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01/23/2007 Archived Entry: "Passports now required where none were before"

EXPECTED NEWS, BUT STILL WORTHY OF A SAD LITTLE SIGH. Today we lose yet another of our traditional freedoms: the ability to enter the U.S. without a passport after visiting Canada or Mexico. Land and sea travelers still have another year of that one little freedom. But if you fly, you've already lost.

BTW, the history of the passport isn't very savory. From Wikipedia on the history of passports:

Before the First World War, passports were not widely used for international travel, and in most areas few people had one. Crossing a border was usually very easy, and no supporting documentation or declarations were required. They were, however, commonly used for travel within a handful of states such as the Ottoman Empire and tsarist Russia, where they were commonly held documents. During the war European governments suddenly had an interest in preventing people with useful skills or potential manpower from leaving, and keeping out spies or other security threats, so passports were demanded at border crossings. After the war the new controls were not removed and became standard procedure, although not without controversy. British tourists of the 1920s complained about the new annoyances, and especially about the attached photographs and physical descriptions, which led to a "nasty dehumanization" in the words of one traveller.

Posted by Claire @ 12:46 PM CST

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