"Next! ", Puck Magazine, 1904.
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Political cartoon showing a Standard Oil tank as an octopus with many tentacles wrapped around the steel, copper, and shipping industries, as well as a state house, the U.S. Capitol, and one tentacle reaching for the White House.

Credit: Library of Congress

This political cartoon from 1904 well demonstrates American fears about the Standard Oil Company's vast and growing power over the American government. With arms already wrapped around the steel, copper, and shipping industries; the United States Capitol; and a state capital building; it now stretches out yet another tentacle over the White House. Such fears were not new in 1904. Back in 1881, Henry Lloyd Demarest quipped in the Atlantic Monthly, that “The Standard has done everything with the Pennsylvania legislature, except refine it.”

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