Subsequently, in 1993, the United States and Mexico entered into another important treaty--the North American Free Trade Agreement (hereinafter NAFTA). NAFTA created considerable controversy in the United States. It governs trade between the NAFTA parties: Canada, Mexico and the United States. The NAFTA parties trade hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods a year. Thus, one can expect that many trade disputes will arise under NAFTA. As a result, NAFTA has provided procedures for dispute resolution.
In the 1800s, many in the United States believed it was America's destiny to expand westward so as to govern the entire continent. Writing in 1845, journalist John O'Sullivan explained: The American claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federative self-government entrusted to us.
In accordance with this notion of "manifest destiny," in 1846, the United States went to war against Mexico in an effort to incorporate the western territories of California and New Mexico and certain Texas borderlands. At the war's end in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo required Mexico to cede about half of its then existing territory. Much of the American West and Southwest was acquired by the United States in the 529,000 square mile cession by the Republic of Mexico. Thus, the United States conquered Mexico in 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo completed that conquest and, therefore, completed the conquest of the Southwest.
In agreeing to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico--a conquered nation--obviously had much less bargaining power than the United States. The Mexican government was under tremendous political and financial pressure to sign the Treaty. Mexican officials viewed the Treaty as a final opportunity to preserve Mexico. With the American Army just outside of Mexico City, they believed that if the war continued, all of Mexico would have been acquired by the United States. In addition, British money brokers, who had made large loans to Mexico, were pushing Mexican officials to end the war and pay off Mexico's debts. Under these circumstances, the United States virtually dictated the terms of the [Treaty]. So one-sided was the Treaty in favor of the United States that the American political party, the Whigs, who were opponents of the war, concluded that the Treaty was morally bankrupt. In particular, the Whigs argued that it was unethical to require a defeated country to "sell" its territory. Despite this, Mexico sought to provide certain rights for Mexican citizens in the territories ceded under the Treaty to the United States.
Experience proves it is possible for one nationality to merge and be absorbed into another: and when it was originally an inferior and more backward portion of the human race absorption is greatly to its advantage. Nobody can suppose that it is not more beneficial to a Breton, or a Basque of French Navarre, to be brought into the current of the ideas and feelings of a highly civilized and cultivated people--to be a member of the French Nationality, admitted on equal terms to all the privileges of French citizenship--than to sulk on his own rocks, the half-savage relic of past times, revolving in his own little mental orbit, without