President Proclaims Power to Impose Quarantine on Immigrants

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by wpe3bql, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. wpe3bql

    wpe3bql
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    "On this day (July 19) in 1884, President Chester Arthur issued a proclamation that granted him & the federal government the power to quarantine persons entering the US thought its ports of entry to avoid the spread of 'pestilence.' Although the proclamation used the word pestilence several times, it didn't mention the specific name of the dreaded disease from which Arthur was trying to protect the nation: tuberculosis.

    "Although individual states usually maintained their own quarantine laws, Arthur saw the need to broaden the federal government's powers to intervene in a national health crisis.

    "Arthur served as president during an economic depression, when the nation was already in a state of anxiety & fearful of a resurgence in immigration from Europe & Asia, where tuberculosis was epidemic. He advised cities along the coasts to 'resist the power of the disease & to mitigate its severity.' Without elaborating, Arthur was authorizing people to report to the federal government persons suspected of carrying highly contagious diseases.

    "Since the country's inception, several presidents have had to impose quarantine regulations. George Washington signed the 1st quarantine act in 1799 at a time when variations of the plague & smallpox still posed deadly threats. Foreign ships deemed in 'insanitary [sic] conditions' could be seized by federal officers & the passengers placed in quarantine at hospitals.

    "In 1918, 657,000 Americans were killed when a deadly worldwide pandemic called the 'Spanish Flu' swept through the nation. Some historical accounts claim that President Woodrow Wilson contracted this flu while in Paris for the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, although it's uncertain which strain of flu virus he had.

    "During his 1st term, President George W. Bush added Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which originated in China & threatened to spread like wildfire, to the list of diseases for which government quarantine procedures could be implemented. Currently, diseases caused by biological weapons, such as anthrax, or the deadly influenza virus carried by poultry & other birds pose an additional danger to the US."

    SOURCE: www.history.com/this-day-in-history...laims-power-to-impose-quaratine-on-immigrants
     

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