When, upon the eve of my departure on leave of absence from the University of Illinois for a year of travel and study in South America, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace asked me to make an investigation of relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America, I gladly undertook the large task. I am indebted to President David Kinley of the University of Illinois, at that time a member of the Committee of Research of the Carnegie Endowment, for the invitation to investigate that subject, for letters of introduction to friends in South America, and for helpful suggestions about the plan and form of this volume. For letters of introduction I am also indebted to President Emeritus Edmund J. James of the University of Illinois, to Mr. John Barrett, formerly Director General of the Pan American Union, and to Professor Leo S. Rowe, now Director General of the Pan-American Union.
A few explanations should be made about certain problems of definition and terminology. The term "Latin America" has often been used by writers to include those countries in the New World that were colonized by people from the so-called "Latin" nations of Europe. It would thus naturally include New France and the French colonies in the West Indies, as well as Spanish and Portuguese America. In recent years a custom has been growing in the United States, however, to confine the term Latin America to those regions in the New World which were colonized by Spain and Portugal. When I undertook to write this book, the people of the United States ordinarily designated the states of Spanish or Portuguese derivation in America as the Latin-American nations. During the last few years, however, a marked tendency has been shown by students of history in the United States to apply the term Hispanic-American to the nations of Spanish and Portuguese origin in the New World.