his administration faith in God. On March 4, 1861, he said, ‘Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance upon Him who has never forgotten this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulties.”

The governor of Ohio spoke to the First International Convention of the Epworth League in Cleveland on June 29, 1893:

“We live to make our Church a power in the land while we love every other Church that exalts our Christ. That broad Christian liberality lies at the basis of your work…Every organization of this kind demonstrates that Christian character is helpful in every avenue or emergency of life…The demand of the time is the young man thoroughly grounded in Christianity and its Book.”

On June 14, 1894 Governor William McKinley declared to the Christian Endeavor’s International Convention meeting in Cleveland Ohio:

“There is no currency in this world that passes at such a premium anywhere as good Christian character…The time has gone by when the young man or the young woman in the United States has to apologize for being a follower of Jesus Christ…No cause but one could have brought together so many people, and that is the cause of our Master.”

In 1896, William McKinley spoke of Abraham Lincoln’s attributes:

“The purposes of God, working through the ages, were, perhaps, more clearly revealed to him than to any other…He was the greatest man of his time, especially approved of God for the work He gave him to do.”

In 1896, he successfully ran for the Presidency and was elected. William McKinley was inaugurated as the twenty-fifth president of the United States.

After taking the prescribed oath of office, he kissed his Bible which was opened to Solomon’s prayer:

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” (2 Chronicles 1:10 KJV) 

He proclaimed to his fellow citizens that he would be:

“...relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God. Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.”

In his inaugural address of March 4, 1897 he declared:

“Let me repeat the oath administered by the Chief Justice: ‘I will faithfully administer the office of the President of the United States…” This is the obligation I have reverently taken before the Lord this day. To keep it will be my single purpose and my prayer.”

His Christian faith was often reflected in his political policies. In 1898, America seized control of the Philippine Islands from Spain. McKinley prayed for divine guidance as American politicians were unsure of what to do. He felt guided to annex the Philippine Islands making sure to educate and evangelize the Filipino people whom he considered “our fellowmen for whom Christ also died.”

America became a world power during McKinley’s administration after achieving victory during the Spanish-American War. Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands were annexed as territories. Through his administration, the United States was given a permanent lease of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Plans for the Panama Canal were being made and the Boxer Rebellion in China was subdued.

William McKinley publically forgave the assassin who shot him on September 6, 1901. He courageously held to life for a week with dignity but his condition worsened as infection spread through his body. His doctors kept him alive by administering oxygen and heart stimulants. Finally, he realized their attempts to save his life were futile proclaiming:

“It is useless, gentlemen, I think we ought to have prayer.”

President William McKinley bid his wife a loving goodbye and to his friends he weakly declared:

“It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done”

The last words he was heard to murmur were from his favorite hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee.”

He was assassinated at the beginning of his second term in office and mourned throughout America.
President William McKinley declared:

“The Christian religion is no longer the badge of weaklings and enthusiasts, but of distinction, enforcing respect.”

In reference to the Holy Bible, McKinley declared:

“The more profoundly we study this wonderful Book, and the more closely we observe its divine precepts, the better citizens we will become and the higher will be our destiny as a nation.”

No comments: