William McKinley: The Best Career Move

Presidential History Blog

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Major William McKinley

At the suggestion of General Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley decided to study law.

The Hard-Knocks Youth of William McKinley

Born in Niles, raised in the little village of Poland, Ohio, William McKinley, Jr. was the seventh of nine children. His father was a hard working iron monger, and the devout Methodist family struggled financially. Nevertheless, educating their children became uppermost in their minds. As such, after young Billy’s local schooling, the family scraped together enough money to send him to Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. Briefly. Midway through his first semester, he became seriously ill, and had to withdraw, hoping to return at a later date. That never happened.

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Young William McKinley

When he recovered, the Civil War had just begun in earnest, and young McKinley believed it his duty to enlist. He was eighteen. He served for four years, rising from private to brevet major…

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