Changing Laws and Regulations
and Their Impact on Migration
STANLEY L. ENGERMAN
MIGRATION HAS long been an important phenomenon in human history, affecting not only those who moved, but also residents of the areas from and to which migrants traveled. 1 Movements, whether on a large scale or relatively minor, whether organized by nations, by groups moving together, or by individuals or families, have occurred in all parts of the world, over much of recorded time.
Attempts to measure and control migration are, however, of recent origin. Detailed measuring of the magnitude of migration, other than the transatlantic slave trade, began only with the development of transatlantic movements from Europe to North and South America, the simultaneous movements from west and central Europe to eastern Europe, including from Russia to Siberia, and the concurrent movements from Europe to Asia and Africa. These efforts to count migrants accompanied the development of the powerful nation-state, when increased attention was given to the causes, consequences, and means of influencing both immigration and emigration. Earlier controls, by mercantilist states, by China, and by others, tended to be concerned with emigration rather than immigration. Whether these new nation-states were subdivisions of a larger empire or consolidations of small provinces into one political unit, control over exit and entry became one of the major components of national sovereignty. Controls over mobility, whether newly created or a substitution for the earlier limitations of migration under feudalism, serfdom, and slavery, took many forms and responded to quite diverse circumstances. External, international migration became regulated in a manner that was different from the controls over internal migration within national borders.