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Pox - An American History-logo

Pox - An American History

Michael Willrich

The untold story of how America's Progressive-era war on smallpox sparked one of the great civil liberties battles of the twentieth century. At the turn of the last century, a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast. The age-old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape: from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far-flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire. In Pox, award-winning historian Michael Willrich offers a gripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth century. At the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of great optimism about modern medicine, the government responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination. To enforce the law, public health authorities relied on quarantines, pesthouses, and "virus squads"-corps of doctors and club-wielding police. Though these measures eventually contained the disease, they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rights. At the time, anti-vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks, but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful government. While a well-organized anti-vaccination movement sprang up during these years, many Americans resisted in subtler ways-by concealing sick family members or forging immunization certificates. Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate, from Henning Jacobson, a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court, to C. P. Wertenbaker, a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly-and preventable-disease. As Willrich suggests, many of the questions first raised by the Pro

The untold story of how America's Progressive-era war on smallpox sparked one of the great civil liberties battles of the twentieth century. At the turn of the last century, a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast. The age-old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape: from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far-flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire. In Pox, award-winning historian Michael Willrich offers a gripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth century. At the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of great optimism about modern medicine, the government responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination. To enforce the law, public health authorities relied on quarantines, pesthouses, and "virus squads"-corps of doctors and club-wielding police. Though these measures eventually contained the disease, they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rights. At the time, anti-vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks, but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful government. While a well-organized anti-vaccination movement sprang up during these years, many Americans resisted in subtler ways-by concealing sick family members or forging immunization certificates. Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate, from Henning Jacobson, a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court, to C. P. Wertenbaker, a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly-and preventable-disease. As Willrich suggests, many of the questions first raised by the Pro
More Information

Genres:

History

Description:

The untold story of how America's Progressive-era war on smallpox sparked one of the great civil liberties battles of the twentieth century. At the turn of the last century, a powerful smallpox epidemic swept the United States from coast to coast. The age-old disease spread swiftly through an increasingly interconnected American landscape: from southern tobacco plantations to the dense immigrant neighborhoods of northern cities to far-flung villages on the edges of the nascent American empire. In Pox, award-winning historian Michael Willrich offers a gripping chronicle of how the nation's continentwide fight against smallpox launched one of the most important civil liberties struggles of the twentieth century. At the dawn of the activist Progressive era and during a moment of great optimism about modern medicine, the government responded to the deadly epidemic by calling for universal compulsory vaccination. To enforce the law, public health authorities relied on quarantines, pesthouses, and "virus squads"-corps of doctors and club-wielding police. Though these measures eventually contained the disease, they also sparked a wave of popular resistance among Americans who perceived them as a threat to their health and to their rights. At the time, anti-vaccinationists were often dismissed as misguided cranks, but Willrich argues that they belonged to a wider legacy of American dissent that attended the rise of an increasingly powerful government. While a well-organized anti-vaccination movement sprang up during these years, many Americans resisted in subtler ways-by concealing sick family members or forging immunization certificates. Pox introduces us to memorable characters on both sides of the debate, from Henning Jacobson, a Swedish Lutheran minister whose battle against vaccination went all the way to the Supreme Court, to C. P. Wertenbaker, a federal surgeon who saw himself as a medical missionary combating a deadly-and preventable-disease. As Willrich suggests, many of the questions first raised by the Pro

Language:

English

Narrators:

K. Todd Freeman

Length:

14h 8m


Chapters

Introduction
Introduction

35:41


Chapter 1
Chapter 1

30:34


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

30:10


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

14:55


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

23:04


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

13:00


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

33:01


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

22:43


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

26:23


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

29:26


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

16:33


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

17:07


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

30:08


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

36:21


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

38:03


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

35:17


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

35:58


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

20:00


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

22:28


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

25:33


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

14:24


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

17:01


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

14:35


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

10:39


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

03:30


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

12:35


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

28:31


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

30:29


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

28:06


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

18:26


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

18:40


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

21:05


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

32:46


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

23:39


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

15:39


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

22:02