This article examines the early years of the Pan American Round Table (PART), a women’s group founded in Texas in 1916 that internationalized to Latin America by 1928. While men built bridges and highways that connected the United States and Latin America, women of the PART built metaphorical ones of friendship and understanding. They acted as agents of “soft” diplomacy reshaping Pan Americanism, a U.S. foreign policy goal intended to foster commercial and political ties and to spread democracy in Latin America. Their activist work on behalf of Pan Americanism became a vehicle for personal and community enrichment: through education of self and public, they believed they could change attitudes toward Latin America and its people, yielding a common ground of mutual respect as their motto “liking comes from knowing” suggested. The PART is thus a model study for the interplay of gender, diplomacy, and foreign relations in the twentieth century.


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pp. 38-61
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