Over the past two decades, the Mexican government has signed free trade agreements with the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and many countries in Central and South America. These agreements have helped establish Mexico as a key exporter of goods to other countries, and have helped to stabilize the countrys economy. Today, according to the World Bank, Mexico has the worlds 14th-largest economy, with the countrys annual gross domestic product valued at more than $1.25 trillion. Finding a Financial Balance: The Economy of Mexico provides information about Mexico's manufacturing and industrial sectors, agriculture, natural resources, and tourist industry. It describes problems that the nation faces, such as Mexico's crumbling infrastructure and the vast economic disparity between wealthy and poor citizens, and how the Mexican government has begun to address these problems.
For most of the 1800s, children were considered small, unruly adults who needed to be strictly disciplined and put to useful work as soon as they were able. The very concept of childhood itself, as a carefree, innocent time, is a result of increasing economic stability and changing family roles in the 1800s. Before child welfare laws were enacted and compulsory education enforced, children made up an important part of the industrial and agricultural workforce in 1800s America. Toys and time for games and fun may have been a luxury, but kids will be kids, and the adults that loved them made sure their lives weren't all work and no play. The establishment of public schools, more humane working conditions, and expanding economic opportunities helped improve the life of Americas children in the 1800s, but they worked hard and their pleasures were simple ones.
American society in the 1800s had a rough edge to it. In a nation made up of people of diverse backgrounds and heritage, social controls needed to be strict and enforceable. The extreme economic inequality of Americas cities and the wide open moral code of the frontier led to a culture of crime and violence that still plagues our country. During the 1800s, professional police forces were established in cities, towns, and territories across the continent. On the frontier, justice was often swift and severe, with hanging judges making their reputations as representatives of the law in a lawless land. Long prison sentences in miserable conditions were the rule for criminals, and many a prisoner might have preferred the option of a quick execution. Before the reform of the legal system, which is an ongoing process, there was definitely a separate law, and a separate standard of penalties, for the rich and for the poor. The evolution of a humane penal system and a fairer protection of all citizens under the law is an important contribution of 1800s America to the modern world.
While often behind the scenes and hidden from history, women in 1800s America worked side by side with men in building our nation. On the frontier, strong, capable women worked as hard or harder than their menfolk, taming the land and raising the crops while shouldering the responsibilities of keeping house and caring for the children. The life of the farm wife in the settled parts of the country was one of sunup to sundown labor in an era with few modern conveniences. And in urban areas, working class women were a major part of the workforce in an industrializing economy, while middle and upper class women influenced America's social movements, supported charities, and helped beautify the gritty cities. In the course of the 1800s, new labor saving technologies in the home, improved health conditions, greater economic and educational opportunities, and a growing sense of their rights helped to empower women and started the movement toward full equality with men that continues to this day.
We're all here because of people who met and fell in love in the past! In the 1800s, most young men and women were bound by powerful traditions of family, church, and society that limited their choices in romance and marriage. As an economic and community-building institution, marriage options were traditionally controlled by the older generation. Marriages were often arranged by families, and the bride and groom's personal feelings for each other were much less important than they are today. But as in so many other ways, America was a new and more open society. Communities of people from different and diverse backgrounds were established in a new land, and young people came together in a freer, more open environment. Romantic love flourished in the America of the 1800s as it never had before, with a whole variety of courting and marriage customs, many of which we still cherish today.
Founded on the principles of religious freedom, America in the 1800s was fertile ground for the expansion of religious movements and all kinds of experiments in spiritual matters. Americans in the 1800s took their religion very seriously. Away from the authority of established churches, the American frontier from upstate New York to the wilds of the Utah territory was a hotbed of new, radical religion based on a personal experience of salvation, direct revelation, and enthusiastic, highly emotional gatherings at camp meetings. At the forefront of the movement to abolish slavery and women's rights, idealistic men and women in the more established Protestant churches heard a new social gospel from an educated and progressive clergy. Meanwhile, large numbers of Catholic immigrants and Jews from Central and Eastern Europe established their own religious institutions in a new land. The religious history of America in the 1800s is rich and diverse and highly influential in the social and political evolution of our country.
America in the 1800s was a very hardworking society. Early in the century, farmers, craftsmen, and housewives worked very much the way they had for centuries - by their own physical labor and the sweat of their brow. The growing industrial economy brought millions of workers, people leaving their farms and new immigrants, into the factories and workshops of America, where the work was hard, the hours were long, and the pay was low. Women and children made up a large percentage of the industrial workforce, and conditions were often miserable and dangerous. Meanwhile, a small class of industrialists built vast fortunes. As the century progressed, improved technology, workers rights legislation, and the rise of trade unions helped to alleviate some of the misery of American workers, but for much of the 1800s, the lives of an average working class person was one of hard toil, limited opportunities, and the constant threat of poverty.
With the principles of democracy firmly established after the War for Independence, Americans in the 1800s took their politics very seriously. As more and more male citizens gained the right to vote, elections became very public, hotly contested, and sometimes even violent. In the cities and towns of America, politicians courted political power and influence among new immigrant communities; buying votes and stuffing ballot boxes was shockingly common. While the major national political issues of foreign policy, taxation, the abolition of slavery, and states rights took center stage in Congress, Americans split along regional and party lines that still exist in the twenty-first century. Scandals over greed and corruption caused whole city governments to fall, but America also produced some of the greatest statesman and political leaders in its history. Former slaves, poor immigrants, and women demanded their right to vote.
Life on the American frontier of the 1800s is the stuff of American myth and legend. It was here in the wide open spaces of the West that the rugged individualism of the American character was refined: in the strong but silent cowboy, the saloon girl with a heart of gold, and the sod busting pioneer. Faced with the incredible challenges of taming a wilderness, wresting the territory from the Native peoples, and dealing with the hardships of pioneer life, Americans were offered one of the richest opportunities in the history of human kind - the agricultural and mineral resources of a new land. The settling of this land is the story of America, a story of violence, wasted resources, and genocide, as well as heroism, freedom, and incredible opportunity. The Wild West of the 1800s remains for Americans a land of hopes and dreams.
From an isolated and inward-looking new nation clinging to the East Coast, America in the 1800s grew in size, strength, and military might. From the War of 1812 to the century-long campaigns of conquest against Native American peoples, territorial expansion through war with Mexico to the great national tragedy that was the Civil War, American soldiers and sailors forged a tradition of pride and heroism that is part of our national heritage. Sometimes misguided, sometimes truly inspired, nineteenth century America produced some of the greatest military leaders and witnessed some of the bloodiest battles in our history. Behind the scenes, and often neglected in our official histories, the life of America's citizen soldiers was a tough and brutal one. Patriotism, heroism, and human folly all combine in the story of the roots of Americas rise to the status of world military power.
Women have made major contributions to science throughout history, including in the field of chemistry. Learn about the lives of some of the most amazing women in chemistry, from Alice Hamilton to Darleane Hoffman, as well as their exciting and important work. Discover what it takes to be a chemist. Find out about the opportunities for women in the field. Read Women in Chemistry to see if following in the footsteps of the many brilliant women who have made their mark in chemistry is something you want to do.
The southernmost states along Mexico's Pacific coast are rich in both history and natural resources. These states have been shaken by natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and plagued at times by rebellions and violence. Yet these states attract millions of tourists each year, drawn to the beautiful beaches of Acapulco, Huatulco, and other resorts, or to major archaeological sites such as Monte Albán and Palenque. In Mexico's Pacific South States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of four Mexican states: Colima, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca.
Northern Mexico is a vast desert region bordering the United States. This region an important center for manufacturing, mining, and other industries due to its proximity to the U.S., and many maquiladoras (small factories) are located along the border. It also has many sights that attract tourists, such as the world-famous Copper Canyon. In Mexico's Northern States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of seven Mexican states: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas.
Like people everywhere, Mexicans have experienced governments that have been beneficial to the people, and those that have treated people harshly. The history of government in the land known as Mexico is long and complex, beginning more than 3,000 years ago with the various Amerindian civilizations that lived in the region. Once the Spanish conquered the native people during the 16th century, they imposed their own forms of government that persisted until the early decades of the 19th century. Since Mexico gained its independence in 1821, the people have experienced many periods of unrest and turmoil, as various groups have attempted to create an effective government. With the election of Enrique Peña Nieto as president in 2012, many Mexicans hope that their government is headed in the right direction to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The history of Mexican government, and hopes for the future, are traced in Meeting Future Challenges: The Government of Mexico.
Mexicans today are proud of their rich heritage and their beautiful land, but they also recognize that their nation has many problems, including widespread poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and drug-related violence. Many of Mexico's ongoing problems - such as illegal immigration, environmental issues, and drug trafficking - also affect its northern neighbor, the United States. Mexican Facts and Figures is an overview that will tell you about Mexico's past and its present, while also providing statistical information about the country's 31 states and its federal district.