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tv   QA Robert Merry  CSPAN  November 27, 2017 3:08pm-4:08pm EST

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bill later this week on the senate floor. also, only the majority and not the normal 60 votes are needed for passage. approved the legislation, the house and senate will go into conference negotiations on the bill. republicans are hoping to have the bill on the president's by christmas. you can read the details of the bill at c-span.org or click on the congress cap and that will take you to the congressional chronicle page where you will see a link to the bill's text. thec-span bus is on tour, visiting every capital and talking about each tour, visiting every capital and talking about each state's priorities. we started with dover, delaware, and have done 12. our next stop is tallahassee, florida. we will have live interviews during washington journal. our next stop is tallahassee,
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florida. ♪ >> this week on q&a, journalist and author robert mary, who talks about his book, president mckinley, architect of the american century. >> author of "president mckinley." your biography. what was it like back in 1897 through 1901 in the united states? what was going on? >> the most important thing was the country was burgeoning. poised toanding and move dramatically into the world. you and i talked about james polk, one of my previous subjects and how he expanded the country on the north american continent, but what mckinley did
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is push out into the pacific and the atlantic and the caribbean in a way that no president had done before and that did not just happen. it happened because america was building and industrial base, building economic growth. economic wherewithal. they were building a navy. mckinley had a lot to do with it but it was actually before him. they were gaining more and more interest in building the panama canal. when we ended up with serious conflict in the caribbean with the spanish empire, which controlled and owned cuba, it was inevitable that we would go to war with spain and basically kick them out of the caribbean and pick up significant members of their possessions and become an empire.
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brian: how would you describe mckinley? if he was in this room, what would he be like? robert: he was a tough nut for be to crack. i have written a number of biographies and i thought i was pretty good at bringing people to life. mckinley was not easy to bring to life. he did not keep a diary and he hardly wrote any letters. there is very little written record of what he was thinking or how he was feeling. i was really struggling with the book. my friend at the washington post who read my manuscript, he touched on it by saying this guy is a mystery. he was a very effective president, but you cannot quite figure out how or why he was able to accomplish all he accomplished. he was an incrementalist, a manager, not a man of force.
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it turns out without that force, he had an amazing capacity to manipulate people into doing the things he wanted them to do, and they thought it was their idea. once i captured that, you could see what he was doing and how he was manipulating. there was sort of a silent drama that emerged. brian: i want to go back to the 2009 interview that we had a few here when you are talking about james polk. you see this clip, ok? >> this was not my idea.
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it came from my editor who is legendary as somebody who loves the narrative history and has passion for american history. she asked me, when i was coming up with ideas for books, she said, what do you know about the mexican war? brian: you said in your acknowledgments that the same thing happened with this book. that your editor did not like your ideas, and he said, do one on mckinley. robert: i still have the same editor. jonathan was her boss, he had a bigger position at simon & schuster. i had gotten a two book contract to do a book on the presidency, which i did. and also a book on the 1850's, how america fell apart and had to go to war to get put back together. i wanted to do it through a prism that i thought might be revealing. the prism of the two crazy
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states that were driving us to war, massachusetts and south carolina. that contract was delivered. but jonathan was reading my book on the presidency in manuscript form and he liked it. he knew i had done the polk book and it had gotten attention. so he went to alice and said, i wonder if we should not keep merry on presidents. i am intrigued by mckinley. so they asked me if i would be willing to switch to another subject. i was not sure about it. we had a meeting in new york. i waxed eloquently on the 1850's and a little bit less eloquently on mckinley. but jonathan said he was not sure how to market a book on a
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decade. they do not have natural selling impetus. but he knew how to market a book on mckinley. so we said, take a couple of weeks, give it some thought and let me know what you decide. i said, i do not need two weeks, i want to write books now. i was about to move and i was giving up my job. i have since gotten another job, but i said i wanted write books for you guys. i want to write books you think will sell. so i will do mckinley. and i am really glad i did. i spent many years at congressional quarterly, i was the editor there and ceo for 12 years but the company got sold
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and i was unhorsed. i ended up the editor of a national interest magazine focused on foreign policy. when i was ready to move to the northwest, i gave up that position and started the mckinley book. after it was finished, i was on the board of directors of a nonprofit that oversees magazines and web publishing called the american conservative. that happens to be my political orientation. the magazine found itself without an editor and asked if i would step in. i did. that was a year ago. i am going back-and-forth between washington state and washington dc. brian: on the mckinley book, where did you go to find out what he was like?
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how did you figure him out? robert: there was not a lot of documentation in terms of what he was thinking, so you have to go to people around him. he had a wonderful assistant, almost like a chief of staff. he kept a diary. so you got a sense of what he was saying and thinking. other people kept diaries. there were interviews many years ago with people who were close
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to mckinley. those gave some good stories. newspaper articles, you had to scour everything there was that he had anything to do with to piece it together. brian: one man who loved mark hanna was karl rove. here he is on this network talking about mckinley. >> the republicans hold the house for 26 and 36 years, the white house for 28, and the senate for 30 the only time they lose power is when they divide among themselves as they do in 1912. they had more governors and state led to stars than today. the mayors of most major cities were republican. mckinley created a new coalition of smalltime farmers and traditional small business allies. it becomes an unstoppable coalition for over three decades. brian: where did mckinley grow up and how did he get into politics? robert: he grew up in small-town ohio.
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first in lisbon, ohio and then poland, ohio. he got sick in his freshman year of college. the illness was mysterious. when he got better, he had to go to work because the family was stretched. so they got a job as a schoolteacher and postal clerk. he was doing that at age 18 when the civil war broke out. stanley was always passionately abolitionist. he hated slavery. his mother was very bright, a reader, they got the weekly new york tribune run by one of the leading abolitionist in america. he gave himself a few days to think it over, but he quickly enlisted in the u.s. army as a private. he spent four years in the
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service during the civil war. most of his promotions came as a result of battlefield heroics. he did not seem to have any sense of what fear might be or how it might be used to keep you out of crazy situations. he was a quartermaster sergeant, so he was in the battle of antietam, the bloodiest day in american history. he was away from the action. he was making sure everyone had food. there was a unit that had found itself isolated and could not get out of this situation. this unit had been fighting since early in the morning and had no breakfast or lunch and had run out of water. this was late afternoon. these people were in extremis. that unit was not going to be in fighting fitness. some mckinley got in his head from three miles away that he was going to load up a wagon and get the wagon to the troops. he found a guy to volunteer with him and he loaded up the wagon and started moving through the woods to the clearing where the battle was going on. he ran into two officers who
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told him to get back, forget it. he ignored them and went through the clearing. got the back of his wagon shot off but got revisions to the troops. he became a commissioned officer as a result of that crazy deed and continued to rise up because of similar battlefield actions. brian: how did he get elected to the house of representatives and how long was he there? robert: when he got back from the civil war, he decided he wanted to be a lawyer. he knew he wanted to become a congressman. his mentor was rutherford b hayes. he loved mckinley. also from ohio. he wanted to follow in his footsteps. hayes told him no. he said, you can make a lot more money if you went into
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industrial activity. there was going to be an industrial explosion, and hayes knew it. but that is not what mckinley wanted. he carefully preserved the letter but discarded the advice. so he became a lawyer and moved to canton, ohio. he immediately emerges as a civic leader. he was in veterans organizations, the methodist church, everything he seems to join he rose up into leadership positions. he was the president of the chamber of commerce. he was the superintendent of the sunday school at church. on and on.
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it was not surprising that he, it was well known in his community, when there was a vacancy in the house of representatives, he went for it. brian: how often was he disrupted? did he lose it all while he was there? robert: it was a precarious situation. there was a parity between republicans and democrats in
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ohio. we talk about gerrymandering today, all of the problems, in those days, if the democrats controlled the legislator, they were going to mess with the district. and that is what happened. in one instance, after his first and second term, in his third term, he actually lost but only after a recount that took almost a year because it was so close. he did not know he had lost the seat until he had been back in washington, continuing to represent the district. so then he went back and regained it and continued to have it. he was in the house for 14 years. he became the chairman of the ways and means committee and created a protectionist bill. he found himself on the outs because we were beginning to
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move into a recession and businesses took the occasion to raise prices. the tariff had not even gone into effect yet. the democrats went after republican incumbents. 1890 was a terrible year. brian: let me show you some video, because you go back to the late 1800s and he is interested in protected tariffs. this is from the summer, where the current president of the united states had this to say about tariffs. president trump: the great president from the state of ohio, mckinley. does anybody know who the hell he is? he understood that when america protects our workers and industries, we open up a higher and better destiny for people. brian: explain tariffs, protective tariffs, the similarity between trump and mckinley.
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robert: the country has had from -- president trump: the great president from the state of ohio, mckinley. does anybody know who the hell he is? he understood that when america protects our workers and industries, we open up a higher and better destiny for people.
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brian: explain tariffs, protective tariffs, the similarity between trump and mckinley. robert: the country has had from the beginning a tradition of politicians and political parties who believe it was important to set barriers of goods coming into the country to protect domestic producers. it goes back to alexander hamilton, who was a protectionist in that sense. but there are two things to be said about hamilton. number one, the tariffs were no more than 8.5% on goods coming in. he said that once an industry got established, there was no particular reason to have those tariffs. but once you get it, you cannot let go of it. so the federalist were protectionists, abraham lincoln was a protectionist, the whigs were protectionists. the republican party were
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protectionists in those days. it is important that you can identify great times of growth in america with protective tariffs and you can identify terrible times in america. the same can be said about times of free trade. it is not clear if they are the end-all be-all in terms of what economy you will have, but they are factors. other things come into play, as well. brian: what were the percentages on tariffs then? robert: in 1890, they were in the neighborhood of 50% on a lot of goods. the interesting thing about mckinley that the president did not mention is that as he became president, he discovered that his views were changing.
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the reason was because he understood that america was becoming an explosive producer of agricultural and industrial goods. it was clear that the market of america was not going to be sufficient to absorb all of the goods that this country going through the chance or mission was going to produce. in order for prosperity to continue, it would be necessary to sell goods overseas. you cannot sell them overseas if you have major barriers from goods coming in. because you do not have anything to trade. brian: what would you say the tariff world is like now? how much do we charge for goods coming in and how much to other countries charge for our goods? robert: the trade today is not really tariffs.
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if you look at what china is doing, it is non-tarrif barriers. that means all kinds of benefits that the governments can give today to mastic producers so that they can out produce their other countries. subsidies, any other kinds of benefits that the government this does upon domestic producers. brian: how long was the mckinley tariff being used? robert: it was not popular. prices were raised. under grover cleveland, who succeeded the time where the mckinley tariff was enacted in 1890, grover cleveland was a republican. he brought down the tariffs marginally. mckinley put them back up. in the meantime, mckinley had crafted a concept of reciprocity. it was not unlike what we might call fair trade today. he brought down the tariffs he advocated bilateral agreements with countries in which both countries would reduce their barriers to foster trade across the borders.
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that was a result of his recognizing that we needed to be able to develop markets overseas in order to ensure the continuation of prosperity. brian: go back to the time where he was in the house. when did he meet his wife and how? robert: he met her before he went into politics. he offered not to go into politics. it is a defining story about mckinley. mckinley was one of the finest humans who has made it to the white house. he was genuinely a fine guide, but he was calculating more than he let on. but he was a really nice guy.
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he met ida, her father was very well-to-do. her grandfather started a printing press and her father built on that and got into banking and mining. they had multiple servants in the house. she was smart, petite, attractive, clever. everyone wanted to woo her at the appropriate age. she picked mckinley.
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she liked his good manners and his ambition and his ability to bring people to his side. so they were married, it was a storybook thing. there were 1000 people at their wedding, according to the canton newspaper. he was gravitating towards running for congress at that time. they had a daughter within one year of their marriage, katie. a year later, ida was pregnant again. then things went awry. it almost seems like a terrible fate was he falling them. during her pregnancy, she learned her mother was dying. she took it very hard. that might have contributed to a troublesome pregnancy. it was a tough pregnancy. the baby was born, another
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daughter. the baby was not healthy and died five months later. ida was inconsolable and went into a deep depression. it was not clear that she was going to come out of it until her sister said that william decided she had to come out of it. then she developed -- she had some kind of carriage accident. she might have had a spinal injury of some type. she had a hard time walking for the rest of her life. even in the white house, she could get down the stairs, but she could not get up the stairs. he would carry her up the stairs and she always had a cane with her. then there was the development of epilepsy. she would have epileptic fits, which in those days was considered a mental disease. people often ended up in mental institutions.
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but william never wavered. even as she became a different person. from being a clever, fun person, she became sedentary and she became somewhat peevish. he just accepted all of that and never wavered in his devotion to her. it became a famous story in america, he gained a lot of political points for being as devoted as he was to this woman who sometimes struggled through life. brian: what was the difference in age?
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robert: i think the age difference was eight years. brian: how did he do with her epilepsy and illnesses in the public spotlight? robert: they try to avoid it, but you could not all the time. if you had a dinner party, he always try to sit next to her, but sometimes if they were guest he could not. but sometimes her face would become contorted and he would know what was happening and he would take a napkin and jury bit over her face and go on as if nothing had happened. when it was over, he would remove the napkin. a lot of their friends and
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acquaintances understood and did not talk about it much and sort of passed along as if it was not a big deal. brian: how much publicity was there about her? robert: there was publicity in terms of her being an invalid. she was often in a wheelchair and she did not seem self-conscious about that. but the epilepsy was caught under wraps. he did not want that to get out and it never was. the press did not go into great
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detail. no one really knew what was going on. she was on a lot of medication, and that might have affected some of her to behavior. he lost the seat in the congress in 1890 and then refused to believe that this was in any way a reflection on his views on protectionism. he wanted to be president, and he did not know where to go. you lose a seat and you lose political momentum. he thought about waiting two years and then running for a seat again. he decided maybe the governorship was the best steppingstone. he ran for governor and there was an incumbent democrat who
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was an effective politician. he had to roll over that gentlemen, which he did. he served two two year terms. brian: if he were here now, how would he fit in ideology? robert: he would probably be a moderate republican. not a rockefeller republican, but a moderate to liberal republican with strong views about economics, free enterprise. but probably somewhat more liberal views on racial matters and social issues. brian: when did you first meet teddy roosevelt? robert: i'm not quite sure when he met in the first time, but he knew him vaguely when he became president.
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many top republicans were agitating to have teddy roosevelt be appointed assistant naval secretary. he was not sure he wanted to give him that job, because he had heard that roosevelt was always agitating everybody and was a man out of control. mckinley was a control freak and a lot of ways. he did not want chaos. he told his friends he was not sure that roosevelt would behave himself in the office. but roosevelt had so many admirers and friends and they
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loved him and went to bat for him. the result was that he finally exceeded to their request and allowed roosevelt to become assistant navy secretary. the secretary was a massachusetts former governor. he was a little bit in firm, needed rest. he soon discovered he was afraid to take an afternoon off because he was not sure what roosevelt would do in his absence. issuing orders for ships to move here and there. he liked roosevelt and thought he was brilliant, but felt sometimes that the guy was out of control. mckinley liked to go for buggy rides. one of the people he would invite frequently was roosevelt, because he was amusing and energetic and entertaining. brian: you point out in your
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book, mckinley always got his way in part because he never cared about the credit. you say later that roosevelt always cared about getting credit. robert: roosevelt never shared credit with anybody. his own kids said he desperately wanted to be the bride at every wedding. he had to be the center of attention at all times. mckinley had a totally different approach. mckinley was more calculating then he appeared.
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i think there is an anecdote from a congressman in ohio. congressman butterworth was talking about mckinley. he said, if mckinley and i were walking through an orchard with only one tree, and that tree had to apples, mckinley would walk under the tree, pick one, put it in his pocket, take the other one, take a bite out of it, and turned to me and say, then, do you like apples? he realized that mckinley always got his way. he always got all of the apples. brian: when did mark hanna hook up with mckinley in ohio? robert: mark hanna fell in love with ben foraker. he was a prominent politician in ohio. he became governor. mark can, who had been a successful industrialist, very rich and politically motivated,
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he wanted to get an ohio man in the white house. the one he had in mind was john sherman, the brother of a great civil war general. sherman was getting up in years but still want to get the presidency. so he was working to get foraker into the governorship and sherman into the white house. he got foraker into the governorship. foraker became unsteady in his support of sherman. at the convention, foraker demonstrated that he was prepared to abandon sherman. that was more than mark hanna could take. he believed in loyalty. meanwhile, another man emerged in the convention. a lot of people said, maybe mckinley is our man. mckinley stood up in the convention, dramatically, and basically said he will not accept any support for president. he was there to support john sherman, and was not going to
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entertain any action that would call attention in any way, any suggestion that he would wane in his devotion to sherman. his stock went up. foraker's stock declined. mark hanna switched allegiance ease from foraker to mckinley overnight. brian: how big did mckinley win in the convention? robert: it was a coronation. he had it. he won the presidency by running against william james brian, the big question about the cost of gold and how to expand silver and expand the money supply. a lot of farmers felt they were being beleaguered by the bankers. william james brian emerges at the democratic convention in an explosion of political sentiment in favor of the free coinage. as he said, they shall not crucify us on the cross of gold.
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they shall not put the crown of thorns, and he stands up at the podium and out stretches his arms like a cross of gold. the democrats went crazy. but mckinley stayed with gold and launched the first educational presidential campaign, where he realized he was going to have to explain these issues. he won by a significant margin. brian: and he beat them again in the next election. was it bigger? robert: yes. and by that time his presidency had been so successful. mckinley ended it a big depression on his watch. so he managed to take the sting away from brian's silver
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advocacy. brian: there is a lot in here to read that we cannot get to. i will jump to another scenario. the uss monitor story. what got the monitor in trouble, what was that all about? talk through the cuba situation and puerto rico, spain, the philippines. but start with the monitor story. robert: i am not sure what you mean by the monitor story. brian: i mean the main, i am in a different world. robert: i am going to have to backtrack. spain's number one colony was cuba. it had the philippines and puerto rico and a few other islands in the pacific.
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but cuba was very significant because they got a lot of commerce, sugar and particular, from cuba. it worked for them tremendously. the cubans, like the mexicans earlier, had wanted independence. there was a ten-year insurrection that occurred two decades before mckinley was elected. it was devastating to spain and the island. now another insurrection was in progress when mckinley was elected. spain sent a general to cuba. the general was brutal in his effort to end the insurrection. so brittle that he essentially forced people, ordinary people, into camps so that they could not support the insurrection. he did not have the capacity to
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feed or clothes them. it they died in huge numbers. we were looking at this in america, 90 miles away from florida, and saying this is unconscionable. he is destabilizing the entire caribbean. if cuba descended into chaos, there was no guarantee that a major european power would come in with more force than spain and take over the island and then be even more of a threat to america. talk through the cuba situation and puerto rico, spain, the philippines. but start with the monitor story. robert: i am not sure what you mean by the monitor story. brian: i mean the main, i am in a different world. yes, thank you. was?as it where it robert: i am going to have to backtrack. spain's number one colony was cuba.
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it had the philippines and puerto rico and a few other islands in the pacific. but cuba was very significant because they got a lot of commerce, sugar and particular, from cuba. it worked for them tremendously. the cubans, like the mexicans earlier, had wanted independence. there was a ten-year insurrection that occurred two decades before mckinley was elected. it was devastating to spain and the island. now another insurrection was in progress when mckinley was elected. spain sent a general to cuba. the general was brutal in his effort to end the insurrection.
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so brittle that he essentially forced people, ordinary people, into camps so that they could not support the insurrection. he did not have the capacity to feed or clothes them. it they died in huge numbers. we were looking at this in america, 90 miles away from florida, and saying this is unconscionable. he is destabilizing the entire caribbean. if cuba descended into chaos, there was no guarantee that a major european power would come in with more force than spain and take over the island and then be even more of a threat to america.
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so mckinley's predecessor, grover cleveland, did not have much sympathy for the cubans. he was a status quo guy. he thought the best thing that would happen would be for spain to remain in cuba. that was becoming untenable. mckinley had more sympathy for the cubans. he did not want to go toward the spain, but he wanted spain to end the war and negotiate or get out. spain basically said, you cannot tell us that. mckinley would not yield. he sent the battleship maine into havana harbor, to ensure it
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was there to help americans might get caught up in the chaos. it exploded at a time where there was a lot of passion in cuba and spain. it made war inevitable. he was trying to avoid the war, that was preparing for it. brian: did they ever determine who caused the explosion? robert: the board of inquiry the navy created suggested it was an outside ship. subsequent research has raised questions about that. my own view is it is indeterminate. a lot of people say it was internal, that something
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happened within the ship and it was an accident. we do not know. brian: the late warren zimmerman talked about mckinley in this clip. >> he was one of the nicest men that ever held the presidency. he was limited a bit in his vision. he was the president of the business. he was also a man with a real heart. he had fought in the civil war and was a decorated hero. he did not like war.
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he once said, i have seen war, i have seen the bodies dialogue. i do not want to get us into a war. brian: why did you cite his book? robert: i knew him. he was very helpful to me and another project. he has this view of mckinley that is prominent among roosevelt biographers and historians of the time, which is that mckinley was a leaf in the wind. he was a passive man. all of these big events occurred. he was not really responsible for them. my book basically takes that on. warren's book is wonderful but he has a misinterpretation of
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mckinley. he is not alone in that. my book is to tell the american people that they had a president who was very effective and knew what he was doing, managed events, and he does not get credit for it. i am trying to give him a little bit more credit. brian: let's go back to the maine and the explosion and the american deaths. after that happened, what happened between this country and spain? robert: between the explosion and the declaration of war, i will not going to all of the things that happened, but war became inevitable.
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mckinley knew it. we cents a man with a fleet near hong kong to the philippines where he promptly destroyed every ship in the spanish fleet. maybe one fatality among the americans. a few were wounded. then they intercepted the spanish atlantic fleet, and destroyed that one. then he had his army land in cuba and move toward santiago and take it. which he did. that is the famous teddy roosevelt ride up the san juan ridge.
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he led his troops up there in a difficult, delicate time. heroic but foolhardy. that led to spain signing for peace. they brought in the french ambassador to washington to be the intermediary to represent them and their interest in negotiation. he was hoping that mckinley would be compassionate and he did not know what he was in for. mckinley was very tough in negotiations. he would not even enter into any talks and less it was clear that the spanish would leave cuba. he made it clear from the
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beginning. there was legislation to the effect that we had no designs on cuba, but he said, we are going to get puerto rico. we need an island in the marianas, and that would be guam. the spanish were devastated. we were basically telling them that we were going to end to them as a material power, and we -- as an imperial power, and we did. brian: how did mckinley get hawaii? robert: it's another distinction between him and cleveland. cleveland did not want to annex hawaii. but mckinley understood. mckinley was not a man of vision, did not have a huge imagination, but he had a way of seeing events clearly understanding the implications and there for what he needed to
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do. he realized the hawaiian islands were one of the most strategic spots in the world. from those islands, you can control a huge amount of territory. brian: what did we pay for it? robert: we didn't. we just annexed it. brian: who had it before us? robert: that is an interesting story. i do not think americans understand it sufficiently. the polynesian people, the indigenous people of hawaii, but because it was such an amazing spot in the middle of the north pacific, people came there, there, the whaling ships, the americans came, the sugar plantations emerged. the sugar was a high-margin business.
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you can make huge amounts of money. so americans came in to run sugar plantations and became rich. in getting rich, they felt they should have more political power. so they wrested political power from the polynesians. it had been a monarchy. queen lil wanted to preserve her monarchy. but the americans there, not us, but people who had come from america, many whom had been there for generations, they basically took over the island and said we want you to be part of america. the main thing to be recognized if we had not have taken those , islands, japan would have. japan had a significant claim on those islands, because the plantation owners had brought in lots of japanese workers for the fields.
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and they were not being treated very well. they were agitating for better treatment of their indigenous japanese working in the islands. through that, they kind of had a claim. germany wanted colonies wherever they could get them in those days because they wanted to be like england. so if we had not have the probably japan would have gotten the islands. brian: i want to show you some video that is a reenactment of when this man was executed. l this, and this is a reenactment of him being executed. what led up to this execution? robert: soldaz killed mckinley.
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he went into a receiving line. this was at the pan-american exposition, in buffalo, new york. he had his hand in a sling or a bandage. mckinley reached to shake his put ahand, whereupon he pistol to mckinley's chest and fired. that bullet did not penetrate too much, but mckinley stepped back, and the second bullet entered his abdomen and was never able to be removed. mckinley developed an infection and died. brian: i want to repeat that is a reenactment. leading up to that was a six-week train trip. and ida got very sick on that trip.
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robert: ida almost died in san francisco from what was essentially blood poisoning. she had an infection in her finger that spread in her body close to blood, and she was very close to death. as soon as she was able, they got on trains and moved across the country back to washington. they were scheduled to go to the pan-american exposition in the spring. but they couldn't, and it was rescheduled for september. and that was when the assassin was able to get there and do his dirty deed. brian: the thing you learned about mckinley that you do not expected? robert: i learned that mckinley was a man of force, more than he gets credit for. there and lay an interesting story. how did this guy with this easy
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temperament and this pleasant way about him and this incremental thing about management how did he do all of , the things he did? brian: you did the james polk biography. he died at age 53. this man died at 58. what is the big difference between those two as leaders? robert: mckinley is a very sympathetic figure. you will like him. pulp is not particularly sympathetic. consumed with his own demons. mckinley did not have any demons. brian: will you write another biography? robert: i probably will. editor,yhew and i, my are pondering this question. we have not hit the mother load yet. brian: in all the writings you
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have done, which is your favorite person to write about? robert: the most fascinating, the most traded -- crazy, was joe alstop, by far. brian: our guest has been robert w. merry. mckinley:s "president --hitect of the century come architect of the century." thank you so much for joining us. announcer: for free transcripts, visit us at q&a.org. q&a programs are also available as c-span podcasts.
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journal" live every day, with news and policy issues that impact you. tuesday morning, the week ahead on capitol hill and the white house. an expert talks about the united states' nuclear arsenal. watch "washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern each morning. >> earlier today, republican senators met with president -- atwith the white house the white house. afterward, they spoke with reporters. here is a look. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]

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