North America is a continent in the northern and western hemisphere, bordered by the Artic, Atlantic, Pacific Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. Itis the 3rd largest continent in area (24,709,000 square kilometres) and 4th in population (524 million people). It is widely accepted that it was named after Amerigo Vespucci, the first European tosuggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a new world. ‘North America” may be interpreted differently throughout the world. In English, it often refers to the United States and Canadaexclusively, including Mexico only when referring to NAFTA. But in Latin America, it refers to the subcontinent of the Americas containing Canada, the United States and Mexico (as well as Greenland, StPierre and Miquelon, and Bermuda). Thus, North America it is not geographically limited, but we will consider in this essay that it refers to Canada, the US and Mexico.
There is no politicalintegration in North America like there is for example in the European Union. Each country has its own political system. Nevertheless Canada, the US and Mexico share a strong sense of democracy (as opposedto communism according to the Pan American Society) and liberalization (since the 1990s for Mexico), as well as being federal governments. Canada is a constitutional monarchy and a federal system ofparliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. The United States and the United States of Mexico are presidential, federal republics.
The union between these three countries has beenchallenged in the past as many conflicts show. In 1846-48, the US-Mexican War ended with Mexico losing almost half of its territory. Likewise, Canada faced conflicts with the US in its early years andthe War of 1812 saw the US invade British North America and be defeated.
The US long exerted its influence on the whole continent as many doctrines recall. In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine stated...