In 1898, with the conclusion of what U.S. Ambassador to Britain John Hay called "a splendid little war," the American people basked--and reveled--in the resounding victory over Spain, in the wondrous glories of an emerging empire, in the triumphant applause for a vibrant New World democracy. The idea of Manifest Destiny, of American chauvinism and expansion, surely held sway. On July 7, 1898, President McKinley signed a measure that annexed the Hawaiian Islands, thereby extending American civilization and influence into the Pacific. Then, by the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898, the United States acquired even more territory. Spain agreed to relinquish Cuba, to cede Puerto Rico and an island in the Ladrones (ultimately Guam) to the United States, and to allow the Americans to occupy "the city, bay, and harbor of Manila" until some final disposition of the Philippines could be decided. And on February 6, 1899, with the treaty ratified by the Senate, the United States officially became a world power. Hence, such key words as "duty" and "destiny" seemed to characterize, to be emblematic of, American foreign policy, with the unfurling of "Old Glory" over foreign lands signifying an extension of democracy.
Even greater economic changes in American life had occurred. Since the Civil War the growth of national wealth had been astounding. The United States had become the greatest industrial power in the world, with giant trusts or corporations dominating their fields of endeavor, continually undermining competition or eliminating it altogether. By the 1890s, for example, Standard Oil Company monopolized 98 percent of all oil refining in the world; four huge business organizations--Swift, Armour, Cudahy, and Morris--controlled the lucrative meat-packing industry in the United States; American steel corporations produced as much ton-