Until 1911, the customs receivership of 1905 and 1907 in the Dominican Republic worked admirably. Under the presidency of Ramón Cáceres (1906–1911), stable government and orderly finance had been the rule: constitutional reforms had been adopted, and surplus revenues had been applied to port improvements, highway and railroad construction, and education. Such a novel employment of the powers and resources of government was displeasing to many Dominican politicians, and on 19 November 1911, Cáceres fell victim to an assassin's bullet. At once the republic reverted to its seemingly normal condition of factional turmoil and civil war, and the necessities incident to the conducting and suppressing of revolutions resulted in the contraction of a large floating debt, contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1907 treaty with the United States.
Thus, the Wilson administration found in the Dominican Republic a situation as difficult as that in Haiti. Under a plan drafted by Wilson himself and accepted by the Dominican leaders, the United States supervised the 1914 elections. From the new leadership, the United States demanded a treaty providing for the appointment of a financial adviser with control over disbursements, for the extension of the authority of the general receiver to cover internal revenue as well as customs, and for the organization of a constabulary. These demands were rejected as violative of Dominican sovereignty, and in the spring of 1916 the situation went from bad to worse when the Dominican secretary of war, Desiderio Arias, launched a new revolution and seized the capital. On 15 May, U.S. marines landed in Santo Domingo and the country was soon placed under military government. This arrangement lasted six years.