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McKinley Colonies

McKinley Colonies Political Button Museum
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McKinley Colonies button back Political Button Museum
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Black and white image of a man's head and shoulders with red text along the top and bottom edge on white background

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Buttons made by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. Newark, N. J. U.S.A. Pat April 14, 1896, July 21, 1896

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This button dates from President William McKinley's campaign for a second term in office in 1900. The colonies in question were those won in the Spanish American War, McKinley's greatest achievement while in office and the basis of his reelection campaign. The war began in 1898 with the explosion of the USS Maine, which was believed to have been orchestrated by Spain in retaliation for American attempts at helping Cuba (a Spanish colony) gain independence. Lasting for four months, the war was an American victory and Spain surrendered Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

McKinley, who believed that modern nations could only be strong if they had numerous colonies, ran for office in 1900 with the platform that by winning the war he had earned new colonies which would bring prosperity to the country. McKinley easily won the election, but was assassinated by an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz in 1901 while on a cross-country tour.

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