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The Potential of Flight: U.S. Aviation and Pan-Americanism During the Early Twentieth Century

  • Alex Bryne


This article examines the formative years of flight in the United States and argues that Pan-Americanism served as a guiding ideology in the development of the nation's early aeronautic endeavors. With the advent of the airplane at the turn of the twentieth century, U.S. Pan-Americanists believed that aviation would provide a solution to the sociological and practical problems that hindered the development of international unity among the American republics. By physically transporting individuals, products, and cultural media rapidly across the hemisphere via the sky, aircraft would unite the peoples of Latin America and the United States and promote inter-American cooperation. To see the Pan-American potential of aircraft fulfilled, Pan-Americanists cooperated with private U.S. aviation organizations to expound the value of flight and to generate interest in aviation across the Western Hemisphere. Although a variety of Pan-American initiatives were successfully undertaken during the 1910s, the outbreak of the First World War hindered the movement and ultimately led to the transformation of aviation into a tool of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. By examining the origins of U.S. aviation through the lens of Pan-Americanism, this article seeks to reevaluate the pervading imperial narrative of the history of U.S. aviation in the Western Hemisphere.


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1 The life and work of Alberto Santos-Dumont is recounted in Hoffman, Paul, Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight (New York: Hyperion Press, 2003); Wykeham, Peter, Santos-Dumont: A Study in Obsession (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962); Santos-Dumont, Alberto, My Airships: The Story of My Life (London: Grant Richards, 1904).

2 Van Vleck, Jenifer, Empire of Air: Aviation and the American Ascendancy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 311; Salvatore, Ricardo, “Imperial Mechanics: South America's Integration in the Machine Age,” American Quarterly, 58:3 (Sept. 2006): 663–64. Narratives of imperialism and conflict are additionally highlighted in Courtwright, David T., Sky As Frontier: Adventure, Aviation, and Empire (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2005); Cushman, Gregory, “The Struggle over Airways in the Americas, 1919–1945: Atmospheric Science, Aviation Technology, and Neocolonialism,” in Intimate Universality: Local and Global Themes in the History of Weather and Climate, eds. Fleming, James, Janković, Vladimir, and Coen, Deborah (Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications, 2006), 177–78; Benson, Erik, “Flying Down to Rio: American Commercial Aviation, the Good Neighbor Policy, and World War Two, 1939–1945,” Essays in Economic and Business History 19 (2001): 6173; Bilstein, Roger, Flight Patterns: Trends of Aeronautical Development in the United States, 1918–1929 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), 167; Randall, Stephen, “Colombia, the United States, and Interamerican Aviation Rivalry, 1927–1940,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 14:3 (Aug. 1972): 297324; Newton, Wesley, “International Aviation Rivalry in Latin America, 1919–1927,” Journal of Inter-American Studies 7:3 (July 1965): 345; Freudenthal, Elsbeth Estelle, The Aviation Business: From Kitty Hawk to Wall Street (New York: Vanguard Press, 1940), 163–64.

3 Joseph, Gilbert, “Close Encounters: Toward a New Cultural History of U.S.–Latin American Relations,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.–Latin American Relations, eds. Joseph, Gilbert, Legrand, Catherine, and Salvatore, Ricardo (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 46.

4 Pan-Americanism is the idea that the United States and the nations of Latin America share a special geographic, cultural, and political relationship that sets them apart from the rest of the world and unites them. For more detailed analyses of the term and its development as a movement, see Smith, Richard Cándida, Improvised Continent: Pan-Americanism and Cultural Exchange (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017); Smith, Joseph, “The First Conference of American States (1889–1890) and the Early Pan American Policy of the United States,” in Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs, ed. Sheinin, David (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000); Fagg, John Edwin, Pan Americanism: Its Meaning and History (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing, 1982); Whitaker, Arthur, The Western Hemisphere Idea: Its Rise and Decline (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1954).

5 Gilderhus, Mark, “An Emerging Synthesis? U.S.–Latin American Relations since the Second World War,” Diplomatic History 16:3 (Summer 1992): 431.

6 On the imperial qualities of U.S.-led Pan-Americanism, see David Sheinin, “Rethinking Pan Americanism: An Introduction,” in Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs, 1–2; Coates, Benjamin A., “The Pan-American Lobbyist: William Eleroy Curtis and U.S. Empire, 1884–1899,” Diplomatic History 38:1 (Jan. 2014): 33; Gilderhus, Mark, Pan-American Visions: Woodrow Wilson in the Western Hemisphere, 1913–1921 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986), ix–xi.

7 Smith, Improvised Continent, 5–6. Historiographical reviews that touch on these issues include Scarfi, Juan Pablo and Tillman, Andrew R., “Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations: An Introduction,” in Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations: Revisiting the Western Hemisphere Idea, eds. Scarfi, Juan Pablo and Tillman, Andrew (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 23; Friedman, Max Paul and Long, Tom, “Soft Balancing in the Americas: Latin American Opposition to U.S. Intervention, 1898–1936,” International Security 40:1 (Summer 2015): 122; Friedman, Max Paul, “Retiring the Puppets, Bringing Latin America Back In: Recent Scholarship on United States-Latin American Relations,” Diplomatic History 27:5 (Nov. 2003): 624.

8 Rutkow, Eric, The Longest Line on the Map: The United States, the Pan-American Highway, and the Quest to Link the Americas (New York: Scribner, 2019).

9 On the popularity of early aviation in the United States, see Roseau, Nathalie, “Reach for the Skies—Aviation and Urban Visions: Paris and New York, c. 1910,” Journal of Transport History 30:2 (Dec. 2012): 121; Van Riper, A. Bowdoin, Imagining Flight: Aviation and Popular Culture (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004), 23; Bednarek, Janet R. Daly and Bednarek, Michael H., Dreams of Flight: General Aviation in the United States (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2003), 3; Corn, Joseph, The Winged Gospel: America's Romance with Aviation (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1983), 4.

10 Carlson, W. Bernard, “Technology and America as a Consumer Society, 18701900,” in The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the Origins of Modern America, ed. Calhoun, Charles (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd ed., 2007), 45; Segal, Howard, Technological Utopianism in American Culture (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2005), 6; Nye, David E., American Technological Sublime (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994); Breisach, Ernst A., American Progressive History: An Experiment in Modernization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 100.

11 Tyrrell, Ian, “Connections, Networks, and the Beginnings of a Global America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era,” in A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, eds. Nichols, Christopher McKnight and Unger, Nancy C. (Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2017), 381–82; McGerr, Michael, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870–1920 (New York: Free Press, 2003), 226–27.

12 Schoultz, Lars, National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1987).

13 On the perceived racial inferiority of Latin Americans, see Schoultz, Lars, Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Pike, Fredrick, The United States and Latin America: Myths and Stereotypes of Civilization and Nature (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992); Hunt, Michael, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987), 4862.

14 Healy, David, Drive to Hegemony: The United States in the Caribbean 1898–1917 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 135–39; Schoultz, Beneath the United States, 192; Salvatore, Ricardo, Disciplinary Conquest: U.S. Scholars in South America, 1900–1945 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), 2531.

15 Barrett's career is recounted in Prisco, Salvatore III, John Barrett, Progressive Era Diplomat: A Study of a Commercial Expansionist, 1887–1920 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1973).

16 The term “bird-man” was generally used as a term of endearment rather than ridicule. For examples of its usage, see “The Progress in Aviation,” River Press (Fort Benton, MT), Dec. 28, 1910; Technology Aero Club, “The Band Plays It—In Aeroland (Skyscraping): Aeroplane Music Written Especially for the Harvard-Boston Aero Meet” (official souvenir), Harvard-Boston Aero Meet, Quincy, MA, Aug 26–Sept. 4, 1911, Bella C. Landauer Collection of Aeronautical Sheet Music, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington DC.

17 Rosenberg, Emily, Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890–1945 (New York: Hill & Wang, 1982), 103–4. See also Zieger, Robert, America's Great War: World War I and the American Experience (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), 64; Freudenthal, The Aviation Business, 17–18. Infamously, the Wright Brothers encountered difficulties when they tried to convince the U.S. government to buy their machines during the early 1900s, forcing them to turn toward European nations. See McCullough, David, The Wright Brothers (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 122; Pattillo, Donald M., Pushing to Envelope: The American Aircraft Industry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), 57; Gollin, Alfred, “The Wright Brothers and the British Authorities, 1902–1909,” English Historical Review 95:375 (Apr. 1980): 293.

18 Krige, John, “Technological Leadership and American Soft Power,” in Soft Power and US Foreign Policy: Theoretical, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Palmer, Inderjeet and Cox, Michael (London: Routledge, 2010), 122; Lafeber, Walter, “Technology and U.S. Foreign Relations,” Diplomatic History 24:1 (Jan. 2000): 79; Skolnikoff, Eugene, Science, Technology, and American Foreign Policy (Clinton, MA: MIT Press, 1967), 4.

19 Winseck, Dwayne R. and Pike, Robert M., Communication and Empire: Media, Markets, and Globalization, 1860–1930 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), 23.

20 On the development of aviation in Latin America, see Hagedorn, Dan, Conquistadors of the Sky: A History of Aviation in Latin America (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2008).

21 Newton, “International Aviation Rivalry in Latin America,” 345–56.

22 Fernández-Armesto, Felipe, The Americas: The History of a Hemisphere (London: Phoenix, 2004), 14.

23 Gaulin, Kenneth, “The Flying Boats: Pioneering Days to South America,” Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 15 (Winter–Spring 1990): 80.

24 Vleck, Empire of Air, 26; Robie, William, For the Greatest Achievement: A History of the Aero Club of America and the National Aeronautic Association (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993), 3.

25 Pisano, Dominick A., “The Greatest Show Not on Earth: The Confrontation between Utility and Entertainment in Aviation,” in The Airplane in American Culture, ed. Pisano, Dominick A. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003), 47. An article published in Vogue in 1909 perfectly encapsulated the upper-class nature of aviation, proclaiming that it was “now the dearest wish of the smart world” to experience flight. See Elizabeth Gregory, “The Soaring Ambition of Society,” Vogue, Jul. 15, 1910, 9–10.

26 Johnson, Alan, Wingless Eagle: U.S. Army Aviation through World War I (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 22.

27 “New Aero Clubs,” Aeronautics, June 1908, 56; “Aero Club Suggested,” Yale Daily News, Mar. 10, 1910, 1.

28 Charles Bishop to Orville Wright, Mar. 22, 1909, box 8, Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

29 Boyne, Walter J., The Influence of Air Power upon History (Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Books, 2005), 13.

30 Augustus Post, “The Evolution of a Flying Man,” Century Magazine, Nov. 1910, 24.

31 Aeronautics, Sep. 1911, 88.

32 “The Trade,” Aircraft, Dec. 1911, 350. On the use of aircraft during the Italo-Turkish War, see Stephenson, Charles, A Box of Sand: The Italo-Ottoman War, 1911–1912 (Ticehurst, UK: Tattered Flag Press, 2014), 104–19; Paris, Michael, Winged Warfare: The Literature and Theory of Aerial Warfare in Britain, 1859–1917 (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1992), 106–15.

33 “Aero Club of America Bulletin,” No. 37, Sep. 22, 1915, DA-198000-11, Technical Reference Files, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC; “Aerial Transportation in South and Central America and Canada,” Aerial Age Weekly, Mar. 22, 1915, 6.

34 “Map Showing Railroads in Operation in South America,” Flying, Dec. 1913, 22.

35 Collins, Francis, The Air Man: His Conquests in Peace and War (New York: Century Co., 1917), 111; Willard Hart Smith, “The Wings of To-Morrow,” The Forum, Feb. 1919, 204; Willard Hart Smith, “Putting the Aeroplane to Work,” The Forum, Mar. 1919, 320.

36 Edgar Beecher Bronson, “Aviation a Time Saver—Some New Fields it Is Certain to Conquer,” Flying, Aug. 1914, 202.

37 Bartolomé Captaneo, “La Travesía de los Andes en Aeroplano,” Caras y Caretas, Dec. 13, 1913, 47; Albert Hale, “Crossing the Andes by Aero and Auto,” Pan American Union Bulletin, Mar. 1914, 313–21.

38 On the development of European aviation in Latin America from the 1920s, see Lyth, Peter J., “The Empire's Airway: British Civil Aviation from 1919 to 1939,” Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 78:3–4 (2000): 883; Hugill, Peter J., “The American Challenge to British Hegemony, 1861–1947,” Geographical Review 99:3 (July 2009): 412–16; Bluffield, Robert, Over Empires and Oceans: Pioneers, Aviators and Adventurers—Forging the International Air Routes 1918–1939 (Ticehurst, UK: Tattered Flag Press, 2014), 8694.

39 Lulu F. Varney, “The Eagle Aeroplane,” Varney Music Co., St. Louis, MO, 1912.

40 Budiansky, Stephen, Air Power: From Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II (London: Penguin, 2003), 38; Higham, Robin, Air Power: A Concise History (London: Macdonald and Co., 1972), 1.

41 Vleck, Empire of Air, 4.

42 Hiatt, Willie, The Rarified Air of the Modern: Airplanes and Technological Modernity in the Andes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 12, 17.

43 Freudenthal, Elsbeth E., “Conquerors of Uspallata Pass: A Contribution to the History of Aviation in the Americas,” The Americas 9:1 (July 1952): 1819.

44 “Two Latin-American Aviators,” Scientific American, Sep. 23, 1911, 286–87.

45 Candelaria, Luis, Memoria de la Primera Travesía de la Cordillera de los Andes en Aeroplano (Buenos Aires: Compañía Argentina de Tabacos, 1918), 100–1.

46 Aero Club of America (New York: Douglas Taylor & Co., 1911), 11.

47 Mitchell, William, Our Airforce: The Keystone of National Defense (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1921), 107.

48 Pan American Magazine, Apr. 1909, 304.

49 “Alberto Santos-Dumont and his New Mission,” Flying, Nov. 1915, 748.

50 Henry Wise Wood, “The Havana Meet,” Aircraft, May 1911, 71–73.

51 “Pettirossi Loops at Brighton Beach,” Aerial Age, June 21, 1915, 319–20.

52 Mark Petersen, “The ‘Vanguard of Pan-Americanism’: Chile and Inter-American Multilateralism in the Early Twentieth Century,” in Cooperation and Hegemony in US-Latin American Relations, 113–14.

53 Crouch, Tom, “The Aero Club of Washington: Aviation in the Nation's Capital, 1909–1914,” Washington History 22 (Jan. 2010): 54.

54 “First Report of Committees for 1913 to the Board of Governors,” Flying, May 1913, 26.

55 “Santos-Dumont Coming to United States to Head Pan-American Aeronautic Convention,” Aerial Age Weekly, Sep. 27, 1915, 29.

56 Alan Hawley to John Barrett, Dec. 24, 1915, box 39, John Barrett Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC [henceforth Barrett Papers].

57 For some examples of Barrett's desire to cooperate with academics and business leaders, see Memorandum for the Press, Feb. 3, 1907, box 26, Barrett Papers; Extracts from Address of John Barrett Before the Annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, Toledo, OH, Oct. 17, 1909, box 29, Barrett Papers.

58 “Aero Club's Tenth Annual Banquet,” Aerial Age Weekly, Jan. 10, 1916, 394.

59 Although aviation was not addressed during the First Pan American Scientific Congress, recommendations were made for its inclusion in the next congress. See Report of the Delegates of the United States to the Pan-American Scientific Conference Held at Santiago, Chile December 25, 1908, to January 5, 1909 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1909), 28. This was an authorless publication.

60 “Aero Club of America and American Society of Aeronautic Engineers to Send Delegates to Pan-American Scientific Congress,” Aerial Age Weekly, Dec. 27, 1915, 349.

61 Glen Levin Swiggett, “Transportation, Commerce, Finance and Taxation,” vol. 11, in Rowe, Leo S., Proceedings of the Second Pan American Scientific Congress (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1917), 228–34.

63 “Aeroplanes to be Strongest Factor in Evolving Pan-Americanism,” Aerial Age Weekly, Jan. 10, 1916, 398; “Aeronautic Federation of the Western Hemisphere,” Pan American Union Bulletin, Feb. 1916, 208; “Aero Club Offers Trophy of $10,000,” New York Times, Jan. 5, 1916; “Pan-American Aero Prize,” Washington Post, Jan. 5, 1916; “Says Aero will Bind Americas,” Washington Herald, Jan. 4, 1916.

64 Dubuque Times Journal, Apr. 1, 1917.

65 Swiggett, “Proceedings of the Second Pan American Scientific Congress,” vol. 11, 234–35.

66 “Aero Club of America Bulletin,” No. 186, Aug. 9, 1915, DA-198000-11, Technical Reference Files, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.

67 “The First Pan American Aviation Conference,” Pan American Union Bulletin, May 1916, 602–04.

68 “Aero Club of America Bulletin,” No. 91, Feb. 15, 1916, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC. The ACA had a great deal of confidence in Pan-American initiatives. In another bulletin, it predicted that inter-American aviation would “be supported by the Federal Government, as anything that makes for Pan-Americanism is advocated.” See “Tentative Programme for the Aero Show and Convention of American Aeronautic Engineers,” undated, ca. 1915, DA-198000-11, Technical Reference Files, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.

69 Bryne, Alex, “After One Hundred Years of Service: Hegemony, Pan-Americanism, and the Monroe Doctrine Centennial Anniversary, 1923,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 29:4 (Dec. 2018): 567–69; Scarfi, Juan Pablo, “In the Name of the Americas: The Pan-American Redefinition of the Monroe Doctrine and the Emerging Language of American International Law in the Western Hemisphere, 1898–1933,” Diplomatic History 40:2 (Apr. 2016): 189–93.

70 For a selection of Barrett's views on the Monroe Doctrine, see Barrett, John, “A Pan-American Policy: The Monroe Doctrine Modernized,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 54:1 (July 1914): 14; John Barrett to Woodrow Wilson, July 26, 1913, box 35, Barrett Papers. For other U.S. Pan-Americanists on a multilateral Monroe Doctrine, see Statements, Interpretations, and Applications of the Monroe Doctrine and of More or Less Allied Doctrines,” Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at its Annual Meeting 8 (1914): 34118; Sherrill, Charles, “The Monroe Doctrine from a South American Viewpoint,” The Journal of Race Development 4:3 (Jan. 1914): 322–23; Blakeslee, George, “Should the Monroe Doctrine Continue to be a Policy of the United States?Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at its Annual Meeting, 8 (1914): 217–30.

71 “Aeronautic Federation of Western Hemisphere Organized,” Aerial Age Weekly, Apr. 10, 1916, 110.

72 “Santos-Dumont en Buenos Aires,” Caras y Caretas, Apr. 8, 1916, 61; “Air Conquerors of Andes Made Heroes,” Washington Times, Aug. 6, 1916; Freudenthal, “Conquerors of Uspallata Pass,” 20.

73 Bogert, George, “Problems in Aviation Law,” Cornell Law Quarterly 6 (1920–21): 275; Fixel, Rowland, The Law of Aviation (Charlottesville, VA: Michie Company, 1945), 24.

74 “Aero Club of America Appoints Delegates to Co-operate with Latin Republics in Developing Pan-American Aeronautics,” Aerial Age Weekly, Aug. 7, 1916, 622.

75 Peary, Robert, “Command of the Air,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 66:1 (1916): 192.

76 “Aero Club of America Bulletin,” No. 186, Aug. 9, 1916, DA-198000-11, Technical Reference Files, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.

77 “First Pan American Aeronautic Exposition,” Pan American Union Bulletin, Jan. 1917, 96–97.

78 “Aeronautic Exposition,” Aero World, Dec. 1916, 85.

79 Henry Woodhouse to Thomas Edison, Jan. 6, 1917, Correspondence, Henry Woodhouse Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

80 Woodrow Wilson to Augustus Post, Feb. 8, 1917, reel 146, Woodrow Wilson Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC [henceforth Wilson Papers].

81 “President Wilson Opens Exposition by Wireless and Governor Whitman and Director-General Barrett with Hearty Addresses,” Aerial Age Weekly, Feb. 12, 1917, 572–73.

82 “The Aeronautic Exposition,” Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering, Feb. 15, 1917, 100–6; “The Pan American Aeronautic Exposition,” Motor Travel, Mar. 1917, 18.

83 “Weather Bureau Exhibit at the First Pan American Aeronautic Exposition,” Monthly Weather Review, Feb. 1917, 55.

84 “The Pan American Aeronautic Exposition,” Motor Travel, Mar. 1917, 12.

85 “First Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition,” Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Mar. 1917, 264.

86 On the Columbus attack and the U.S. response, see Raat, William and Brescia, Michael, Mexico and the United States: Ambivalent Vistas, 4th ed. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010), 124–26; .Hart, John M, Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico Since the Civil War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 329–34; Katz, Friedrich, “Pancho Villa and the Attack on Columbus, New Mexico,” American Historical Review 83:1 (Feb. 1978): 101–30. On the use of airplanes during the expedition, see Vleck, Empire of Air, 54; Miller, Roger, A Preliminary to War: The 1st Aero Squadron and the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916 (Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2003); Stout, Joseph Jr., Border Conflict: Villistas, Carrancistas and the Punitive Expedition, 1915–1920 (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1999), 51.

87 “We Need Aeroplanes,” New York Times, Apr. 4, 1916; “Aviation and the Army,” The Outlook, Apr. 5, 1916, 774; “A Few of the Many Editorials that Have Appeared in the Press Condemning Aerial Unpreparedness,” Flying, Apr. 1916, 106–7; Henry Woodhouse, “No Aeroplanes for Mexican Campaign!,” Flying, May 1916, 151–52.

88 Thomas, Robert and Allen, Inez, The Mexican Punitive Expedition Under Brigadier General John J. Pershing, United States Army, 1916–1917 (Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1954), V5. A Dutch newspaper claimed that the aircraft used during the expedition “satisfied badly” and represented how backward the U.S. aviation industry was in comparison to its European competitors. See Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, Oct. 16, 1917, enclosed in John W. Garrett to Robert Lansing, Oct. 30, 1917, file 763.72/7808, roll 62, Central Decimal Files, 1910–1963, General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, National Archives, College Park, MD.

89 Henry Woodhouse, “Achievements in American Aeronautics in 1916,” Burlington Daily News (Vermont), Dec. 30, 1916.

90 “Sees Evolution in Mexico,” New York Times, Apr. 10, 1916; Pan American Magazine, Jun. 1916, 65–67; Washington Evening Star, Aug. 5, 1916.

91 Ellery Sedgwick to Viscount James Bryce, Feb. 2, 1916, reel 73, Viscount James Bryce Papers, Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

92 “Pan-Americanism,” The New Republic, Dec. 19, 1914, 9–10.

93 Thanksgiving Statement, Nov. 24, 1915, box 39, Barrett Papers; Shepherd, William R., “New Light on the Monroe Doctrine,” Political Science Quarterly 31:4 (Dec. 1916): 578–89; Sherrill, Charles, Modernizing the Monroe Doctrine (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1916) and Sherrill, Charles H., “The Strengthening of Latin America,” North American Review 203:724 (Mar. 1916): 388–96; Rowe, Leo Stanton, “Bringing the Americas Together,” Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science in the City of New York 7:2 (1917): 272–78.

94 Bernard Baruch to John Barrett, June 4, 1917, box 42, Barrett Papers.

95 “Aero Contest Postponed,” Washington Times, Apr. 28, 1917.

96 Woodhouse, Henry, “Aeronautical Maps and Aerial Transport,” Geographical Review 4:5 (Nov. 1917): 336–38; “An Abandoned International Convention on Aeronautical Cartography,” Flying, Nov. 1917, 844–45; Woodhouse, Henry, “High-Altitude Flying in Relation to Exploration,” Geographical Review 7:3 (Mar. 1919), 149.

97 Percy Martin, “Latin America and the War,” League of Nations, Aug. 1919, 244, 248.

98 “War Threats Focus Interest on Airplanes at the Exposition,” Washington Post, Feb. 11, 1917.

99 Rinke, Stefan, Latin America and the First World War, trans. Reid, Christopher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 203–4. See also Pope, Daniel, “The Advertising Industry and World War I,” The Public Historian 2:3 (Spring 1980): 425.

100 “Warplanes Enlist Silvertowns,” National Geographic Magazine, May 1918.

101 “Ultimo Esforço da Allemanha para Conquistar a Supremacia nos Ares,” O Espelho: Jornal Illustrado, Feb. 1916, 12–13. O Espelho was published in London by the Brazilian Associated Press and ran between 1914 and 1919.

102 Kaempffert, Waldemar, “The Aeroplane of To-Day: What the War Has Done for Its Development,” American Review of Reviews 53:3 (Mar. 1916): 304.

103 “Tenth Annual Banquet of the Aero Club of America,” Flying, Feb. 1916, 15–17; Woodhouse, Henry, “We Need Two Thousand Aeroplanes and Have but Twelve: What are you Going to do About It?,” in Proceedings of the National Security Congress Under the Auspices of the National Security League (New York: National Security League, 1916), 180–93; Hart, Albert Bushnell and Lovejoy, Arthur, Handbook of the War for Public Speakers (New York: National Security League, 1918), 83. See also Coffman, Edward, The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1968), 189.

104 “Aero Club of America and Aerial League of America Floats Receive Enthusiastic Ovations in Liberty Loan Parade,” Flying, Nov. 1917, 858.

105 Alan Hawley to Woodrow Wilson, May 25, 1916, reel 327, Wilson Papers.

106 “Appeals to Senate for Aero Defense,” Washington Times, Feb. 22, 1915.

107 “Aeroplane Over Canal Causes Stir in Panama,” Los Angeles Times, Mar. 27, 1915.

108 “To Organize an Aero Club of Hawaii,” Aviation, Sep. 15, 1916, 127.

109 “1,000,000 Bullets a Day Made Here,” New York Times, Jan. 22, 1915; “Preparedness,” Flying, Nov. 1915, 749–50.

110 Some examples include Theodore Roosevelt to Joseph Cannon, Dec. 27, 1904, in The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 4, ed. Morison, Elting (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1951), 1,080–81; Alfred Thayer Mahan to Charles Stewart, Mar. 19, 1909, in Letters and Papers of Alfred Thayer Mahan, vol. 3, ed. Seager, Robert and Maguire, Doris (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1975), 290–92; Perry Belmont, “The Theory of Divine Right and the Principle of the Monroe Doctrine,” Seven Seas, Aug. 1915, 5–9; Joseph Choate to Solomon Stanwood Menken, Jan. 21, 1916, box 22, Joseph Choate Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Hart, Albert Bushnell, “Naval Defense of the Monroe Doctrine,” Addresses Before the Eighth Annual Convention of the Navy League of the United States Washington, DC, April 10–13, 1916 (Washington, DC: Navy Printing Co., 1916), 2436.

111 Mitchell, Nancy, The Danger of Dreams: German and American Imperialism in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

112 Theron Lowel Brant, “Our War with Germany,” Flying, Sep. 1913, 13–15. War-scare and invasion literature was a common manifestation of the German Peril both before and during the First World War. Other examples include Hugh Johnson, “The Lamb Rampant,” Everybody's Magazine, Mar. 1908, 291–301; Hancock, H. Irving, The Invasion of the United States; Or, Uncle Sam's Boys at the Capture of Boston (Philadelphia, PA: Henry Altemus Company, 1916).

113 Edward Marshall, “Day of Travel by Dirigible is Close at Hand,” Washington Evening Star, June 22, 1919.

114 “Developing the Practical Utility of Aviation in South America,” Pan American Union Bulletin, Nov. 1916, 619–31.

115 Notes and Comment,” Hispanic American Historical Review 2:3 (Aug. 1919): 485.

116 Report of the Second Pan American Commercial Conference (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1919), 235–36.

117 Ibid., 236–38.

118 Air Service Journal, Dec. 7, 1918, 13.

119 “Viva el Aviador!” New York Times, June 20, 1920.

120 Newton, “Aviation Rivalry in Latin America,” 351.

121 “Secretary of War Baker Opens Second Pan-American Aeronautic Convention, Exposition and Contests by Wireless,” Aerial Age Weekly, May 5, 1919, 373.

122 Alan Hawley, “The Future of Aeronautics,” The Outlook, June 11, 1919, 247–48.

123 “Baker Greets Aero Meet by Wireless,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia), May 1, 1919.

124 Robie, For the Greatest Achievement, 96–97.

125 “Second Pan American Aeronautic Convention,” Pan American Union Bulletin, Apr. 1919, 443; “Second Pan-American Aeronautic Convention,” Aerial Age Weekly, May 19, 1919, 479.

126 “Second Pan-American Aeronautic Convention Great Success,” Aerial Age Weekly, May 12, 1919, 427.

127 Report of American Aviation Mission, Jul. 19, 1919 enclosed in Winston Churchill to War Cabinet, Sep. 26, 1919, CAB 24/89/31, The National Archives, Kew, London, UK.

128 Minutes of the Meeting of the Show Committee, Jan. 31, 1919, box 297, Manufacturers Aircraft Association Records, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY [henceforth MAA Records]; Manufacturers Aircraft Association, Aircraft Year Book 1920 (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1920), 140–46.

129 Manufacturers Aircraft Association to Francisco Yanes, Feb. 19, 1920, box 80, MAA Records; and Franklin Adams to Samuel Bradley, Feb. 25, 1920, box 80, MAA Records.

130 John Barrett to Samuel Bradley, Mar. 4, 1920, box 80, MAA Records.

131 “Air Lines to Join Two Americas,” New York Sun and Herald, Mar. 8, 1920. Yanes was understandably irritated by the newspaper's decision to ignore his speech and was forced to ask the MAA to return his original paper copy in the absence of a press clipping.: See Francisco Yanes to Luther Bell, Mar. 10, 1920, box 80, MAA Records.

132 “Air Mail Routes,” Air Service Journal, Dec. 14, 1918, 1–2.

133 Fifth Annual Report of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics 1919 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1920), 40.

134 C.W. Webster, “Aviation in South America,” Flying, Jan. 1920, 986–87.

135 “Aviation in the United States,” Pan American Union Bulletin, June 1919, 669–82.

136 Threlkeld, Megan, “The Pan American Conference of Women, 1922: Successful Suffragists Turn to International Relations,” Diplomatic History 31:5 (Nov. 2007): 801–28; Report of the Delegation from the United States of America to the Sixth International Sanitary Conference (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1920).

137 Inman, Samuel Guy, “Pan-American Unity in the Making,” Current History 18:6 (1923): 919–25.

138 On U.S. military interventions in Central America and the Caribbean under Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge, see Neagle, Michael, “US Policies Toward Latin America,” in A Companion to Woodrow Wilson, ed. Kennedy, Ross (New York: Wiley & Sons, 2013), 206–7; Loveman, Brian, No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 228; Grieb, Kenneth, The Latin American Policy of Warren G. Harding (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1976), 113.


The Potential of Flight: U.S. Aviation and Pan-Americanism During the Early Twentieth Century

  • Alex Bryne


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