When Europe was colonizing in the 1600's, there were the three G's: God, Glory, and Gold.
They are fairly self-explanatory. God, because the Europeans wanted to spread the wealth of their favorite religion, Christianity. This idea comes all the way from back in the days of Paul and the early Christians when they went out and converted many people to their religion. Glory, because, well, they wanted to be able to say:
"Hey, look! I discovered the great land of Somewhere! Look at me! I'm cool!"
They also wanted awards, their names in the history books, and so on. And finally Gold because, basically, why would you do anything that wouldn't make you any money? They were always trying to bring gold back home to their rulers and make them happy, help them fight wars against the people they didn't like, and, well, gold is just pretty.
That was then. This is now.
"Making the world safe for democracy" is a mantra that the United States throws around a lot. It used to be "making an empire of democracy", back in the days of Manifest Destiny, but today we're all into making the world safe so that democracies can flourish. This has happened in many places recently, including:
And today, we are doing the same thing with Iraq. We want to depose their insane ruler Saddam Hussein and set up a democracy there, which would also make the surrounding countries more safe for democracy. But that's not what this node is about.
America's constant drive to make everyone have a democratic society could very well be a descendent of the three G's, specifically that of God. Christianity is a distinctly evangelical and missionary religion; many Christians believe that by converting someone to Christianity they are helping them and they are "saving their soul".
In the same way, by America helping to set up democracies in countries all around the world -- where democracy may or may not be the way the people want to be governed -- is America spreading their governmental religion, that of rule by the people for the people.