President McKinley: Architect of the American Century
Friday, April 1 | 4:30pm
Robert Merry Author, Historian and Political Commentator
Through nearly 45 years in Washington, Robert Merry has distinguished himself as a political and governmental reporter for national newspapers, as well as a newsroom manager, publishing CEO, political commentator, and an author of books on American history and foreign policy. Merry’s new book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century, resurrects the presidential reputation of William McKinley, who has languished for decades in the shadow of his brilliant and flamboyant successor, Theodore Roosevelt. But much of TR’s legacy, writes Merry in this meticulously researched history, was built upon a foundation established by McKinley, a man of genial demeanor and modest sensibilities who nonetheless dominated the politics of his time through a kind of stealthy and indirect leadership. Indeed, even McKinley’s contemporaries seldom understood just how thoroughly they were being manipulated by this sly, determined, resourceful politician who left a powerful legacy of his own — acquisition, through war and diplomacy, of imperial territories in the Caribbean and Asia; a complete embrace of the gold standard; the emergence of “reciprocity’’ in trade policy, a forerunner to today’s “fair trade;” the Open Door in China; and the forging of the U.S.-British “special relationship.” This obscure and often elusive president comes to life in the pages of this new book.
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