When the USA first was founded on the fourth of July in 1776, it was a country with prospect for greatness in the future. There were huge swaths of land, free for the taking by the newly founded Unites States of America.
The United States in the 19th century was an open country, with promises of milk and honey in the streets and free land for everyone who made the journey. It was the American dream.
In the Cold War, America supported dictators in third world countries, in the name of democracy and capitalism and to follow the Truman doctrine to stop the spread of communism in any way possible.
They supported Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam, a ruthless dictator, who only had his own interests in mind. Ronald Regan won the election of 1980.