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Foreign Affairs under Taft: Dollar Diplomacy

The term “Dollar Diplomacy” was applied by critics to the activist foreign policy of William Howard Taft. Late in his administration, the president described his actions as “substituting dollars for bullets.” He went to great lengths — even resorting to bullets — to help develop American business interests in foreign areas. Philander C. Knox, a wealthy corporation lawyer, served as secretary of state and authored much of the Taft policy. The Taft administration attempted to address two vital concerns:

  1. In Latin America, Taft sought to protect the approaches to the Panama Canal
  2. In the Far East, he attempted to safeguard the territorial integrity of China and promote the Open Door policy.
However, the greatest diplomatic success that Taft enjoyed was settling several nettlesome North American issues.