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International Debt Crisis as the Turning Point of Financial Hegemony of America in the Early20th Century

Author: JiangZhenPeng
Tutor: LiFan
School: Nankai University
Course: World History
Keywords: Taft Administration International Debts Crises Dollar Diplomacy FinancialHegemony Investment Banks Financial Experts
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 33
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The axiomatic principle of Dollar Diplomacy relating with President William Howard Taft and Secretary Philander Knox charactered as substituting dollars for bullets. This policy which has sought to respond to the modern ideas of commercial intercourse means the government of American shall extend all proper support to every legitimate and beneficial American enterprise abroad. This principle includes two meanings, on the first side, it implicates diplomacy should service for the dollars conditioned on the governmental function, and on the other side, from the private enterprises views, the dollars should participate into the overseas expansion activities of American government which can earn the vast foreign market and high profits. The interaction of public power and private sectors can achieve comprehensively the economic, political and security interests in larger areas, and creating the Pax Dollar. In this sense, Dollar Diplomacy is a kind of deliberation, practice and sublimation of the public‐private interaction between Washington and Wall Street during the early20th Century which America became a world power.The application targets of Dollar Diplomacy lied mostly in the underdeveloped zones, such as the colony, semi‐colony countries or financial protectorate. These countries have been fallen into serious financial crisis and vicious debts cycle which has caused colonization interference and also provided the American dollars output in this era. The doctrine of Dollar Diplomacy implied financial stabilization which America should take some steps to control and urge these poor, weak governments into the political order through inserting dollar. And its action logic includes America takes over the financial tax source, then practice the receivership in the name of scientific management and finally shapes the financial repaid timely in order to avoid the excuse of the Europe colony interference and give rise to the establishment of the American financial power. Therefore the enforcement of Dollar Diplomacy which aimed to cope with the financial crisis in underdeveloped areas referred to a series of system designs and policies support so as to ensure the effects of the Dollar.As far as the specific progress and contemporary effects are concerned, the different types of practices of Dollar diplomacy indeed exist in Asia, Africa and Latin America. When Nicaragua case being discussed, Taft Administration exploited the domestic debt crisis and revolution riots happened in1909as an excellent opportunity to make Nicaragua as a practical example in Latin America to carry Dollar diplomacy into execution. This stands for the typical type of absolute controlling of financial stability and political order of America’s backyard, which is definitely under the flag of Monroe Doctrine. At the same time, Taft Administration takes advantage of the special historical relationship between America and Liberia and the latter’s debt crisis, and establishes an American‐banks‐leading International Bank Group at first, then the American‐leading Receivership as well. With the controlling of Liberia finance, America successfully turns Liberia into its financial vassal state in Africa where which is surrounded by European colonial powers and keeps one of the Africa’s door open to America. When it comes to China, Taft Administration takes the similar chances of financial difficulties and debt crisis during late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. With the helps from Wall Street’s bank groups, America unprecedentedly actively interpose the railroad building, Currency Reformation and Reorganizational Loan in China, in order to achieve its further target to change the game rules in Fast East, which could be explained to balance the extension of sphere of influence of different powers, thus of course to sustain the further development of Open Door.However, Taft Administration’s efforts are counteracted by the strong opposition from Japan and Russia, and negative noncooperation of Britain, French and Germany. The intrinsically limited influence of Wall Streets’ banks also makes America government’s dream, which is to control China’s finance through the American‐leading International Bank Group, fallen and American have to withdraw from the practice of Dollar diplomacy in China. Those above practical types and characters of Dollar diplomacy fully illustrates Taft and Knox’s understanding to the key principle of Dollar diplomacy‐‐‐‐appropriate supports by all means from government. This doctrine could be understood as government being obliged to do its duty in the diplomatic field with the global background.Another aspect that should be discussed about Dollar diplomacy is the systematic combinations among Department of State standing for public power, Wall Street’ investment banks standing for personal capitals, and financial experts standing for scientific knowledge. From the literal meaning of those expressions, the triangle duties are clean and clear, government providing with the political security system, bankers affording with the financing support, and those exports contributing with their scientific principles and professional knowledge on behalf of progressive era. The target of this group is obvious, as well, to assist those under‐development countries to effectively manage the loans provided by foreign bankers, and further more to build up a stable economic and political order.But one more thing about the triangle cooperation that should be pointed out is the distinction between government and personal institutions is not clear any more, because if the financial experts could continue to play their constructive roles, the cooperation platform built up by the government on behalf of public power and bankers on behalf of personal interest is necessary. If this new idea of corporatism had applied into diplomatic field, the purpose would be attempted to combine the efficient and responsible investment bankers with government‐leading public target and diplomatic interest, therefore to bring the mutual promotion and achieve double‐win. Thereby, Taft attempted to forge a new world order in non‐industrialized countries which the American government can integrate the market force and cooperation of the private bankers together into the economic expansion, and create an rational and American‐oriented political and economic order along with the efforts of money doctors. From this point, dollar diplomacy became an essential basis to build the international financial hegemony after middle and late20th Century.Furthermore, Dollar Diplomacy which rooted into the profound American diplomacy tradition named as ‘Commerce diplomacy’ and added the needs of the rise of financial capital of Wall Street in a new stage inherited and developed the Open Door and the Corollary to Monroe Doctrine, and blended these two doctrines into a comprehensive policy aiming to the underdeveloped zones in order to perform responsibility as a world power. It was an effort frankly directed to the exploration of the modern diplomacy in the early20th Century and represented a strategy viewpoint because of its realism and operability. Consequently, there are many types and many versions of the New Dollar Diplomacy after Taft Administration and Dollar Diplomacy has been a normal policy choice in20th Century American history. That is the significance of this research after100years lied in.

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