Comparing the Development of Race in the United States and Mexico.
British conquest of what would become the United States and the Spanish conquest of Mexico during the late 1400's into the early 1500's, would result in two very different racial structures. British conquest was primarily based on the need for raw materials, to send back to England to support their newly established capitalistic economic system. There was immediate confrontation between the settlers and the indigenous population, thus the birth of racism in the United States. In the early1700's, the need for cheap labor rapidly increased to support the flourishing plantations of the South. Africans would become the labor force of choice. In order to exploit their labor, the wealthy plantation owners would create an institutionalized system of white supremacy based on African slavery. This dominance of a white and wealthy class in the South, as well as the North to a lesser degree, would become the major racial trend through the end of the Civil War in 1865. It would later be reconfirmed after Reconstruction with a set of legislation known as the Jim Crow laws. .
Race in Mexico was not as "black and white" as in the United States, but more like many shades of brown. When the Spanish first arrived they did not attempt to completely abolish the indigenous population, but attempted to integrate into the already existing hierarchy. A strict caste system with many tiers was developed through implementation of the economienda and hacienda economic systems, with white Spanish descendants at the top of the social hierarchy and the "darker" blood at the bottom. Rather than institutionalizing racism, the Spanish focused on psychological ideology promoting white dominance, including the spread of Catholicism, its advanced technology, and the emergence of a new mestizo race. .
Racism in the United States can be traced back to the economic switch from feudalism to capitalism in England, which was becoming much more developed than Spain.