Damn Great Empires! offers a new perspective on the works of William James by placing his encounter with American imperialism at the center of his philosophical vision. Treating James's speeches, essays, notes, and correspondence on the United States' annexation of the Philippines as keys forunlocking the political significance of his celebrated writings on psychology, religion, and philosophy, this book reconstructs his overlooked political thought. It shows how James located a craving for authority at the heart of empire, a craving he diagnosed and unsettled through his insistence ofa modern world without ultimate foundations. Drawing together text and contexts, Alexander Livingston analyzes the persistence of political questions in James's major works, from his writings on the self in Principles of Psychology, to the method of Pragmatism, the study of faith and conversion in Varieties of Religious Experience, and themetaphysical inquiries in A Pluralistic Universe. While James is generally thought of as having been silent on questions of politics, this book places him in direct dialogue with advocates and critics of America imperialism from Theodore Roosevelt to W.E.B. Du Bois. Damn Great Empires! demonstratesthe importance of William James as a political thinker, as well as his interventions in contemporary debates in political theory, to offer a fresh and original reexamination of the political consequences of pragmatism as a philosophy of faith and action.