This began to change rapidly in the 1920s. The newly formed League of Nations began meddling in the business of international travel and worked to standardize an international identification document that would be required by travelers to cross most borders.
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It wasn’t too long ago that nearly every human being lived their entire lives without traveling more than 10-miles from home. For the small handful of people who actually did venture out, you could make it across the globe with no official documents whatsoever.
The ominous phrase, “Papers, please”, was born from this standardization.
These days, international travel is big business for governments. Think about all the massive bureaucracies that have been created as a result of national borders: Immigration checkpoints. Customs. Border patrol. Passport offices. Even the IRS is involved in passport application procedures.
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