Excerpt form speech text

William McKinley, “Speech before the the Legislature in Joint Assembly at the State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia, December 14, 1898,” in Speeches and Addresses of William McKinley, from March 1, 1897, to May 30, 1900 (New York: Doubleday & McClure, 1900), 158-159.

  • Excerpt form speech text

McKinley Speech

In front of the Georgia Legislature, President William McKinley proclaimed sectionalism to be over and the United States to once again be fully reunited and reconciled. This proclamation came in the midst of the Spanish-American War, the first war since the Civil War. The Republican McKinley needed the full support of the solidly-Democrat South for the war effort. The speech declared a new American nationalism built on unity, leaving behind the divisions of the past. The key demonstration of this unity was that McKinley advocated federal stewardship of the Confederate war dead, including the burial of Confederate veterans in Arlington National Cemetery.

What did President McKinley mean when he said, “Every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate Civil War is a tribute to American valor”?
How might a former slave living in Georgia feel about President McKinley’s proclamation to the all-white Georgia Legislature that the nation was once again unified? Why?