25.) William McKinley 1897-1901


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Once upon a time, the United States stuck to its shores and big business largely stayed out of politics.
Then came William McKinley.
William McKinley took the United States international in a big way, carrying the American flag to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and China; he revolutionized political campaigning by leveraging the power of big business against a progressive populist threat and building a national campaign that was a quantum leap forward in political organization; and he crafted a international Chinese policy that is a big part of the reason we still have a China on the map, and not some carved up mess of former European colonies like we have in the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.
Follow along as McKinley serves in the Civil War, enters politics, becomes a champion of big business, rewrites the political playbook in a successful campaign for the presidency, and dives head-first into the modern era of American overseas imperialism, only for his life to be cut short by an assassin driven by the one looming problem McKinley had not solved - the rampant economic inequality of the Gilded Age.
1. The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century – Scott Miller
2. T.R. the last Romantic – H.R. Brands
3. Grover Cleveland – Henry F. Graff
4. Benjamin Harrison – Charles W. Calhoun
5. William Howard Taft – Jeffrey Rosen

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