The argument for imperialism largely hinged on the idea that it was beneficial for the United States. It was seen as something that would help the US militarily and economically. It would also add to American prestige in the world. There was also talk of the “white man’s burden” and that the US should help to civilize the rest of the world, but the most important arguments were based on the impact of imperialism on the US.
The argument against imperialism had two foundations. One argued from a racist point of view. It said that bringing people like the Filipinos into the US (even as a possessionand not a state) would dilute America in racial terms. A second line of argument held that imperialism was contrary to American values. It argued that the US was based on freedom and should not be in the business of taking away the freedom of others.