Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century

by Andrew Wender Cohen,
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 11, 2015

Smuggling is as American as apple pie. During the fiscal year 1872-1873, for example, the commissioner of customs estimated that 36,830 travelers smuggled nearly $130 million (about $2.4 billion today) in merchandise into the United States. And corporations found myriad ways to skirt tariffs, by bribing appraisers (who usually checked only one of every 10 crates) and undervaluing the goods they were importing.

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