The period covered by the administration of William McKinley was, undoubtedly, more crowded with events calculated to try and to touch the very heart of the nation than was any period since the Civil War. The United States has passed through crisis after crisis in quick succession and has emerged not only in safety but with untarnished honor, increased glory, and the great consciousness of solidarity and unification. This is attested by the wise management of affairs in connection with the Nicaragua Canal; the increase of the navy, the formation of an army and the imposition of taxes which in no way impeded the march of industry; the settlement of railway claims; and the successful starting in life of Cuba and the administration of far colonial affairs. Aside from the wise counsels of the Executive of the nation, the calmness and cool action of the people, amid distracting and perplexing events, have contributed to the honor of the nation in no slight degree. All of this, and more, was abundantly testified to, at the time of the deplorable circumstances attending William McKinley’s death by the unexampled outburst throughout the world of sympathy with the bereaved nation and of admiration for the man.
In obedience to the will of the people, and in their presence, by the authority vested in me by this oath, I assume the arduous and responsible duties of President of the United States, relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God. Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.
The responsibilities of the high trust to which I have been called—always of grave importance—are augmented by the prevailing business conditions, entailing idleness upon willing labor and loss to useful enterprises. The country is suffering from industrial disturbances from which speedy relief must be had. Our financial system needs some revision; our money is all good now, but its value must not further be threatened. It should all be put on an enduring basis, not subject to easy attack, nor its stability to doubt or dispute. Our currency should continue under the supervision of the Government. The several forms of our paper money offer, in my judgment, a constant embarrassment to the Government and a safe balance in the Treasury. Therefore I believe it necessary to devise a system which, without diminishing the circulating medium or offering a premium for its contraction, will present a remedy for those arrangements which, temporary in their nature, might well in the years of our prosperity have been displaced by wiser provisions. With adequate revenue secured, but not until then, we can