Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Additional Departmental Affiliation

Political Science

Document Type



The assassination of William McKinley in 1901 was a national tragedy. However, McKinley’s death was neither a spontaneous coincidence nor the first of its kind. The President’s assassination was one of several international anarchist attacks that resulted in the death of a world leader. Facing widespread fear regarding anarchy, the 57th Congress responded with harsh legislation that targeted some of America’s most vulnerable groups: immigrants. Faced with a rapidly changing new world, at the beginning of the 20th century, Congress began passing harsh legislation they felt necessary to protect the American public. This new legislation, unfortunately, also shook America’s core values. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the federal government prioritized supposed safety concerns over the rights of immigrant populations by telling the public it was necessary to prevent an anarchist uprising. Americans became complicit with this strategy, and have continued this complicity even through present times. Examining the fallout from McKinley’s assassination provides insight into how, when, and why the federal government began using threat construction and wartime fear to justify human rights violations.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Patricia Minter


Immigration Law