PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -The idea of smuggling might conjure up nefarious images, but has actually been an integral part of America’s economy.

Brown University Professor of Political Science Peter Andreas addresses this issue in his book “Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America.”

Andreas says smuggling played a big part in the formation of America during the Revolutionary War, saying the British’s “crackdown on smuggling provoked the American Revolution.”

One example is that one of the biggest exports at the time was rum, but the production of rum was dependent on the importing of molasses from the Caribbean, which was illegal at the time.

He also cites the Mexican-American War as a cause of smuggling because of an “influx of Americans” crossing into Mexico.

However, Andreas points to recent examples, such as illegally downloading music and movies. He notes that the difference between the two is that in the 19th century, it helped the economy, whereas today it hurts the economy.

Listen to Chris Moore Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Get The All New CBS Local App
KDKA Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE