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Inevitable Partnership: Understanding Mexico-U.S. Relations

Clint E. Smith
Inevitable Partnership: Understanding Mexico-U.S. Relations
ISBN: 978-1-55587-897-9
ISBN: 978-1-55587-873-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-517-8
2000/244 pages/LC: 99-088894

"The deeper understanding of U.S.-Mexican relations provided by books such as this one can also help us understand larger changes in the hemisphere."—Steve C. Ropp, Latin American Politics and Society

"This is certainly a text that would be a solid recommendation for students new to the study of Latin America and Mexico specifically.... a lively introduction to the topic."—Nicola Phillips, International Affairs

"Provides a wealth of factual information about the United States and Mexico as well as an excellent short history of the relations between the two countries. The lively prose makes the book enjoyable to read.... Inevitable Partnership is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and the book should be on the bedside tables of both George W. Bush and Vicente Fox Quesada."—Michael Pretes, The North American Institute Newsletter

"A gem.... Inevitable Partnership educates readers about two large and equally diverse countries; it is a must-have for any academic or public library. Smith's smooth style of writing makes his book beneficial to high school library collections as well."—Debbie Vaughn, Against the Grain

"Smith's writing stye is accessible to a general audience and undergraduates, making this a fine introductory work for college students, lower-division undergraduate and up."—Choice


This concise, accessible volume astutely describes the complex Mexico-U.S. relationship from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth.

Smith begins with a brief history of early U.S.-Mexico relations, focusing on the Texas Secession, the Mexican War, and the Gadsden Purchase. By 1853, one-half of what used to be Mexico had become one-third of what is now the United States, and for a full century, strained ties between the two countries were more the rule than the exception. But, Smith observes, the lop-sided algebra has been transformed, and today we see a growing web of interrelationships that has created an inevitable partnership.

This evolution is explored in a series of chapters on contemporary issues affecting the partnership: globalization, the process of democratization in Mexico, Mexican immigration to the U.S., illegal narcotics trafficking, and a myriad of trade, labor, and environmental issues. Then, looking forward, the book concludes with a discussion of trends in Mexico-U.S. relations, including the impact of domestic changes in both countries and of the proposed Free Trade Agreement for the Americas (FTAA).


Clint E. Smith is senior research associate at the Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University. He is author of The Disappearing Border, as well as numerous articles on Mexico, Mexico-U.S. relations, and emerging economic regions in North America.


  • Introduction.
  • Two Young Countries: 1800-1910.
  • Emerging Mexico: 1910-1970.
  • Decades of Dramatic Change: 1970-1994.
  • Mexico and the Global Economy.
  • Mexico's Political Transformation and Democratization.
  • Mexican Migration and U.S. Policy.
  • Drug Trafficking.
  • Managing Environmental Issues.
  • Trends in the Bilateral Relationship.
  • Prospects for NAFTA and Beyond: Toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas?