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William McKinley

Twenty-fifth president 1897–1901

Like other presidents elected during the post–Civil War era, William McKinley served in the Union army, where he rose from private to major. He then progressed from U.S. representative to governor of Ohio, and finally, to president. In the 1896 election, he defeated the populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan in a landslide victory, thereby cementing the Republican Party’s conservative pro-business platform. The Spanish-American War, which lasted from April to August of 1898, was conducted under the pretext of freeing Cuba. The war guided much of McKinley’s foreign policy and resulted in the United States acquiring the territories of Guam, the Philippines, Haw ...
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Oil on canvas
149.0 x 99.0cm
Image and text © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2023

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