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The Assassination Of President William McKinley Led To The Creation Of The Secret Service


The public firing of President William McKinley was the straw that broke the Congressional adage. It was the third assassination of a sitting US president, and he was eventually forced to admit that he may have had a slight security problem. To solve this, he turned to an unlikely team.

Leon Czolgosz and President McKinley

On September 5, 1901, President McKinley showed up to deliver a speech at the Pan-American Exposition, a World's Fair-like event held in Buffalo, New York. A record number of spectators came to see the popular president, refreshed by his recent victory in the Spanish–American War, and to honor the occasion, the organizers of the event planned a patriotic firework show, which read "Your Welcome President McKinley, our premier nation and our empire" at the end of his speech.

The next day, McKinley returned to the exhibition to participate in a theatrical performance and a meet-and-greet session, despite his staff's concern for the president's vulnerability in such a crowd. They were right to be concerned: One of the people in line to meet McKinley was Leon Kozolgoz, a 28-year-old unemployed Polish immigrant from Detroit, a self-proclaimed anarchist, and all-too-social misfit who blamed capitalism for his troubles. ordained. A few days earlier, Czolgosz traveled to Buffalo, where he bought a .32 caliber revolver, which he had hidden in his jacket pocket wrapped in a handkerchief.

"Big Jim" Parker in 1901.

McKinley's Death and the Secret Service

If Kozolgoz had any hesitation, it disappeared as he watched the public conversing with President McKinley, noting later that everyone "[seemed] bowing down to the great ruler. I intended to kill that ruler." Made up my mind." At 4:07 p.m., Kozolgoz took his position at the front of the line and, when the president extended a friendly handshake, pulled out his pistol and shot McKinley twice at point blank range. As the president took some precarious steps back, a man named James Parker (known to friends as "Big Jim") came out of a stunned line of McKinley fans and punched Kozolgoz in the face to the ground. .

That's when the president's inadequate security details came to his senses and stopped Kozolgosz, beating him until McKinley—by then bleeding profusely from his stomach—ordered him to stop. McKinley was taken to a temporary hospital at Exposition, where he underwent emergency surgery, but after a short recovery period that gave the world hope for a full recovery, the president turned to the worse and on September 14, He died in 1901.

After three public assassinations of the president in the country's brief history, it became clear that a more authoritative, dedicated and heavily trained security force was needed to defend the country's highest office. The duty fell on a division of the Treasury Department that, oddly enough, was, at the time, primarily responsible for investigating forgery cases. Prior to McKinley's assassination, most presidents opted to be out of protection by this secret service, but in the wake of this, Congress took the decision out of their hands. He redefined the role of the Secret Service to protect the president, whether the president wishes to or not.

1 comment:

  1. The Secret Service was around before this happened. Their job was to investigate stolen arms, counterfeiting,

    ReplyDelete

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