Today America is the world’s leading anti-smuggling crusader. While honorable, that title is also an ironic one when you consider America’s very close history of… smuggling. Our illicit imports have 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. Simply put, America was built by smugglers.
In this video from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, Peter Andreas, author of Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America, explains America’s long relationship with smuggling and illicit trade.