Latin American Studies ETDs

Publication Date




During the summer of 1965 representatives of the border states of the United States and Mexico met at Tres Lagunas, New Mexico, to determine whether their common interests and problems might lend themselves to regional cooperation efforts. The re­sult of this meeting was the formation of the Mexican-American Border States Organization, which met for the first time on September 25, 1965, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquer­que.

This thesis was conceived with essentially the same point of view; that is, the idea that the history of the people of the Southwest and Northern Mexico has unity that makes it somewhat different from either the history of the United States or the history of Mexico. The El Paso-Ciudad Juarez area seemed to lend itself particularly to treatment on the regional level.

The writer also felt that the interdepartmentalist point of view would be of significant value in approaching such a topic. Clearly, it is quite inadequate to allow excessive emphasis to be placed on nationalism, economic determinism, military and political history, and the "great man" theory of history. These fixations can at times be so limiting as to be unscientific and unscholarly, an while they often add color ad interest to historical narration, thy rarely offer insights into the ways of life of the great mass of the people.

With this in mind, the writer decided to consider the topic from the point of view of the history of population. From such a point of view, the ecological, historical, sociological, anthropo­logical, and economic aspects of man are reduced to a common denomi­nator. This approach is necessary, because if the area has any special significance at all, it is due to the kinds of cultural experiences of the peoples of the region.

Finally, it would only be appropriate for the writer to confess one additional bias. I have long felt that in the long run -- and in spite of the culture conflict and disorganization -- the individual who experiences substantial, pervasive bicultural experiences attains a rather unusual degree of personal autonomy, insight, and tolerance. That a value should be placed on such things is clearly a prejudice of the writer. But somehow, when I consider the long history of inter-American relations, the prejudice rests lightly on my conscience.



Document Type


Degree Name

Latin American Studies

Department Name

Latin American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Colgett Cutter

Second Committee Member

Michael Edward Thurman

Third Committee Member

Nancie L. Solien de Gonzalez