Political Cartoons and Standard Oil (gallery)

  • "The King of Combinations" published in Puck magazine, 1901
    "The King of Combinations" published in Puck magazine, 1901
  • "A Horrible Monster" published in The Daily Graphic, 1880
    "A Horrible Monster" published in The Daily Graphic, 1880
  • "The Infant Hercules and the Standard Oil Serpents," Puck magazine, 1906. Theodore Roosevelt as an infant Hercules fighting large snakes with the heads of John D. Rockefeller (r), head of the Standard Oil Trust, and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich (l), a Roosevelt rival who resisted Roosevelt's push for railroad rate regulation.
    "The Infant Hercules and the Standard Oil Serpents," Puck magazine, 1906. Theodore Roosevelt as an infant Hercules fighting large snakes with the heads of John D. Rockefeller (r), head of the Standard Oil Trust, and Senator Nelson W. Aldrich (l), a Roosevelt rival who resisted Roosevelt's push for railroad rate regulation.
  • "Next!" Puck magazine, 1904. A Standard Oil tank wraps its tentacles around the Capitol, State House, and major industries, while reaching for the White House.
    "Next!" Puck magazine, 1904. A Standard Oil tank wraps its tentacles around the Capitol, State House, and major industries, while reaching for the White House.

In the late nineteenth century and during the first decade of the twentieth century, critics attacked Standard Oil as an unlawful monopoly.  In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt’s administration filed suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act, contending that Standard Oil was conspiring to restrain trade. After several years of litigation, the Supreme Court ordered the company to break up in 1911.

How do these political cartoons represent the oil trust, and its influence over American politics and the economy?