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As a new player in Asia, America would now confront the ambitions of the Japanese Empire, a confrontation that would not be played out until World War II.By annexing the Philippines, the United States took up the so-called "White Man's Burden," as urged by poet Rudyard Kipling.After a two-decade effort to build a modern "steel navy," the United States was a great naval power.
The ascendancy of Ohio and the Midwest in national politics demonstrated that the United States was no longer a nation oriented to the Atlantic seaboard.
It stretched, as Katharine Lee Bates's 1895 anthem, put it, "from sea to shining sea." In this period of booming growth, the nation experienced a dramatic presidential election.
The first transcontinental rail link had been completed in 1869.
Three decades later, in 1900, the nation had 193,000 miles of track, with five railroad systems spanning the continent.
It would be our purpose, said Mc Kinley, "to take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them." They were "our little brown brothers," Governor General William Howard Taft later said, displaying something of the racial attitudes of the time.
This sense of the superiority of the white race and thus the inferiority of the colored races helps explain the rise of Jim Crow segregation laws within the United States during this period.With the founding of the Ford Motor Company in 1903, the age of the automobile was underway. Republican William Mc Kinley of Ohio was elected president in 1896 and re-elected in 1900.He had been preceded by Democrat Grover Cleveland and would be followed -- and overshadowed -- by Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt, who was vice-president when Mc Kinley was assassinated in 1901, but later elected president in his own right.Homesteading and the introduction of barbed wire in 1874 had brought an end to the open range.The Mc Cormick reaper had made large-scale farming profitable and, in 1900, the U. was by far the world's largest agricultural producer.The 1896 campaign was perhaps the most fiercely fought contest since Andrew Jackson's time.Republican Mc Kinley represented Eastern conservative mercantile and industrial interests; Democrat William Jennings Bryan stood for Western radical agrarian interests.The world's first oil well had been drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust dominated the world's petroleum markets and controlled more than 90 percent of the nation's refinery capacity.By 1900, major oil fields were being tapped in Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. At the turn of the century, the strength of a nation's industrial capacity was measured by the number of tons of steel it produced.They celebrated the nation's own technological achievements, from infant incubators to the electric lights (frequently featured in titles from the Edison company).But they also put on display the exotic architecture and peoples of other nations and the American West.