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William Taft is appointed civil governor of the Philippines, with full responsibility for reorganizing the national and municipal government, the judiciary and police, and the taxation system.

Princeton University trustees unanimously elect Woodrow Wilson president of the university on June 9th. He is determined to build the university into an institution that will produce leaders and statesmen.

Robert Sterling Clark – still in the Army – returns to Washington.

On September 6th, President McKinley makes a final public appearance in the Temple of Music of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He is notorious for discounting his own personal safety at public appearances and has repeatedly resisted attempts by his personal secretary, George Cortelyou, to cancel the event. Cortelyou tightens security as best he can. But anarchist Leon Czolgosz (after hearing notorious anarchist leader Emma Goldman speak about action against the government 2 weeks before) shoots McKinley. Roosevelt hastens to Buffalo. Assured that the president is recovering and out of danger, he joins his family at a camp in the Adirondack Mountains.

Secretary of State John Hay has already experienced the assassinations of 2 presidents, Abraham Lincoln (he was his personal secretary) and James Garfield (a close friend and confidant). He is afraid the president will die, although everyone else is optimistic. McKinley dies 8 days later on September 14th.

Theodore Roosevelt (R) becomes the American President.

With a few companions, Roosevelt climbs up Mount Tahawus. A guide overtakes him with the news that the president is dying. Roosevelt’s company undertakes a 10-mile hike to the nearest road, then a wild night ride by horse and buggy over 40 miles of roads dangerously washed by heavy rains a few days earlier. They reach the railroad station at 5:30 a.m., where a special train is waiting to rush Roosevelt to Buffalo. He takes the oath of office after McKinley’s death in the home of a friend on the afternoon of September 14th.

At the end of the year, President Roosevelt requests that Taft replace Elihu Root as secretary of war. Later during an illness of John Hay, Taft is acting secretary of state. After Hay’s death, Root will return to the Cabinet as secretary of state. Roosevelt, Taft, and Root work so well together that they will come to be known as the Three Musketeers.

Jacob Schiff was a major figure in the protracted but ultimately inconclusive struggle for control of the Northern Pacific Railroad, backing Harriman against James J. Hill and his banker, J.P. Morgan. The struggle brought about the stock market panic of 1901, and the warring factions agreed to a compromise, banding together to form the Northern Securities Company.