Continued from previous article: History of the United States 1812-1900 (Napoleon's World)
The Progressive Era 1900-1922
McKinley Era and Colonial Trappings
As he took office in 1901, William McKinley stood at the crossroads of an era. The 1890's had ended on a prosperous high note but also with the firm rebuttal against the power of corporations. The powerful military complex had been done away with following the loss of independent candidate and Alaskan War hero Peter Urban in 1900 and McKinley had earned one of the strongest popular mandates in history, as turnout in the 1900 election had been some of the highest ever.
McKinley and his charismatic young Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, set about to reinvent the American image abroad. With the humiliation of the Alaskan War fresh in the minds of most Americans, as well as the troubles of the Depression, McKinley's message that "America needs a change" resonated with those who were fed up with the Democratic majority pushing policy after policy down the throats of the public. McKinley was a relatively progressive Nationalist, and saw with concern the return to power of the Democratic South, which had been dormant and accepted the Rockefeller years mainly due to the power of the Southern bloc of the Senate.
McKinley's main goal during his tenure was to expand American influence overseas, primarily in Asia and Africa.