The Early Decades, 1900-1920
The teen of the Nineties, or even of the Fifties, did not exist in America in 1900. Adolescence in the early decades was a brief time between childhood and adult responsibilities. The large majority of teens did not attend high school but entered the workforce as soon as they could find jobs. If they lived on farms, they took on major tasks even during childhood. They married young and had children of their own by the time they were in their la e teens or early twenties. The blue jean-rock and roll culture was four and a half decades away.
Politically, the century began in unrest. President William McKinley, a Republican who had been elected in 1896 largely because of his support of high tariffs to protect American markets, was beginning to see the importance of world trade and instituted a campaign to persuade the Senate to adopt a more open posture toward trade with other countries. At the same time, as his second term began in 1900, rumors of a plot by European anarchists to assassinate several heads of state prompted fears for McKinley's safety. On September 6, 1901, on a speaking tour in Buffalo, New York, the president was shot by Leon Czolgosz, who had concealed a revolver under a handkerchief. McKinley died eight days later, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt took office. A century which began with a political assassination would see several more before its close.
Teddy Roosevelt, who had first served as McKinley's secretary of the navy,