The issue of democracy in America in general is one which has been debated on and about for ages, and the matter of whether or not capitalism has played a larger role in the defining of American foreign policy when compared to democracy is one which is incredibly significant and relevant overall.There are many different factors which need to be taken into consideration in order to be able to properly determine the answer to this posing, and this particularly in regards to the reasons that America became involved in foreign affairs in the late 19th century, as well as the motivations for their entering both world wars and the progress of the Cold War, for instance. All of these issues have great influence on the matter of whether democracy or capitalism should be considered as being more important in the defining of American foreign policy, and thus they all must be thoroughly addressed and discussed. The aim of this paper is to consider all aspects of both democracy and capitalism which are two tremendously dynamic and substantial subjects on their own, and to compare their similarities and differences in order to be able to properly determine which has played more of a role in creating and defining American foreign policy since the 1800s. We will be able to do this by discussing the previously mentioned issues as well as any and all other key and related factors relevant to this case. This is what will be dissertated in the following.
The term democracy is one which is typically used in the context of a political state however the principles are also applicable to numerous other groups and organizations. There are several different forms of democracy, with the most major being: representative, liberal, direct, socialist, anarchist, tribal, and consensus. The representative, liberal, and direct forms of democracy are the most well-known, and they are considered as follows: representative democracy is the form of democracy which involves the selection of government officials by the people, and one characteristic of representative democracy in particular is that of the fact that while the representatives are elected by the people, to act in their interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so; liberal democracy is a form representative democracy with free and fair elections along with the protection of minorities, the rule of law, a separation of powers, and protection of liberties; and the direct form of democracy is one which is largely referred to as being "a political system where the citizens vote on all major policy decisions. It is called direct because, in the classical forms, there are no intermediaries or representatives. All direct democracies to date have been relatively small communities, usually city-states. However, some see the extensive use of referenda, as in California, as akin to direct democracy in a very large polity with more than 20 million potential voters" (Wikipedia, 2007).
Capitalism, on the other hand, is a term which generally refers to an economic system in which "the means of production are mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which distribution, production and pricing of goods and services are determined in a largely free market. It is usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as 'legal persons' or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money" (Boyer, Clark & Kett, 2002). The first actual theories of capitalism came about in the context of the Industrial Revolution, and this followed the social theorist Karl Marx in particular, and these theories were generally used to criticize the concept. The