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Inventing North America: Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Guy Poitras
Inventing North America: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
ISBN: 978-1-62637-003-6
2001/204 pages/LC: 2001018070
"A comprehensive survey of the forces which shape a North American region, and an extremely engaging discussion of the extent to which a concrete region is indeed congealing at the confluence of these forces."—Nicola Phillips, International Affairs

"An excellent introduction to NAFTA from a 'macro' perspective."—Mario E. Carranza, Latin American Politics & Society

"Few other works have stepped back from the individual debates over income distribution, investment provisions, or the environment to expose those unfamiliar with the NAFTA to a broad snapshot of each country and the issues facing them individually and collectively."—Greg Anderson, International Journal

"A well-informed account of the forces leading to NAFTA in 1993, its impact, and likely future.... Poitras adopts a balanced, thoughtful perspective."—Choice

"I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in understanding the national, regional, and global elements involved in converting the three separate North American countries—Canada, Mexico, and the United States—into a coherent region on the world scene."—Sidney Weintraub


In the face of potent domestic and global forces, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico—the NA-3—have devised an enterprise that promises to draw them closer together in the twenty-first century. Inventing North America is an attempt to understand the NA-3's unique brand of regionalism within an increasingly globalized world.

Poitras dissects the commonalities and differences among the NA-3 that have created the foundation for—and set limits to—the integration of the region. He also explores how states use regionalism for their own purposes and how the North American enterprise must deal with predicaments about unity and diversity, gains and losses, and gaps between North and South. Testing the proposition that the North and South can play by the same rules within a regional regime, he portrays North America as essentially a two-level alliance between the dominant center and each of the smaller periphery states. Its fate, he argues, depends on whether and how this alignment changes and whether the NA-3 can embrace a comprehensive vision of the region as a community.


Guy Poitras is professor of political science at Trinity University.


  • The World in North America/North America in the World.
  • The Three States of North America. Neighbors and Partners.
  • Global Forces.
  • Regional Factors.
  • Trading Places.
  • Promise—and Peril.
  • North and South.
  • Between East and West.
  • Conclusion: Predicaments and Possibilities.