Episodes in the History of U.S.–Mexico Relations
Grade Level: High School
Includes curriculum unit + 5 sets of 7 photographs
The histories of the United States and Mexico have been closely linked since at least the middle of the 19th century, when Mexico lost half of its territory to the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Since that time, the two countries have had close relations as events that occur in one country invariably affect the other. The presence of a large Mexican-American population in the United States and the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) clearly demonstrate the continued importance of U.S.–Mexico relations.
In light of these close ties, the lessons in this three-part series are intended to provide students with a basic understanding of the relationship between the United States and Mexico.
In part one, Episodes in the History of U.S.–Mexico Relations, students will examine two important historical episodes. The first episode focuses on an instance of conflict between the two countries, namely, the Mexican-American War in the mid-19th century. The second episode focuses on an instance of cooperation between the two countries, namely, the Bracero Program in the mid-20th century.
In part two, Contemporary Issues in U.S.–Mexico Relations, students will examine three key contemporary issues: immigration, NAFTA, and the environment.
Because the students will not be able to appreciate these historical and contemporary lessons without having some knowledge of the geography of the two countries, each of these two parts of the series begins with a lesson that sets a geographic context for the lesson topics.
In part three, U.S.–Mexico Economic Interdependence: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Border, students will examine perspectives on trade, twin cities, and the maquiladoras.
The following themes are emphasized throughout the U.S.–Mexico Relations series:
- multiple perspectives
- conflict and cooperation
- interdependence (economic, political, and social) between the two countries
Although all three themes may be explored in all of the lessons, one or two of the themes may be more important in certain lessons.
After completing the lessons in this series, the students should understand not only the importance of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, but also how events and changes in Mexico have affected and continue to impact the economy, society, and politics of the United States.
Each of the lessons in this curriculum unit lists its specific learning objectives. The following list of objectives reflects larger goals for the three-part U.S.–Mexico Relations series as a whole.
In this curriculum unit, students will:
- develop a basic understanding of the history of U.S.–Mexico relations
- develop a basic understanding of contemporary issues related to immigration from Mexico to the United States, NAFTA, and the environment
- learn how geography has influenced relations between the United States and Mexico
- appreciate multiple perspectives related to historical episodes and contemporary issues in U.S.–Mexico relations
- learn to think critically and make informed opinions
- evaluate different opinions and generate alternative perspectives on an issue
- learn tools to enhance awareness and communication
- work effectively in small and large groups