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- President William McKinley's life is saved by J. Benjamin Parker, a black man.
- McKinley hires Parker as his bodyguard and will shortly make him head of his secret service detail.
- This raises angry cries from Southern Democrats because Parker is black, McKinley ignores this, however.
- President McKinley invites Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver to dinner at the Executive Mansion.
- President McKinley convinces Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1902
- The act creates the Office of Civil Rights in the Justice department.
- It also requires the states must apportion majority colored districts according to the colored population of the states.
- In response to a coal miners strike, President McKinley sends Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan to broker a deal with labor and management.
- Morgan and Roosevelt convince management to grant better pay and working conditions in exchange for a pledge that the government will prevent another strike in future. This helps raise both McKinley's and Roosevelt's popularity.
- The Democrats make gains in mid-term elections causing some to lose support for McKinley's civil rights plan. However, 15 black Republicans are elected to U.S. House from the South including Washington.
- The U.S. buys a canal zone in Panama from Colombia for 20 million dollars.
- President McKinley is urged to seek a third term by Republican party leaders, and announces that he will consider it.
- In October, McKinley announces that he will not seek a third term. Ohio Senator Mark Hanna and Vice President Roosevelt become the front-runners to succeed McKinley.
- The 1904 election becomes a referendum on McKinley's presidency.
- In February, Hanna dies and the conservative Republicans are thrown into chaos.
- At the Republican convention, Roosevelt leads on the first two ballots before the conservatives unite and nominate Indiana Senator Charles W. Fairbanks. To appease the Roosevelt crowd, the convention nominates Wisconsin Governor Robert LaFollatte for vice president.
- At the Democrat convention, William Jennings Bryan wins presidential nomination for yet a third consecutive time. New York Judge Alton Parker is nominated for VP.
- In November, Senator Fairbanks defeats Bryan by a landslide and the Republicans gain overwhelming majorities in Congress.