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Pan-Americanism is a movement that seeks to create, encourage, and organize relationships, associations and cooperation among the states of the Americas, through diplomatic, political, economic, and social means.


Following the independence of the United States of America in 1776 and the independence of Haiti in 1804, the struggle for independence after 1810 by the Hispanic American nations evoked a sense of unity, especially in South America, where—under Simón Bolívar in the north and José de San Martín in the south—there were cooperative efforts. Francisco Morazán briefly headed a Federal Republic of Central America. Early South American Pan-Americanists were also inspired by the American Revolutionary War, where a suppressed and colonized society struggled, united, and gained its independence. In the United States, Henry Clay and Thomas Jefferson set forth the principles of Pan-Americanism in the early 19th century, and soon afterward the United States declared through the Monroe Doctrine a new policy with regard to interference by European nations in the affairs of the Americas.

In the 19th century, South American military nationalism came to the fore. Venezuela and Ecuador withdrew (1830) from Gran Colombia; the Central American Federation collapsed (1838); Argentina and Brazil fought continually over Uruguay, and then all three combined in the Paraguayan War (1865–70) to defeat Paraguay; and in the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia. However, during this same period, Pan-Americanism existed in the form of a series of Inter-American Conferences—Panama (1826), Lima (1847), Santiago (1856), and Lima (1864). The main object of those meetings was to provide for a common defense. The first of the modern Pan-American Conferences was held in Washington, D.C. (1889–90), with all nations represented except the Dominican Republic. Treaties for arbitration of disputes and adjustment of tariffs were adopted, and the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics (which became the Pan-American Union) was established. Subsequent meetings were held in various South American cities.[1]

In the 20th century, Franklin Roosevelt embraced a robust formulation of Pan-Americanism during World War II through the establishment of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. In accordance with his Good Neighbor Policy, Roosevelt endeavored to foster the development of peaceful commercial and cultural relations between the American Republics through the skillful use of cultural diplomacy.[2]

Evolution of Pan-Americanism

The intended liberalization of commercial intercourse did not occur, but collaboration was extended to a series of areas, such as health (Pan-American Health Organization), geography and history (Pan-American Institute of Geography and History), child protection and children's rights (International American Institute for the Protection of Children), rights of the woman (Inter-American Commission of Women), indigenous policies (Inter-American Indigenist Institute), agriculture (Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences) collective continental defense (Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Attendance), economic aid (Inter-American Development Bank), human rights (Inter-American Court of Human Rights), infrastructure works (Pan-American Highway) and peacekeeping (Inter-American Peace Force).

The American states also adopted a series of diplomatic and political rules, which were not always respected or fulfilled, governing relations between the countries, like the following ones: arbitration of disputes, peaceful resolution of conflicts, military non-intervention, equality among the member states of each organism and in their mutual relations, decisions by means of resolutions approved by the majority, the recognition of diplomatic asylum, the Private International Law Code (Bustamante Code), the inter-American system of human rights (American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, along with its protocols and associate conventions; and the Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Organization of American States).

Congresses and conferences

See also


  1. ^ Gilderhus, Mark T. (1986). Pan-American Visions: Woodrow Wilson in the Western Hemisphere, 1913–1921. Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-0936-0.
  2. ^ Roosevelt, Franklin D., "Executive Order 8840 Establishing the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs", July 30, 1941. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara

Further reading