In his 1898 essay "The Distant Possessions," the Scottish-born billionaire and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie sets out a case against American imperialism. The essay was written in the wake of the United States taking over the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. Public opinion was generally supportive of the United States establishing its own empire, seeing it as a way of bringing the benefits of American democracy and prosperity to the far-flung corners of the globe.
But there were those, like Carnegie, who strongly disapproved of this aggressive development in US foreign policy. For one thing, Carnegie argues, imperialism isn't necessary for trade. American goods are already exported to every corner of the globe without the necessity of having colonies. And the enormous prosperity that such trade has brought to the United States is jeopardized by the colonial project, which will cost considerable sums of money.
Secondly, Carnegie argues that imperialism violates American principles and values. The Filipinos' struggle against their Spanish colonial overlords was similar to that of the Americans against the British during the Revolutionary War. Yet the Filipinos' perfectly natural aspiration for independent nationhood has been thwarted by the United States's takeover of their country.
Finally, Carnegie contends that imperialism undermines American national security. The United States, by virtue of its geographical position, is relatively safe from external threats. Yet that natural strategic advantage is lost if the United States has to defend colonies all over the world. Imperialism requires the projection of force right across the globe, which can only be done by a vastly expanded army and navy. As well as leaving the United States overstretched in its commitments, this whole project will cost considerable sums of money that could be put to much better use at home.