Unit Study Supplement: William McKinley, U.S. 25th President
While William McKinley accomplished a great deal in his Presidency, not a lot is commonly known about the 25th President of the United States. Even the $500 bill in which he was featured has been discontinued. So as some may say, out of sight, out of mind. However, although not many people know much about him, president William McKinley is responsible for the United States becoming a global superpower. Today, we will cover some interesting facts about William McKinley in our series of presidential unit studies.
William McKinley Fast Facts
|Presidential Order||25th President|
|Born||January 29th, 1843|
|Death||September 14th, 1901|
|State of Birth||Ohio|
|Name of Spouse||Ida Saxton-McKinley|
|Served as President||1897 – 1901|
|Age When Elected to Office||54|
|Vice Presidents||Had 2 Vice Presidents:
Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not in conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.
William McKinley Timeline
1843Born in Niles, Ohio to Nancy Allison McKinley and William McKinley Sr.
1859 – 1860Attended Allegheny College
1861Enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War
1869Entered Ohio politics
1871Married Ida Saxton
1876Elected into Congress
1890Passed tariff measure that lost the Republican party the support of many voters
1891Ran for governor of Ohio and served two terms
1893Panic of 1893; Republicans regained support
1896Won Republican presidential nomination
1897Took office as 25th president
1898April — Led US into war with Spain over Cuban independence
- Won U.S. possession of Puerto Rico, Guam, and Philippines
- Cuba gained independence
- August — Sent American troops to put down Boxer Rebellion in China
- November — Re-elected as President
- September 5th — Re-inaugurated as President
- September 6th — Shot by Leon Czolgosz
- September 14th — Died from assassination gun shot wounds
Fun Facts About President William McKinley
- Did you know that the 25th president of the United States, William McKinley was the first to ride in an automobile? While the automobile invention has its beginnings as far back as the early 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1885 that Karl Benz, a German inventor, created the first “true” automobile.
- President McKinley’s first inauguration in 1897 was the first to be captured on film. Motion picture cameras were invented earlier that decade (1890’s), and thus, his inauguration was the first that was possible to be recorded.
- McKinley loved carnations so much he wore them as a good luck charm. In a surprising turn of events, the day he was assassinated, he had just given his red carnation to a little girl before getting shot.
- William McKinley was the first and only president between 1869 through 1913 not to wear any form of facial hair. The last president to go clean-shaven before him was President Andrew Johnson in 1869, and it wasn’t until 1913 that President Woodrow Wilson would bring back the clean-shaven preference.
- McKinley never set foot in the state of Alaska and certainly never set eyes on the mountain peak that bears his name.
- President McKinley once appeared on the $500 note until such high-denomination bills stopped being printed in late December, 1945. These bills were officially discontinued in 1969, though they are still legal tender in the United States.
Hands-On Activities For William McKinley
Any president study guide is made better by multisensory learning opportunities. Below, you will find activity ideas, organized by grade level, that let your students get hands-on with their exploration of the life of the 25th president of the United States.
Elementary William McKinley Activities
- William McKinley was the first presidential candidate to utilize campaign buttons. Once your student has gotten familiar with McKinley and the causes he championed, have them design a campaign button that they think exemplifies what positions he would have run on.
- View images of early automobiles, such as the ones William McKinley might have ridden in. See if your student can replicate one of the images with Legos™ or other interactive building toy.
Middle School William McKinley Activities
- The Spanish American War period offers an opportunity to teach students about American imperialism. Use this discussion to let your middle schooler try his or her hand at creating their own editorial cartoon that uses symbolism to express the contrast between America and the foreign territories they controlled.
- McKinley is one of eight presidents to be born in the state of Ohio. Using a printable Ohio map, find and mark the birthplace of each of the Ohio-born U.S. presidents.
High School William McKinley Activities
- The $500 bill, on which McKinley is featured, has been discontinued. Have your high schooler research why certain currency denominations go out of use, then have them write a persuasive essay on which bill they think may go out of use in their lifetime.
- Between the terms of President Harrison and President Kennedy, every president elected in a year ending in zero either died while in office or was assassinated. This phenomenon is often referred to as “Tecumseh’s Curse.” Have your high schooler track down the source of this superstition and then have them calculate the probability of it happening.