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Mexico and the United States: Ambivalent Vistas

Mexico and the United States: Ambivalent Vistas (Paperback)

£16.95
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Synopsis

In 1821 Mexico was geographically the largest country in the western hemisphere. By 1853 however, it was but a quarter of its original size. Meanwhile, its neighbour north of the border had expanded its territory enormously - and mostly at Mexico's expense. Similarly in 1800 Mexico's per capita income was half that of the United States; by 1877 it had dropped to one-tenth. Such asymetries have long characterised the relationship between Mexico and the United States. The author pays special attention to the economic factors that have subordinated Mexico, not only to the "Colossus of the North" but to many of the other players in the world economy. Throughout the book - whether treating the respective colonial histories of Mexico and the United States, the causes and effects of the Mexican War, the challenges of modernisation and political revolution, the plight of the Mexican peasant, or the activities of US intelligence organisations in Mexico - Raat frames his discussion within the context of global economic trends. Raat also discusses the complex political, cultural and social factors that have played such an important role in the interactions between the two countries.

He examines the ethno-centrism that has coloured the perceptions Americans and Mexicans have of each other, from the time of the Texas Revolution to contemporary illegal immigration controversies. Raat also gives attention to areas of common borders and common history. Known traditionally as the "Gran Chichimeca", these borderlands are where Mexican-US cultural dynamics have been most visible. Bilingual and bicultural, neither fully American nor Mexican, the region continues to be of primary importance to policymakers on both sides of the Rio Grande. In his epilogue, Raat notes recent American interest in Mexican art and culture and suggests that in an age of declining US influence, Americans would do well to recognise their own country's role in Mexico's fall from colonial splendour, the limits of US and military power, and the proud sense of cultural identity that prevails among their southern neighbours.

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