Saturday, October 2, 2021

"the Constitution did not allow Americans always to behave however they chose"

"The United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.

In 1777, smallpox was a big enough problem for the bedraggled American army that George Washington thought it could jeopardize the Revolution. An outbreak had already led to one American defeat, at the Battle of Quebec. To prevent more, Washington ordered immunizations — done quietly, so the British would not hear how many Americans were sick — for all troops who had not yet had the virus.

It worked. The number of smallpox cases plummeted, and Washington’s army survived a war of attrition against the world’s most powerful country. The immunization mandate, as Ron Chernow wrote in his 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Washington, “was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.”
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Health officials in Newark checked smallpox vaccination status in 1931.Credit...Bettmann, via Getty Images
Credit...Bettmann, via Getty Images

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