Lesson Plans Mckinley, Ida


Mckinley, Ida
The Front Porch Campaign
Unlike his opponent William Jennings Bryan, who traveled by railroad and spoke to crowds across the nation, William McKinley stayed at home during his campaign for the presidency.  The practice of a “front porch campaign” was the norm at that time.  Instead of candidates going out to the people, loyalists and the curious traveled across country to listen to speeches given by candidates from their homes.  After McKinley’s speech his wife, Ida often served the crowd lemonade.  The crowds, however, were less than generous with the McKinley family and tore apart their fence, piece by piece, keeping the fence sections as souvenirs.   
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Mckinley, Ida
Needles, Hooks, and Bobbins
Each first lady had a cause for which she worked.  Ida McKinley was restricted in the amount of work she could do, but still found a cause. Though suffering from poor health, Ida McKinley crocheted hundreds of slippers for friends, relatives, and Civil War veterans.  For Union veterans she crocheted blue slippers; for Confederate soldiers she crocheted gray slippers.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Education, Arts, Letters and Ideas

Mckinley, Ida
Banking Mysteries
Following graduation from Brooke Hall Female Seminary and an eight month tour of Europe, Ida McKinley was hired by her father as a clerk at Stark County Bank.  Her skill in managing money quickly led to a promotion to cashier.  Some speculate that in her father’s absence she even served at acting bank manager.  Ida met William McKinley while working in the bank. 
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Mckinley, Ida
Temperance and Other Grassroots Movements
Ida McKinley was an intelligent observer of current issues and close adviser to her husband.  These two characteristics of the First Lady are credited for his political movement toward support of the temperance movement in 1874.  This position is partially the reason for his successful political career.  Thus when he became president and reversed the Hayes policy of not serving alcohol in the White House, it is not surprising that activists in the temperance movement were angered. These two divergent views of prohibition exemplify the waxing and waning of grassroots movements.
Skill: Elementary School     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Mckinley, Ida
Spanish American War
Ida McKinley’s influence on her husband President McKinley was commonly known.  What is not commonly known is that her influence went to the point of swaying the outcome of the Spanish American War by convincing her husband to put General Leonard Wood in charge of military forces in Cuba. General Wood was in command of the 1st Volunteer Cavalry in Cuba, (his second in command was Theodore Roosevelt).  At the end of the war General Wood remained in Cuba as Military Governor.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Law, Politics and Govt

Mckinley, Ida
State Dinners and Funerals: Protocol and Diplomacy
Prior to the McKinley Administration, First Ladies and their spouses sat at separate tables.  At his first state dinner this practice greatly troubled and distracted the president.  Ida McKinley had a medical condition that caused seizures.  By sitting next to her, he could sense when a seizure was going to occur and either placed a handkerchief over her head or, if it was a particularly serious seizure, he had her taken to the private residence via the elevator.  President McKinley decided to break protocol and at all future dinners the President and First Lady sat next to each other.  Another White House protocol broken by Ida McKinley was that she did not stand and offer her hand to guests.  Instead she sat holding a bouquet of flowers.  This too may have been due to illness.
Skill: Middle School     Category: First Ladies' Lives

Mckinley, Ida
Genealogy: Coming to America
Ida McKinley’s great grandparents immigrated from England, Scotland and Germany prior to the opening of Ellis Island as an immigration depot.  Ida McKinley’s great grandparents may have been processed through Castle Garden which opened as the first official immigrant processing center on August 1, 1855.  Prior to Castle Garden, the Port of New York received immigrants, beginning in 1820.  The immigrants received at Castle Garden and the Port of New York were only those going to New York.  Prior to 1890, individual states regulated immigration; the establishment of Ellis Island made immigration processing federally regulated.
Skill: Middle School     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Mckinley, Ida
Spinning History: The Role of Public Relations in Understanding the Presidency
After the births and deaths of her daughters, Ida McKinley’s health deteriorated greatly.  Thus, in the 1898 Presidential campaign she had a limited public role.  Her absence led to rumors that became a liability to the McKinley candidacy; it also became the impetus for the first presidential campaign public relations material. To squash rumor, McKinley’s campaign managers published a romantic biography of her, painting the future president as a devoted husband worthy of the presidency. 
Skill: High School/College     Category: Science, Medicine, Inventions and tech

Mckinley, Ida
Immigration, Industrialization, and Urbanization
During Ida McKinley’s life, the United States dramatically changed due to large waves of immigrants, a significance increase in industrialization, and a movement of the population from rural areas to urban areas.  Each of these changes touched the life of Ida McKinley at least to a small degree.  Her great grandparents were immigrants from Germany, England and Scotland; she witnessed her small village transform into a wealthy town; and after her tour of Europe she taught Sunday school for a short time.  At the turn of the century, Sunday schools served as primary schools for children who worked in industry throughout the week.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Economics, Discovery and Daily Life

Mckinley, Ida
On September 6, 1901, President McKinley was due at 3:00 PM to stand in a reception line at the Temple of Music within the Pan-American Expo of 1901.    His secretary, George Cortelyou tried to persuade the President to cancel the engagement because, he argued, the President would only be able to shake a fraction of the hands.  President McKinley responded, “Well, they’ll know I tried.”  Five minutes into the process, Cortelyou began shutting down the event and ordered the doors locked.  In the last group of people to shake hands with the President was an anarchist by the name of Leon Czolgosz who shot the President instead of shaking his hand.   Seven days later the President died with his wife, Ida McKinley by his side.
Skill: High School/College     Category: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

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