How do Mexicans view their political and economic future?
Tenth edition. May 2015.

Mexico has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past twenty years. The end of one-party rule, an effort to embrace globalization, and the growth of the drug trade have led to profound changes in Mexican society. Mexico’s historical experience and unique cultural heritage continue to shape and inform Mexican society. Between Two Worlds: Mexico at the Crossroads brings Mexico’s national identity and history into sharper focus for high school students. Students are asked to see the world from the perspective of Mexican citizens and to consider current issues Mexico faces in the areas of economic development, political reform, and foreign relations.


Part I of the reading traces the history of Mexico from early indigenous societies through Spanish conquest until independence. Part II provides an overview of the changes Mexico underwent after gaining independence, including political revolution and economic transformation. Part III explores the most pressing public policy challenges facing Mexico today.

Preview this unit. Preview includes the Table of Contents for the Student Text and the Teacher Resource Book as well as a student reading excerpt and one lesson plan.


The Aztec-Spanish Encounter

By analyzing primary source accounts of the encounter between the Spanish and the Aztecs, students learn to detect bias and evaluate source reliability.

Political Geography of North America

Using readings and maps, students explore how the political geography of North America has changed since the colonial period and draw connections between geography and history.

History in Mexican Textbooks

Students analyze the role of politics in defining history by comparing the historical interpretations of two Mexican history textbooks.

Expressing Political Views through Art

Students explore the styles and techniques of Mexican street artists. Students have the opportunity to draw sketches of their own murals, conveying the hopes and concerns of fictional characters.

The Options Role Play

Students examine three options using their knowledge of Mexico's history and current challenges to present arguments about who is responsible for Mexico's problems; how crime, violence, corruption, and inequality should be addressed; how the U.S. should be perceived; and what the central government's role should be in building Mexico's future.

Mexico's Economic Future

Armed with an understanding of Mexican history from a Mexican perspective, students develop a coherent policy program for Mexico and articulate recommendations on pressing political and economic issues.

Assessing Political Values

Students assess the revolutionary rhetoric of the Zapatistas and explore competing values in contemporary Mexico.


Supplemental Resources

Additional reference material for added context and support.


del Castillo, Bernal Diaz. The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, 1517-1521, trans. A.P. Maudslay (New York: Da Capo Press, 1996) 454 pages.

Chasteen, John Charles. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2001). 321 pages.

Hellman, Judith Adler. Mexican Lives (New York: The New Press, 1994). 244 pages.

Lockhart, James, trans. and ed. We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). 297 pages.

Myer, Michael C. and William H. Beezley, eds. The Oxford History of Mexico (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 670 pages.

Meyer, Michael C., William L. Sherman, and Susan M. Deeds. The Course of Mexican History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). 703 pages.

Mills, Kenneth and William B. Taylor. Colonial Spanish America: A Document History (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1998). 346 pages.

Oppenheimer, Andres. Bordering on Chaos: Mexico’s Roller-Coaster Journey to Prosperity (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998). 379 pages.

Poniatowska, Elena. Massacre in Mexico, trans. Helen R. Lane (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1975). 333 pages.

Poniatowska, Elena. Nothing, Nobody: The Voices of the Mexico City Earthquake, trans. Aurora Camacho de Schmidt and Arthur Schmidt (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995). 317 pages.

Rodriguez O., Jaime E. and Kathryn Vincent, eds. Myths, Misdeeds, and Misunderstandings: The Roots of Conflict in U.S.-Mexican Relations (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, Inc. 1997). 250 pages.

Womack, John, ed. Rebellion in Chiapas: An Historical Reader (New York: New Press, 1999). 372 pages.

This site provides coverage of the the issues around the disappearance of forty-three students in Guerrero state and other news from Mexico.
This site includes an overview of Mexico's history and major issues in Mexico today.
This site provides reporting on a compilation of blogs, images, videos, and other forms of citizen media created by Mexicans.
Most of this site is in Spanish, although some can be translated to English.
This site includes current articles, links to other important websites, and a timeline of coverage on Mexico.
The text of the site is in Spanish, but some English translations are available.
This site includes interactive timelines and maps, primary sources, and video and audio clips associated with PBS's program on the Mexican-American War.
This site focuses on peace research, with interactive maps, reports and statistics, and the latest news and videos pertaining to peace.
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