The histories of the United States and Mexico have been intertwined from the time Mexico emerged, as an independent nation in 1821. In this chapter, we will explore Mexico's historical background, beginning with inseparable histories. Let us remember that a substantial part of the territory of the United States, used to be part of Mexico. Geographically, these two neighboring nations share a long border and a long history in common. Historical experience, especially with such close physical proximity, necessarily shapes the nature of the relationship between both countries. As well as the perception of each other. The young Mexican nation looked up to the United States as a model of a successful former colony, that had become an independent, young, and progressive nation. Mexico in the 19th century confronted problems that the US did not have, when the latter became independent in 1776. Mexico faced the challenge of transforming a Spanish colony into a nation. A difficult problem, because, although its territory seemed to contain almost unlimited natural resources, its population was disperse and in no way homogeneous. Unlike the United States in its early days, Mexico was fragmented socially, racially, and linguistically. Because of the different indigenous groups that stayed isolated throughout the colonial period. And, because there were powerful local bosses that refused to accept a government from the center. There were also large areas, especially in the north that were basically unpopulated. Mexicans struggled over the best form of government to adopt as an independent nation, a centralist or a federalist regime. A constitutional monarchy or a federal republic. This would become a federal republic in the 1870s. All these circumstances made Mexico vulnerable to any external threats. Despite it's challenges, to Mexico, the U.S. model seemed an enticing option. Mexico was inspired by the U.S. even in deciding its name, it became the Mexican United States. Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Mexicans' positive opinion of the United States would change at the beginning of the 1830s, when Texas, which used to belong to Mexico, decided to declare its independence. And it became evident that Texans seriously entertained the possibility of annexation to the United States. As a result of the 1846-48 war, the war that Americans call the War with Mexico, and Mexico calls the American Intervention. Mexico lost 55% of its territory. On top of the humiliating defeat, inflicted by the United States. In the previous and following decades, Mexico also had to endure a Spanish attempt to reconquer the country. Two French attempts of invasion, one of which was successful, as well as attacks perpetrated by adventurers and Indians. Although the trauma of the loss of the territory, resulting from the American intervention is still very much alive for Mexicans. From the point of view of the United States, this same historical event is as dead and as irrelevant as the French and Indian War of the mid 18th century. This historical event did and still does shape Mexico's response to U.S. actions. Now, I will talk about two notions that are central to shaping the relationship between the two nations. From the conclusion of the American Intervention in 1848 to the middle decades of the 20th century, the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny, were two documents issued by the United States that Mexicans took as reminders of the active threat to its territorial integrity. The Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny were viewed my Mexico as a credible threat, given that the United States was emerging as an imperial power. Undergoing territorial expansion and consolidation. Examples of the US expansionist agenda include the purchase of Alaska, its annexation of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The virtual protectorate it established in the Caribbean, and its military action in Mexico during the 1910 revolution. All confirm the Mexican view that the expansionist United States was a threat. The U.S. is a neighbor whose actions left the strongest mark on Mexico's perception of the external world. And the deepest imprint on the national consciousness, and we can not say that the reverse is true. Towards the end of World War II, the interaction between both countries shifted, and would concentrate on economics and foreign policies. Issues such as trade, foreign investment, technology transfer, foreign debt, fishing rights, the use of common rivers, undocumented Mexican workers in the United States, environmental disputes along the border, and tourism. More recently, the upsurge in drug-related violence on the border is also an item in the bilateral agenda. The historical relationship between the United States and Mexico has evolved in a way that is determined by interdependence and asymmetry. Mexico is poorer and less developed than the United States, but is an important commercial partner of the United States, as well as its neighbor. In the bilateral relation, what is of vital importance to Mexico is usually of marginal importance to the United States. Still, geography forces both nations to work together. In summary, the key historical features that shape the way Mexicans view Americans are, the 1848 war. The expansionist policies that went from the mid 19th century to the 20th century, and, more recently, post World War II, economic and foreign policies. In the next chapters, we'll explore how historical commonalities, as well as the difference that continue to shape Mexican views of Americans. Throughout this module, I will present first person views of Mexicans who visited the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries, and wrote about it. These perspectives are the voices of men, who were public intellectuals, politicians, writers and journalists. The figure of the public intellectual is ubiquitous in Latin America and Mexico is not an exception. Many of the writers I will refer to, wrote in different genres and formats. Newspapers, essays, fiction, official documents. These men travel, or had temporal stays, into the United States, but did not migrate into the country. So they present their views as outsiders, as foreigners.