Who Was William McKinley?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11297

Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy. What do they have in common? Assassination. Learn about McKinley the 25th president, and what he accomplished during his term. Be ready to sort fact from fiction!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

President McKinley was the 25th President of the United States, and the third president to be assassinated. He believed carnations were his good luck charm and wore one on his lapel every day. On the day of his assassination, he removed the carnation from his jacket and handed it to a young girl in the crowd and was shot seconds later!

Discover other interesting facts about President McKinley and his contributions as the 25th leader of America!

Most U.S. presidents have been married, and the wife of the president is commonly referred to as the "First Lady" of the White House.

President McKinley married a woman named Ida who was quite sickly and struggled throughout her life to maintain stability with her health. McKinley spent a lot of time making sure Ida was well cared for, and that she was always treated with dignity and respect.

There have been many First Ladies throughout history who have contributed to their husband's successes (and failures).

  • What effects do you think a wife can have on her husband and how he performs his job?

Think about McKinley and how Ida was often ill, and how he took a lot of time to help her with her illnesses.

  • Write an opinion paragraph or two about the reasons a wife could lead to the positive or negative performance of her husband. 
  • Consider McKinley's particular situation, where he was a bit distracted because of Ida's illnesses.
  • Are there other instances where a president's job was impacted by his wife? 
  • Consider some of the other presidents you have studied, or take a look at the Elephango lesson found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

William McKinley had a very productive first term, with many accomplishments, and changes to the United States. Make a list of facts regarding McKinley's presidency that you will then compare with the list in the next section.

Watch this William McKinley video in the American President's Series (below):

Image - Video

Then, watch William McKinley from History.com:

Image - Video

In the next section, you will use the list you made and compare it to an extensive list made from the above videos.

Image - Button Next