Philander Chase Knox

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Knox, Philander Chase

Knox, Philander Chase (fəlănˈdər), 1853–1921, U.S. cabinet member, b. Brownsville, Pa. He built up a fortune as a corporation lawyer in Pittsburgh. He was Attorney General (1901–4) in the cabinets of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. He was prominently identified with trust prosecutions, but failed to dissolve any significant organizations, except that of the Northern Securities Company, a railroad holding corporation. He served as U.S. Senator by appointment (1904–5) and was elected for the succeeding full term, but resigned in 1909 to become Secretary of State (1909–13) under President Taft. Continuing the policies of his predecessors, John Hay and Elihu Root, Knox sought to protect financial interests abroad, particularly in Latin America and China—a policy that became known as “dollar diplomacy.” Knox returned to the Senate in 1917 and allied himself with those who fought ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and participation in the League of Nations.


See S. F. Bemis, ed., The American Secretaries of State, Vol. IX (1929, repr. 1963).

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Knox, Philander Chase

(1853–1921) lawyer, cabinet member, U.S. senator; born in Brownsville, Pa. He practiced industrial law in Pittsburgh, Pa. (1877–99). As McKinley's attorney general (1901–04), he filed an antitrust suit that prevented J. P. Morgan's western railroad monopoly. A mid-term senator (Rep., Pa.; 1904–09), he became secretary of state (1909–13), initiating "dollar diplomacy" to protect American investments overseas. He returned to the Senate (1917–21).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Constitution, giving Congress the power to levy and collect income taxes, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Philander Chase Knox.