Murdering McKinley


Please write a 4-5 page paper answering one of the following questions.  Your paper should be based primarily on Eric Rauchway’s Murdering McKinley, but you may also draw on other course readings and lectures.  (Do NOT consult outside sources.)

In writing this paper, be sure to

1) Provide a strong thesis on the first page of your paper;

2) Develop your argument clearly and logically, using specific evidence to back up your points;

3) Cite all material drawn from readings in either footnotes or endnotes.  (You do not need to cite lectures.);

4) Proofread your paper for spelling and grammatical errors.

All papers should be typed (12-point font) and double-spaced with a one-inch margin, and stapled before they are handed in.  Please do not exceed the page limit even if you have a lot to say.  There is virtue in conciseness!

As with all written assignments, this paper should properly acknowledge words and ideas that are not your own.  (Again, you do not have to cite lectures, but you should cite any other texts/readings you draw on.)  Please give citations using Chicago Style.  I have posted a quick guide to using this form of citation on the class blackboard site under “Course Information and Assignments – Assignments.”  If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the syllabus, talk to your teaching assistant, or see me during my office hours.

As indicated on the syllabus, you must submit the paper in two forms.  Submit a hard copy in person to your teaching assistant and an electronic version through Blackboard to “”


1)  In 1894, Theodore Roosevelt mused that:
[t]he time of the great social revolutions has arrived.  We are all peering into the future to try to forecast the act of the great dumb forces set in operation by the stupendous industrial revolution which has taken place during the present century.  We do not know what to make of the vast displacements of population, the expansion of towns, the unrest and discontent of the masses. 

How did different Americans grapple with Roosevelt’s question: “What to make” of industrial America?  What, if anything, did they see as wrong with America?  How did they explain the existence of social problems?  What kinds of solutions did they propose—and why?  Your essay must explore the answers offered by Theodore Roosevelt and at least two of the following: conservative Republicans (e.g. William McKinley), anarchists (e.g. Abraham Isaak, Emma Goldman), Populists and their allies (e.g. William Jennings Bryan), followers of Edward Bellamy, and settlement house workers (e.g. Jane Addams).
2)   Historians have long debated how best to characterize the reform movements and reformist policies of the Progressive Era.  In Murdering McKinley, Eric Rauchway argues that Teddy Roosevelt “set himself the task of implementing radical changes for conservative purposes.” (p. 93)  What does Rauchway mean by this?  What problems did Roosevelt see in American society and how did he go about addressing them?&nbsp
; How did he use McKinley’s murder to justify and build support for his political agenda?  What specific arguments did Roosevelt and others make of Leon Czolgosz, his influences, and his motives? 

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