The years in the late 1800's were a critical time in America, and some foreign nations. Imperialism and anti-imperialism activists were continuously growing in number and this resulted in growing controversy. The ideas of the Imperialists consisted of conquering foreign lands for the American use. The Philippines, Hawaii, Cuba, and Puerto Rico were just some of the territories up for debate. Anti-imperialists, on the other hand, did not support conquering other lands for American use. They thought there was no need to this, and countries that supported imperialism had growing egos to keep supplying. William Graham Sumner was just one out spoken anti-imperialist activist who was against America conquering Puerto Rico and the Philippines. In an essay entitled "Professor William Sumner Spurns Empire", from the book, War and Other Essays, he states his opinion, trying to win people over to anti-imperialism. Albert Beveridge was just one in the many supporters of imperialism. He spoke of his opinions of conquering other nations in the document entitled "The March of the Flag". Although the contrasting ideas about the expanding American empire continued to be apparent in the every day American live, William Sumner, an anti-imperialist, and Albert Beveridge, an imperialist, showed the extremes of the two views in their documents in 1898.
William Graham, a Yale Professor and Social Darwinist, expressed his anti-imperialist ideas in the essay "Professor William Sumner Spurns Empire" (1898). Born on October 30, 1940 in Paterson, New Jersey, he continued to graduate from Yale in 1863, and further continued to work as a professor there from 1866 to 1869. As the US began its growth and expansion to other lands, Sumner continued to grow more and more against the idea of imperialism. His appointment to professor of political and social science in Yale gave him a bigger voice to express his views of anti-imperialism.