William McKinley (1843–1901) was the twenty-fifth president of the United States. McKinley, a Republican, was elected to Congress in 1876, serving from 1877 to 1883 and from 1885 to 1891. In 1890, he authored the McKinley Tariff, a protective measure that increased duties and authorized trade reciprocity. The tariff was initially unpopular but was better received after the Panic of 1893. McKinley was elected governor of Ohio in 1891, and in 1896 he won the Republican nomination for president. McKinley, opposing free silver and promoting protectionism, won the presidency over Populist-supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

As president, McKinley tried to avoid US military intervention in the conflict between Cuba and Spain, but eventually relented when public opinion and political pressure turned overwhelmingly against Spain after the sinking of the USS Maine in 1898. The result was the Spanish-American War. At the war’s end, McKinley oversaw the annexation of the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico. His administration was also responsible for the 1901 Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, which made possible the later US construction of the Panama Canal and the creation of an open door policy for China. McKinley also authorized the dispatch of US troops to China to help put down the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. He was elected to a second term in 1900, but his time in office was cut short when he was shot by assassin and anarchist Leon Czolgosz on September 6, 1901. McKinley died eight days later, leaving Theodore Roosevelt to assume the presidency.

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