William McKinley, Class of 1867

William McKinley


U.S. President 1896-1901

Born in 1843 in Niles, Ohio, William McKinley, Jr., grew up there, enrolled and studied briefly at Allegheny College, served for four years in the Union Army during the Civil War, and then served a year or so as an apprentice in the office of a Poland, Ohio, judge.  In fall 1866, McKinley, age 25, came to Albany, one of the leading cities in the United States at the time, to study the science of the law. At Albany Law School, he attended lectures by its three faculty members and studied closely the judicial decisions they cited.  In spring 1867, he returned to Canton, Ohio, to finish his preparation for the Ohio bar by reading law in an attorney's office, common practice at that time. 

Listen to an 1896 campaign speech

After admission to the bar, he practiced privately and served as prosecutor in Stark County; he was defeated seeking reelection to that office after one term.  In 1876, McKinley, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  He was reelected numerous times and served, with one brief interruption, until he was defeated in 1890.  In 1891, he was elected Governor of Ohio, and he was reelected in 1893.  In 1896, after another brief period as a private citizen, McKinley received the Republican Party’s nomination and was elected President of the United States.  He was, with running mate Theodore Roosevelt, elected again in 1900. In September 1901, President McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo, N.Y.

An excerpt from Professor John Q. Barrett, St. John’s University School of Law, to his list-serve on a larger piece about the intersection of Pres. Mcklinley and Justice Robert Jackson '12.