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This Week in History:
September 1 - 7

The Treaty of Paris, 1783
The Assasination of President McKinley, 1901

September 2010

President William McKinley, from the Library of Congress Presidents and First Ladies Collection

Lord Shelburne (William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne) 1737-1805.

Two highly significant events for American history occurred in the first week of September. First, on Sept. 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which formalized the end of the American Revolutionary War. Second, on Sept. 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot and killed by an assassin. Immediately sworn in to take over his office was Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, who acted to change the policies of the United States, fundamentally for the worse.

In one sense, the Treaty of Paris—signed by Great Britain, France, and the United States—was a formality. The British Army had been defeated nearly two years earlier, at Yorktown, Virginia, and had acknowledged as much. But the British Empire had by no means reconciled itself to losing its former American colonies, which, at the end of hostilities, found themselves bankrupt, at the mercy of Indian tribes, and virtually at each other's throats over issues of trade and land.

All the more reason that a recognition of American sovereignty, by treaty, was necessary. This was the accomplishment of a team, led by America's foremost citizen Benjamin Franklin, and including John Adams, who found themselves face-to-face with Britain's Lord Shelburne. Shelburne has enjoyed a totally unwarranted reputation as being "pro-American." In reality, he was simply more sophisticated than the ham-handed British Prime Ministers, preferring to wield the weapon of "free trade" against both the new United States, and France, rather than employ outright military means. He fought to have the Parliament accept the peace, in order to fight another day.

As for the Americans, the achievement of the treaty simply posed more starkly the question of how they were going to organize their economy and government, in order to procure a prosperous future for themselves, and their posterity.

In contrast, the shooting of President McKinley in 1901 marked a dramatic shift downward for the world's premier republic.

William McKinley of Ohio, a former Union military officer, was elected to the Presidency in 1896 on a platform of high wages and defiance of British free-trade doctrines. While he had been manipulated into waging the Spanish-American War, McKinley was still intent upon pursuing peace, reciprocity, and mutual industrial development with the nations of the Western Hemisphere. McKinley was no imperialist.

Not so his Vice Presidential running mate in the 1900 election. Rabid Anglophile Teddy Roosevelt had been effectively forced onto to the Republican ticket, and he was, therefore, in place at the crucial time. That time came on Sept. 6, 1901, when the anarchist Leon Czolgosz, a self-professed disciple of Emma Goldmann, shot McKinley. The President died a few days later.

As President, Teddy Roosevelt blatantly attacked and intimidated the nations of Ibero-America, broke up the U.S. alliances with Japan, Russia, and Germany, and reversed the economic policy which had been initiated by President Abraham Lincoln. Roosevelt closed the American West to settlement, cancelled Lincoln's economic development measures, and turned over national financial power to the British banking cartel of Rothschild and Morgan. Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" slogan came to reflect U.S. foreign policy—as it would until Franklin Delano Roosevelt took over in 1932.


The original article was published in the EIR Online’s Electronic Intelligence Weekly, as part of an ongoing series on history, with a special emphasis on American history. We are reprinting and updating these articles now to assist our readers in understanding of the American System of Economy.

Related pages:

Remembering President William McKinley 100 Years After His Assasination

This Week in American History (main page)

Image of the American Patriot

Education, Science and Poetry

The Four Powers Alliance