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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images; Getty Images

In modern times, the idea of a moat as a defense sounds ridiculous. Fill that moat with snakes and alligators and you have the plot for a James Bond or Austin Powers film.

But that suggestion—a border moat with reptilian deterrents—is precisely what the President of the United States suggested. And not Presidents Martin Van Buren or Millard Fillmore—whose mid 19th century options were decidedly limited.

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