Origins of NAFTA Ronald Reagan and the North American Union

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Excerpt from Ronald Reagan's Nov. 13, 1979 announcement of his candidacy for President of the United States, during which he outlines his vision for the economic unification of Canada, Mexico and the United States. The original broadcast is approx. 23:42 long and has been preserved in the archives of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The full-length video may be viewed in its entirety at the Reagan Foundation's official Youtube channel:


"We live on a continent whose three countries possess the assets to make it the most prosperous and self-sufficient area on earth. Within the borders of this North American continent are food, resources, technology, and undeveloped territory which properly managed could dramatically improve the quality of life of all its inhabitants.

"It's no accident that this unmatched potential for progress and prosperity exists in three countries with such long-standing heritages of free government, and so a developing closeness between Canada, Mexico, and the United States--a North American accord--would permit achievement of that potential in each country, beyond that which I believe any of us, strong as we are, could accomplish in the presence--or the absence, I should say--of such cooperation. In fact, the key to our own future security may lie in both Mexico and Canada become much stronger countries than they are today.

"No one can say, at this point, precisely what form future cooperation between our three countries will take, but if I am elected president, I would be willing to invite each of our neighbors to send a special representative to our government to sit in on high level planning sessions with us, as partners mutually concerned about the future of our continent. First, I would immediately seek the views and ideas of Canadian and Mexican leaders on this issue, and work tirelessly with them to develop closer ties among our peoples. It's time we stopped thinking of our nearest neighbors as foreigners.

"By developing methods of working closely together, we'll lay the foundations for future cooperation on a broader and more significant scale. We'll also put to rest any doubts of those cynical enough to believe that the United States would seek to dominate any relationship between our three countries, or foolish enough to think that the governments and peoples of Canada and Mexico would ever permit such a domination to occur.

"I for one am confident that we can show the world by example that the nations of North America are ready, within the context of an unswerving commitment to freedom, to seek new forms of accomodation to meet a changing world. A developing closeness between the United States, Canada and Mexico, would serve notice on friend and foe alike that we were prepared for the long haul, looking outward again, and confident of our future; that together, we're going to generate jobs, to create new fortunes of wealth for many, and provide a legacy for the children of each of our countries.

"Two hundred years ago we taught the world that a new form of government created out of the genius of man to cope with his circumstances could succeed in bringing a measure of quality to human life previously thought impossible. Now, let us work toward the goal of using the assets of this continent--its resources, technology and foodstuffs--in the most efficient ways possible for the common good of all its people. It may take the next hundred years, but we can dare to dream that at some future date, a map of the world might show the North American continent as one in which the peoples and commerce of its three strong countries flow freely across their present borders." (Ronald Reagan, Nov. 13, 1979)

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current09:05, October 14, 2015Thumbnail for version as of 09:05, October 14, 201504:17480 × 269 (18 KB)PatrickCunningham (wall | contribs)created video


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