At the turn of the century, America and the views of its people were changing. Many different ideas were surfacing about issues that affected the country as a whole. The Republican Party, led by William McKinley, were concentrating on the expansion of the United States and looking to excel in power and commerce. The Democratic Party at this time was led by William Jennings Bryan, who was absorbed in a sponge of morality and was concerned with the rights of man. The nation's self-interest was divided into different ideas between the two parties. At this time imperialism and anti-imperialism were the dominant topics regarding America's destiny.
One argument backing U.S. imperialism is by naval strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan. At this time, Great Britain had the strongest sea power. Mahan states that America's navy must be as strong to compete in trade and war. Expansion would aid exports, and more naval power would grant the ability to overcome obstacles such as a dispute between the U.S. and another country. Most importantly, Mahan states that the world is in struggle and the U.S. must protect itself to survive.
Another argument in favor of U.S. imperialism was that of Albert J. Beveridge. Beveridge argued that it was the duty of Americans to govern others, he felt that if Britain and Germany could, then why not America as well. In response to the opposition that stated that people should not govern those who do not wish to be governed Beveridge responded that, " applies only to those who are capable of self government," (Beveridge 1898), and as he and many others saw it, foreign lands were not capable of self- government. Additionally, Beveridge argued that there was too much in America. He stated that there are too many employees and not enough jobs, too much capital and not enough investment; he felt that all the U.S. needed was more circulation. Invading and taking over foreign lands was just the way to do it.