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McKinley’s victory was huge, not in popular vote but in having inspired Republican majorities at all levels of government, majorities that were to last for decades. This was as important as any of his actions as president—and he was an extraordinary president. He dominated Congress, was enormously popular, and despite the conventional wisdom that presents him as a dull conservative, he set the scene for the vibrancy of his successor, the dynamic Theodore Roosevelt, who had been his vice president. When Theodore Roosevelt said he intended his presidency to be a continuation of McKinley’s, it appears as though he meant it, and was not engaging merely in public relations.
KeywordsConventional Wisdom Vice President Party System Popular Vote Modern President
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