William McKinley, Apostle of Protectionism

William McKinley, Apostle of Protectionism

William McKinley, Apostle of Protectionism

William McKinley, Apostle of Protectionism

Excerpt

Many of the terms used in this book have changed in meaning, some dramatically, after two world wars, a worldwide depression, and the cold war. The Republican and Democratic Parties of today are far different than those of McKinley’s day, and the reader must resist framing the parties of this biography into those of today. The term “American System” as used throughout the book refers to a specific economic blending of capitalism, government, and democracy as defined by Henry Clay in the 1830s and adopted by William McKinley. The full history of the term “American System” is discussed in Chapter 2.

Terms such as socialist, communist, and anarchist were not as clearly defined. The socialist movement was undergoing its own growing pains; even the followers of Karl Marx were split on the definition and what to call themselves. The conventional view of “socialism” in McKinley’s day was that it was some kind of hodge-podge of anarchism. And clandestine foreign agents who made vague promises of a better life for workers, in fact, were supposedly acting to undermine the “holy” foundations of American capitalism. This pitted the workers against the barons of capitalism. Also, at the time there was no practical example of a functioning socialist government; socialism was only a political movement, which included a collection of anti-establishment planks.

Anarchists might be considered the terrorists of McKinley’s day. Historically and politically they split from Marx’s socialist movement and wanted no government at all. On the very fringe was a violent movement of anarchists who saw violence as a tool for change. The public, the press, and the government often . . .

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