m o v i n g away f r o m b a l k a n i z e d h i s t o ry
The presentation of claims by Mexico against the United States and by America
against Mexico has bedeviled both countries ever since Poinsett was ambassador
to Mexico.
former u.s. ambassador josephus daniels, april 29, 1946
he resolution of the agrarian dispute marked a turning point in U.S.-
relations. Ever since the conflict ended in November 1941, there
has been little discord between the two nations over the acquisition of land in
Mexico by Americans and its expropriation by the Mexican government. This
can be attributed to the limitations placed on foreign property ownership by
Mexican federal law, as well as the conservatism of most administrations after
Cárdenas. With regard to the latter and more notable trend, since 1941 Mexican
o≈cials have allowed most remaining landowners to keep their holdings and
have generally limited the expropriation of foreign-owned property, as they si-
multaneously have welcomed investments by transnational corporations south
of the border. Consequently, unlike the postrevolutionary era, during the past
seven decades the issues of expropriation and compensation have not destabi-
lized bilateral a√airs.
Even more significant to the history of U.S.-Mexican relations is the fact that
belligerent U.S. policies toward Mexico, such as military intervention and non-
recognition, have been completely curtailed since the 1930s. This has not only
helped to level the bilateral playing field to some degree but it has also im-
proved the tenor of U.S.-Mexican a√airs, making the relationship between the
two countries less antagonistic, as well as more stable and mature. Many of
these improvements, especially Washington’s evenhanded approach toward its
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