William McKinley, Jr. (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States (1897–1901). He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s. He also led the nation to victory in 100 days in the Spanish American War.
McKinley, a native of Ohio, was of Scots-Irish and English descent, born into a large family, and served with distinction in the Civil War. He became an able lawyer, quickly joined the Ohio Republican party ranks, was married by age 28 and became a father briefly before the deaths of his two daughters. When wife Ida's health suddenly diminished in 1873, McKinley assumed a caregiving role for her, which eventually allowed her to serve as First Lady; his need for a diversion from these duties prompted him to launch his political career.
By the late 1870s, McKinley had become a national Republican leader. He served in Congress as Representative of Ohio, and also was elected Governor of Ohio. His signature issue was high tariffs on imports as a formula for prosperity, as typified by his McKinley Tariff of 1890. As the Republican candidate in the 1896 presidential election, opposing Democrat William Jennings Bryan, he promoted pluralism among ethnic groups. His campaign, designed by Mark Hanna, introduced revolutionary advertising techniques, and defeated the crusade of archrival Bryan.