Ion Dragoumis belonged to a generation that had experienced in a traumatic way the military defeat of 1897 and the establishment of the International Financial Control Commission. These events brought him, as to many Greeks, disappointment and bitterness.

The young intellectual saw Greece held in a state of contempt, in sharp contrast to his belief in the potential of the nation.

A central point for him was the protection of those Greeks who still lived within the Ottoman Empire. He had participated as a leading figure in the Macedonian struggle as vice-consul in Monastir in 1902. Later he served in Constantinople, where in collaboration with Athanassios Nikolaidis Souliotis, he established the secret Organization of Constantinople. It was the period of the Young Turk revolution and Dragoumis was envisioning a multi-national Ottoman state where all nationalities would enjoy equal treatment before the law. He believed that the long contact of Greeks and Turks has brought them close and has created ties between them on the cultural and political plane. Thus the two peoples, according to Dragoumis, could rule together creating a new Eastern Empire with gradual dominance of the Greek element. All these plans came to no avail before the nationalist ambitions of the Young Turk movement, which aspired to a Turkish national state, in which no other nationality had a place.

In the 1910s, the expansion of the borders of the small Greek state, which looked to the expansion of Hellenism, became an actuality. In this conjunction of circumstances Dragoumis found himself in a relatively contradictory position. On the one hand he had to contemplate the very remarkable successes that had doubled the Greek territory and on the other hand the collapse of his vision for the Greek Eastern Empire that would succeed the declining Ottoman state. He acknowledged the positive action of the army and King Constantine, but castigated the government and the Prime Minister who was political responsibile for the military action. He accused Venizelos that his aim was to make the Greek state larger just to acquire the same landmass as Belgium. Since then he became a member of the anti-Venizelist bloc. Although he himself had pointed out early on the need for an alliance with the Entente in the First World War, he sided with the supporters of Constantine, blaming Venizelos for the ousting of the King and Allied intervention in the internal affairs of the country. For these views he was sent into exile, initially to Corsica and then to Skopelos. From the outset he was opposed to the Asia Minor Campaign.

His assassination in 1920, a few days after the signing of the Treaty of Sevres and the assassination attempt against Venizelos in Paris, shows the acuteness of the dispute concerning matters of foreign policy, that was naturally connected with the two diverging perspectives for the fate of the Greek state and Hellenism in general.