Homeland Security Historic Approaches

By Todd Hand

The basic intentions of the United States homeland security policies over the 244 years of independence have never changed. Based on the United States Constitution , the responsibilities of protecting the citizens and their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness continues to be supported by the federal government. Changes in the scope, sources, and delivery of any threats have drastically changed over this time period. With these ever-changing threats, the need for legislation to address these dynamic challenges presents significant controversy within the scope of human and constitutional rights. The complicated task of designing these approaches to satisfy both of these needs remains a constant challenge for government.

Historic Review

America’s homeland security history involved many different governmental actions, usually acting independently in the protection of the fledging nation. Interestingly, the early national leaders displayed unusual perception in knowing how best to protect the American dream. Other than border nations, the United States needed protection from foreign invaders threatening from the coastlines. In 1790 the Secretary of the Treasury (Alexander Hamilton) was authorized to build ten cutters (small war ships) to patrol and protect the American coastline, thus the birth of Revenue-Marine, now known as the Coast Guard (USCG, 2020).

Post-independence, America naturally encouraged immigration until around the late 18...