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THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT? RECONSIDERING THE EARLY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PAN AMERICAN AIRWAYS AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

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Author(s): Erik Benson

Journal: Essays in Economic & Business History
ISSN 0896-226X

Volume: 22;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2004;
Original page

ABSTRACT
During the late I920s and early 1930s, Pan American Airways became known as the U.S. “chosen instrument” for international commercial aviation. Most scholarly work about the U.S. government/Pan Am relationship presents the airline as the government’s instrument. This article challenges this traditional perspective. In certain ways Pan Am was an “instrument,” yet in others it defied such categorization. Thus, any notion that Pan Am was a “chosen instrument” merits qualification. Drawing upon the “corporatist” historical model, this study will present a more sophisticated account of this relationship, one that considers the role of business elites in shaping U.S. policy.
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