A look at the history of conflict in the united states

Native Americans in the United States This map shows the approximate location of the ice-free corridor and specific Paleoindian sites Clovis theory. It is not definitively known how or when the Native Americans first settled the Americas and the present-day United States. The prevailing theory proposes that people migrated from Eurasia across Beringiaa land bridge that connected Siberia to present-day Alaska during the Ice Ageand then spread southward throughout the Americas.

A look at the history of conflict in the united states

Smallpox appears to have been endemic in many countries throughout the world, dating back to ancient history 1.

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Smallpox epidemics were responsible for bringing about the end of at least three empires 3 and its potential for use as a biological weapon dates back to the French-Indian War when a British commander suggested using the virus to reduce the Indian population 4.

Smallpox was first brought to the New World by conquistadors from Spain and Portugal, and later by European settlers to the northeastern coast of North America. The virus had devastating effects on populations of Native Americans, including the Inca and Aztec tribes.

The slave trade contributed to the incidence of smallpox in America because the disease was endemic in many of the regions of Africa from which slaves were captured 2. Smallpox is not easily spread through casual contact 5but conditions of overcrowding and poor sanitation contributed to epidemics in the Northeast during the s and into the early s 6.

Estimates of the virulence of smallpox vary widely, and appear to be related to particular populations and environmental conditions of the time. Recovery from smallpox granted lifelong immunity, but survivors were often left with disfiguring scars that were especially prominent on the face.

Many people were rendered blind by smallpox due to scarring of the cornea 7. History of Vaccination The history of vaccination begins with attempts to reduce the number of people who died as a result of smallpox infection 3, 8. Inoculation against smallpox involved using a knife, lancet, or scalpel to make a cut in the arm or leg of the patient and then transferring biological matter taken directly from the oozing pustule of an infected person 9.

This process, called arm-to-arm inoculation, resulted in the inoculated person developing a form of the illness, but the course tended to be shorter in duration and milder in symptoms. Some people died as a result of inoculation, but those who recovered were immune to smallpox for life 2.

As the incidence of smallpox increased in North America during the s, inoculation or variolation, as the procedure had come to be known against the virus became more widely used 2. Two of the most well-known proponents of variolation were Rev.

Cotton Mather and Dr. Mather and Boylston performed and promoted the procedure among the citizens of New England, beginning in 1.

However, despite the success and popularity of the procedure, there were well-founded concerns about safety, due to the number of people who developed not only smallpox, but other blood-borne diseases including syphilis and tuberculosis as a result of undergoing variolation 2.

In the late s, a young English physician named Edward Jenner began experimenting with using cowpox virus to inoculate humans against smallpox 8. Jenner not only shared his knowledge through published literature, he also shared the vaccine itself, giving samples to other physicians and anyone else who requested it.

After introducing the vaccination in New England, professor Benjamin Waterhouse convinced Thomas Jefferson to try the vaccination in Virginia.

The first mandatory vaccination law in the United States was enacted in in Massachusetts, giving the government the power to enforce mandatory vaccination or quarantine in the event of a disease smallpox outbreak that posed a threat to the public health Throughout most of the s vaccination against smallpox in the United States was voluntary, though coercion was often used to convince citizens to receive the procedure.

To achieve this goal, Emery was granted the power to mandate vaccination and enforce quarantines for anyone who refused. The number of health department employees responsible for delivering vaccines e. However, according to reports published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper cited in Colgrove,as time went on, it became increasingly common for families to be quarantined without cause, even in the absence of any identified cases of infection.

Proprietors who failed to comply with the mandate were threatened with loss of licensure 6. Colgrove also notes that the effects of the depression most likely contributed to the zeal with which the vaccinators pursued their prey, as the administrators of the smallpox vaccine were paid thirty cents for each person they vaccinated.

In addition, there were frequent allegations that the vaccinators falsified death records in an effort to cover up the fact that their zealous activities were resulting in death for a percentage of those citizens they were charged with protecting 6.

Despite multiple challenges from the Anti-Vaccination League during the s in Brooklyn, the conflict leading to the seminal legal ruling regarding compulsory vaccination did not begin until the winter of and it took place in Boston, Massachusetts. The case of Jacobson v.

A look at the history of conflict in the united states

At trial, Jacobson presented evidence that vaccination was dangerous and frequently caused serious injury or death, and that he himself had been harmed by vaccination as a child.

Mandatory Vaccination as a Condition of School Attendance Many states had laws on the books regarding compulsory vaccination against smallpox as a prerequisite for school enrollment, beginning in the early 19th century The first recorded mandate in the U.

However, the laws were not widely enforced or challenged until the smallpox epidemic of 6. In a lawsuit was filed against the principal of a public school in Brooklyn, seeking admittance of the two children of a physician, Charles Walters.

Walters was involved with the Anti-Vaccination League and his children had not been vaccinated against smallpox 6. Despite the fact that court rulings had generally been decided in favor of the civil rights of adults who had challenged mandatory vaccination 6the earliest cases involving school attendance were decided in favor of the state and local authorities.

In the case of Walters v. Constitution in doing so. Massachusetts case of The Great Republic: Presidents and States of the United States of America, and Comments on American History.

A look at the history of conflict in the united states

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By Marcella Piper-Terry, M.S., founder of VaxTruth. This article presents an overview of the history of infectious disease in the United States as it relates to the development of U.S. policy regarding mandatory vaccination in general, and the requirement that children must be vaccinated prior to attendance in school.

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