Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America
America is a smuggler nation. Its long history of illicit imports has ranged from West Indies molasses and Dutch gunpowder in the 18th century, to British industrial technologies and African slaves in the 19th century, to French condoms and Canadian booze in the early 20th century, to Mexican workers and Colombian cocaine in the modern era. In tracing America's long and tortuous relationship with the murky underworld of smuggling, this lecture provides an antidote to today's hyperbolic depictions of out of control borders and growing global crime threats. Urgent calls by politicians and pundits to regain control of US borders suffer from a severe case of historical amnesia, nostalgically implying that they were ever actually under control. This is pure mythology - for better and for worse, America's borders have always been highly porous.