The issue of imperialism became directly relevant to the United States in the 1890s with the discussion of the implications of a policy of overseas expansion. The degrees of imperialism in America can be addressed from two angles. The two can be defined as the traditionalist approach, which focuses on the formation of the official policy, and the revisionists, who arose largely as a critical reaction to this and focus on the effect of the this policy. The second school gained particular prominence in the 1960s when the war in Vietnam helped to stimulate retrospective interests in the first great imperialism debate.
Wilson, as the president of America, offered his frontier thesis and used it as an explanation for America’s new imperialism. He advanced a strong case for ideology as a key motivation behind American foreign policy and surveys the continuities that this approach exposes. The major elements of this ideologies are the need to go abroad to seek “national greatness,” a conception of a racial hierarchy and a conviction that revolution, despite America’s example, is a danger to international stability.
As early as the 1890s, United States had already created New World empires that focused on improving technological innovations and the rise of market institutions. Modern imperialism is attributed to accrual of elements that have different significances on the epoch of the America’s history. Perhaps its ultimate causes, with those of war, are to be found less intangible material wants than in the uneasy tensions of societies distorted by class division, with their reflection in distorted ideas in men’s minds. Capitalism is at bottom a relationship among human beings, and no human relationship, or its consequences, can have the logic of geometry. The current research will show that equating imperialism with colonialism helped imperialists to view America’s earlier westward movements as nation-building, and not as an imperial expansion. The study will concentrate on the belief that the United Sates’ quest for power and influence outweighed any consideration of the effects of the expansion.