Dollar Diplomacy and Manifest Destiny

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Dollar Diplomacy and Manifest Destiny

The founders of the United States had an idea. Yes, they thought we should be an independent country. Yes, they thought Great Britain and the King were on the wrong side of history. And yes, they thought we could prove democracy worked. However, they had much bigger plans. There was an idea that our system of government was so good that, in fact, it was our job to spread it like a wildfire. They believed we had a right to control the Americas through the Monroe Doctrine, which was only strengthened by the Roosevelt Corollary. We were meant to expand, to showcase our ideals, and to prove that no matter the size, no matter the wealth, democracy worked. We used brute strength, moral values, and monetary influence to accomplish our goals. In William Taft’s 1912 State of the Union address, he specifically talks about the effects of Dollar Diplomacy. Taft is a perfect example of how the United States was able to bury its competition and rebels through means that aren’t traditionally looked at when talking about the ideas of our founders.
Before diving in to the speech, this idea of expansion has to be fleshed out. It’s called “Manifest Destiny,” and it is our most important foreign policy. Scholars argue about when the term was officially coined, but no one argues that the ideas were there before there was a word. Thomas Jefferson
wrote a letter to his successor, James Madison, about his vision for the American empire. He says, “we should have such an empire for liberty as she has never surveyed since the creation.”1 On it’s own, it only reveals a plan by Jefferson to create a larger country. However, he adds, “I am persuaded no constitution was ever before so well calculated as ours for extensive empire & self government.”2 Jefferson, like many presidents after him, argues that because our ideals are so perfect, we have a right…...

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