American Legal History

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EmilyProject 29 - 07 Sep 2011 - Main.IanSullivan
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  Progress update: I'm done, I think. Comments and suggestions from all quarters welcome. Also classmates: if you have time on your hands, would you be able to help me out with some research tips

EmilyProject 28 - 08 May 2010 - Main.EbenMoglen
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Progress update: I'm done, I think. Comments and suggestions from all quarters welcome.
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Also classmates: if you have time on your hands, would you be able to help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future? http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp
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Also classmates: if you have time on your hands, would you be able to help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future?
 

Outline

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 I was grateful for the procedural suggestions I received on this project, and have condensed them on this page: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp
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This is superb work, Emily, achieving all that can be hoped, except brevity. This article conveys what can be known, attached to the references necessary to form an opinion, along with some interpretive opinions judiciously formed. Thank you for the intelligence and commitment with which you pursued both your own research and the task of making it useful to others.
 

Links to uploaded sources (others hyperlinked in text above)


EmilyProject 27 - 30 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: I'm done, I think. Comments and suggestions from all quarters welcome. Also classmates: if you have time on your hands, would you be able to help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future? http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp
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Timeline with linked sources

1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations(at p 313).
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1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow fever; and first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
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1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health, with statutory sunset clause of 1883; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow fever; and first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
 
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881.
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and expenditures report 1881-2.
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues; cholera epidemic breaks out in Europe; annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas; message from the President 1882; report for 1882 Bill; State petitioners' response; and Board comments on immigrant inspections.
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1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; annual report for 1883; and expenditures report 1883-4.
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1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; annual report for 1883; and expenditures report 1883-4.
 
1884 Cholera epidemic in Europe widely feared to spread to America; letter concerning Board functions ; appropriation 1884; annual report for 1884; last meeting of the Board in November 1884.
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; annual report for 1885; administration of President Cleveland begins.
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; report of the Commerce Committee 1886.
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The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)
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On 2 June 1879, the Act creating the National Board of Health came into effect, accompanied by a very large appropriation of $50,000.
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On 2 June 1879, the Act creating the National Board of Health came into effect, accompanied by a very large appropriation of $50,000. Section 10 of this Act was a 'sunset clause', providing that the Act would expire four years after the date of its approval (June 2 1883).
 

State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') set out a two-step process. First, it encouraged the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allowed the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. A fair analytical conclusion is that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, constituted an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
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 The Supreme Court in Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime Secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government for services he had performed for the Board in the absence of specific Congressional grants for this purpose. This case was brought several years after the Board had ceased to exist. It contains a very clear timeline of Congressional appropriations, a clear ruling that Mr Dunwoody was not entitled to the funds he claimed, and no description at all of anything outside the legal skeleton of the Board's history.
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Even though the Board was passed with an initially large appropriation, not all this money was spent. Instead, Congress passed a series of subsequent appropriation Bills for smaller amounts, and in one included a clause stating that no money other than these new appropriations was to be spent on the Board's activities. Clashes over funding also existed prior to 1893: in 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
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Even though the Board was passed with an initially large appropriation, not all this money was spent. Instead, Congress passed a series of subsequent appropriation Bills for smaller amounts, and in one included a clause stating that no money other than these new appropriations was to be spent on the Board's activities. Clashes over funding existed from the early days of the Board: in 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).

As discussed above, the Act creating the Board expired on June 2, 1883. There was clearly some movement to continue the Board with expanded powers, given its positive early activities (reference link). In 1883 there was a Bill drafted to expand the Board's powers and repeal the sunset clause, but it was never passed (the full text of the Bill can be found in the Board's annual report for 1884, at p 16). Instead of passing this Bill, Congress chose to pass diminishing appropriations, with the result that the 1884 and 1885 Board annual reports devote a large amount of time lamenting the activities the Board had been forced to curtail due to lack of funding. Eventually no more Congressional funding was forthcoming, and the Board ceased all activities. Its final meeting was in November 1884, and final annual report was for 1885.

 The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that: It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past.
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 The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close and mutually beneficial cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and demonstrate a genuine-seeming interest in strengthening State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). I think the better view is that State resistance to the National Board's efforts probably did not originate specifically in the State Boards of Health, but was a reflection of more general attitudes and trends. There is also some evidence of some State-level authorities preferring their autochthonous regulatory infrastructure and quarantine procedures: see e.g. The Daily Picayune, (New Orleans) 1-17-1884 'The Defunct National Board of Health' p 4.
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Overall, I think the federalist analysis is the best lens through which to analyze the decline of the Board. In 1893 the centralizing forces, which had peaked in response to the chaos of the 1879 yellow fever epidemic, were outweighed by the interests of local and regional autonomy. In the slightly longer term, however, countervailing forces meant that many of the National Board's core functions were returned to a national level after its demise.
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Overall, I think the federalist analysis is the best lens through which to analyze the decline of the Board. In 1883 the centralizing forces, which had peaked in response to the chaos of the 1879 yellow fever epidemic, were outweighed by the interests of local and regional autonomy. In the slightly longer term, however, countervailing forces meant that many of the National Board's core functions were returned to a national level after its demise.
 

After the Board

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 The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. In some ways it is surprising that a national response to foreign-originated epidemics and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that could have a potentially significant effect on trade between States as the Louisiana v Texas case demonstrates. Also, the broad swathe of topics that were regarded as relating to 'health' was probably threatening to many States' sense of sovereignty without a tightly-focused mandate, which the Board had in its theoretical statutory functions but not in its operational practice. Even today, with the federal government exercising power that was not contemplated in the nineteenth century, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation (beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management) is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
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An even more important historical lesson from studying the Board, however, is its function signaling a national commitment to both preventative medicine and medical research. In a short span of years, both would take root in America on a scale to match even the optimistic predictions of the people involved in the Board's administration. Moreover the National Board of Health, even during the twilight of its chronically underfunded life, was instrumental in sparking and encouraging a layered regulatory commitment to public health measures. Its efforts and the ripple effects of these efforts undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, and improved sanitary conditions for most Americans far beyond the levels they had been at when the Board came into existence. The many advocates of the National Board of Health and its work may have lost a battle for its renewal in 1893, but they went on to secure many more significant victories in the war for the health of Americans.
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An even more important historical lesson from studying the Board, however, is its function signaling a national commitment to both preventative medicine and medical research. In a short span of years, both would take root in America on a scale to match even the optimistic predictions of the people involved in the Board's administration. Moreover the National Board of Health, even during the twilight of its chronically underfunded life, was instrumental in sparking and encouraging a layered regulatory commitment to public health measures. Its efforts and the ripple effects of these efforts undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, and improved sanitary conditions for most Americans far beyond the levels they had been at when the Board came into existence. The many advocates of the National Board of Health and its work may have lost a battle for its renewal in 1883, but they went on to secure many more significant victories in the war for the health of Americans.
 

Table of quarantine Acts

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EmilyProject 26 - 28 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still under construction. But the work feels like it is reaching an analytical plateau, I think I'll be able to call this finished (pending comments) within the next week or so - 01/27/10.

If you have time on your hands, help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future?: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp

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Progress update: I'm done, I think. Comments and suggestions from all quarters welcome. Also classmates: if you have time on your hands, would you be able to help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future? http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp
 

Outline

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 The 19th Century brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the time frame in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s).
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The literature during the 1870s reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and cures. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
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The literature during the 1870s reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and cures. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in this project's time period came the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations.
 
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water, see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4).
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water, see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4). Writers of the period could look back on historical knowledge and favorably compare very recent advances. For an interesting overview of quarantine history and experience in countries other than America around this time, see this book written by the Assistant Surgeon-General of the United States in 1903.
 It should be remembered that each change in quarantine regulations could have significant commercial impact. For instance, a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides, cotton, wool or food could face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.

Nonetheless, the scientific understanding of transmission was incomplete for many diseases. For instance, until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics that would have been only partially effective:Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879). In the face of debate and ongoing technical uncertainty, undoubtedly there were regulations adopted based on commercial convenience or local rent-seeking as much as scientific advancement.

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Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
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Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to government regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
 
Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth's surface as the United States.
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Until quite recently, very little has been done in this country towards increasing our knowledge of the causes of diseases by observation and experimentation towards that end ; We have not had the statistical data, such as the registration system of Great Britain provides, nor the laboratories for experimentation in comparative physiology and pathology such as are to be found in Germany, nor the trained statisticians and scientific observers who could make proper use of these things if we had them. All these, however, will come; some of them are now here. For the most part they can only be provided by governments, their cost and the length of time required to produce really valuable results, placing them beyond the reach of individual effort.
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The move to create the National Board of Health should be understood in this context of favorable opinion towards State regulation and overall coordination favoring a national approach to epidemic prevention and management.
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The move to create the National Board of Health should be understood in this context of favorable opinion towards governmental regulation and overall coordination favoring a national approach to epidemic prevention and management.
 

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

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Timeline with linked sources

1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations(at p 313).
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1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow feverand first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
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1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow fever; and first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
 
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881.
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1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2.
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues; annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas; message from the President 1882; report for 1882 Bill; State petitioners' response; and Board comments on immigrant inspections.
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1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and expenditures report 1881-2.
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues; cholera epidemic breaks out in Europe; annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas; message from the President 1882; report for 1882 Bill; State petitioners' response; and Board comments on immigrant inspections.
 
1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; annual report for 1883; and expenditures report 1883-4.
1884 Cholera epidemic in Europe widely feared to spread to America; letter concerning Board functions ; appropriation 1884; annual report for 1884; last meeting of the Board in November 1884.
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; annual report for 1885; administration of President Cleveland begins.
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1898 Creation of federal Department of Public Health

Early moves to create a National Board of Health

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There had been discussion among the public and professional societies of creating a National Board of Health since at least the early 1870s. This newspaper article canvassing the possibility of a National Board, for instance, is dated 18 October 1873 Public Ledger, Philadelphia National Board Vol LXXVI, issue 22, p 1.
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There had been discussion among the public and professional societies of creating a National Board of Health since at least the early 1870s. This newspaper article canvassing the possibility of a National Board, for instance, is dated 18 October 1873 Public Ledger, (Philadelphia) 'National Board' Vol LXXVI, issue 22, p 1.
 Nothing concrete came from this discussion until late 1878, when there was a convention of the public health association in Virginia. It seems that this convention shaped the discussion sufficiently to draw a proposal for a National Board to Congressional attention. It took the yellow fever epidemic in 1878, however, to provide the impetus to secure legislation and national funding for the Board.

The 1878 yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

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Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States. There were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response. In 1878, Congress passed an Act that came to be known as the Woodworth law, allowing the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Services under the Secetary of the Treasury to frame quarantine regulations. This had no appropriation attached to it, but was the United States' first national quarantine law (link).
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Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States. There were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response. In 1878, Congress passed an Act that came to be known as the Woodworth law after Dr John Woodworth of the Marine Hospital Service, allowing the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Services under the Secetary of the Treasury to frame quarantine regulations. This had no appropriation attached to it, but was the United States' first national quarantine law (link).
 Another national form of the yellow fever response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A nationally co-ordinated solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
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 On 2 June 1879, the Act creating the National Board of Health came into effect, accompanied by a very large appropriation of $50,000.

State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

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Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
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Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') set out a two-step process. First, it encouraged the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allowed the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. A fair analytical conclusion is that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, constituted an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
 
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State boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a board. It had a State Board of Health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases. 'Public health has a vast deal to do with public morals, and immorality is the most fatal blow struck at the public health' noted a report on the convention establishing the National Board of Health in Virginia, just as the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 struck Galveston News, Galveston Texas, 11-25-1878, p 2 'The National Board of Health'.
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State boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a board. It had a State Board of Health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the boards of health were broader than we would associate with 'health' today, including the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases. 'Public health has a vast deal to do with public morals, and immorality is the most fatal blow struck at the public health' noted a report on the health convention in Virginia, just as the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 struck: Galveston News, Galveston Texas, 11-25-1878, p 2 'The National Board of Health'.
 
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The National Board of Health was modeled on the existing State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).
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The National Board of Health was modeled on the existing State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. In practice it appears that many of the functions of the Board, for instance in relation to regulations and foreign ports, were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal boards of health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long-established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).
 The Board was composed of one medical officer from the Army; one from the Navy; one from the Marine Hospital Service. There were also seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, not more than one from any State.
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It is clear that the early efforts of the Board had a significant effect on the yellow fever ********** [http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/pub/AmLegalHist/EmilyProject/Repeal_of_sunset_clause_extension_of_Board_1882.pdf][Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883]; annual report for 1884
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It is clear that the early efforts of the Board had a significant effect on the yellow fever epidemic of 1878-9 (reference link 1 and link 2). By 1879, although there were many infections and deaths, the spread of the epidemic had been largely contained, and the economic and social effects were contained within a narrow area, rather than spreading to the entire nation. It can also fairly be argued that the Board's efforts to secure quarantine uniformity and spread scientific advances prevented the prevented the spread of cholera to the United States in the mid 1890s, which was a severe pandemic in parts of Europe and most of South America at that time (reference link).
 
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De-funding, and motives

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Board de-funding, and decline

 
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The Supreme Court in Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime Secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board. This case was brought several years after the Board had ceased to exist. It contains a very clear timeline of Congressional appropriations, a clear ruling that Mr Dunwoody was not entitled to the funds he claimed, and no description at all of anything outside the legal skeleton of the Board's history.
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The Supreme Court in Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime Secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government for services he had performed for the Board in the absence of specific Congressional grants for this purpose. This case was brought several years after the Board had ceased to exist. It contains a very clear timeline of Congressional appropriations, a clear ruling that Mr Dunwoody was not entitled to the funds he claimed, and no description at all of anything outside the legal skeleton of the Board's history.
 
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Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
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Even though the Board was passed with an initially large appropriation, not all this money was spent. Instead, Congress passed a series of subsequent appropriation Bills for smaller amounts, and in one included a clause stating that no money other than these new appropriations was to be spent on the Board's activities. Clashes over funding also existed prior to 1893: in 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
 The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that: It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past.
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These are words alluding to well-known and perhaps serious controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. Speculation is thus necessary, and can take several forms. The Board's own reasoning is a defensible starting point. At times, its 1884 report waxes cynical with realpolitik considerations: 'the absence of epidemic among the people has resulted in the postponement of much-needed legislation'
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These are words alluding to well-known and perhaps serious controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not fully apparent from the historical sources I have collected. Speculation is thus necessary, and can take several forms. The Board's own reasoning is a defensible starting point. At times, its 1884 report waxes cynical with realpolitik considerations: 'the absence of epidemic among the people has resulted in the postponement of much-needed legislation.'
 
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Potentially, the change to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations for the Board. There is some evidence that the Board of Health in its early days was supported by business interests:
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Potentially, the change of administration to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations for the Board. There is some evidence that the Board of Health in its early days was supported by business interests:
 
'The great transportation companies of the South, both river and rail, are unanimous in their approval of the action and method of the Board [in the 1879 yellow fever epidemic], because experience has shown that they give the necessary security against the spread of disease, without stopping, or retarding to any considerable extent, commercial intercourse' (link)
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It is possible that the transportation companies continued to support the Board by the new political administration was less concerned with pleasing this constituency when the yellow fever crisis seemed to have abated. Against this reading, it is noteworthy that the funding gap for the Board predates the change of political leadership.
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It is possible that the transportation companies continued to support the Board but the new political administration was less concerned with pleasing this constituency when the yellow fever crisis seemed to have abated. Against this reading, it is noteworthy that the funding gap for the Board predates the change of political leadership.
 Another possibility is that of military views of health management clashing with civilian ones. One of the more expensive projects of the National Board of Health was the creation of the Ship Island quarantine station. A report for the Bill dismantling this station reveals that the United States Marine Hospital Service opposed this station from the outset (link and compare the report establishing the station). If construed along these lines, it is possibly significant that the 1893 Act, some time after the Board had been in practice abolished, vested its powers in the Marine Hospital Service(link), a strategy not favored by the American Public Health Organization (link). Against this reading is the presence of Army, Navy and Marine Hospital Officers on the Board, although they would not have been a majority.
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Finally, State-level interests may have created a backlash against the nationalization of the Board's functions. Dissent to the Board existed since its inception. In early 1879 when the Board's founding Act was before Congress, a newspaper in Cincinnatti, Ohio, crowed 'National Board of Health Project likely to fail', stating 'the General Government is becoming so burdened with bureaus of all sorts, and officers multiplied with fat pay and little to do, that strong opposition is developed among the members...':The Cincinnati Commercial, 02-08-1879 Vol XXXIX Issue 149 p 3.
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Finally, State-level interests may have created a backlash against the nationalization of the Board's functions. Dissent to the Board existed since its inception. In early 1879 when the Board's founding Act was before Congress, a newspaper in Cincinnatti, Ohio, crowed 'National Board of Health Project likely to fail', stating 'the General Government is becoming so burdened with bureaus of all sorts, and officers multiplied with fat pay and little to do, that strong opposition is developed among the members...': The Cincinnati Commercial, 02-08-1879, Vol XXXIX, Issue 149, p 3.
 
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Perhaps better evidence of entrenched interests is demonstrated by the careful crafting of the Board's initial functions, which, as I have argued above, reveals a keen attention to the State/Federal balance. Additionally, the report recommending the repeal of the Board's sunset clause is clearly drafted with a mind to alleviate concerns about Congressional power under the commerce clause (link, see eg pp 4,5). Note that the 1884 report of the Board makes it clear that the prevailing constitutional interpretation was that Congress did not have the power to authorize a national compliance certificate that, once obtained, would guarantee a vessel entry into any State. Instead, State police powers were considered to trump a federal quarantine certification.
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Perhaps better evidence of entrenched interests is demonstrated by the careful crafting of the Board's initial functions, which, as I have noted above, reveals a keen attention to the state/federal balance. Additionally, the report recommending the repeal of the Board's sunset clause is clearly drafted with a mind to alleviate concerns about Congressional power under the commerce clause (link, see e.g. pp 4,5). Note that the 1884 report of the Board makes it clear that the prevailing constitutional interpretation was that Congress did not have the power to authorize a national compliance certificate that, once obtained, would guarantee a vessel entry into any State. Instead, State police powers were considered to trump a federal quarantine certification.
 In 1882, some petitioners in New York and Massachusetts were anxious enough about protecting State interests in health that they petitioned the Senate to prevent the Board gaining 'vice' powers (link). The official reply was that the Board's powers were very narrow, but it is clear from the Board's annual reports that it undertook investigations into matters such as livestock health and sewers, as well as its more publicized work on cholera, smallpox and yellow fever quarantine measures.
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The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close and mutually beneficial cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and demonstrate a genuine-seeming interest in strengthening State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). I think the better view is that State resistance to the National Board's efforts probably did not originate specifically in the State Boards of Health, but was a reflection of more general attitudes and trends. There is also some evidence of some State-level authorities preferring their autochthonuos regulatory infrastructure and quarantine procedures: see eg The Daily Picayune, New Orleans Louisiana, p 4 1-17-1884 'The Defunct National Board of Health'.
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The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close and mutually beneficial cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and demonstrate a genuine-seeming interest in strengthening State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). I think the better view is that State resistance to the National Board's efforts probably did not originate specifically in the State Boards of Health, but was a reflection of more general attitudes and trends. There is also some evidence of some State-level authorities preferring their autochthonous regulatory infrastructure and quarantine procedures: see e.g. The Daily Picayune, (New Orleans) 1-17-1884 'The Defunct National Board of Health' p 4.
 Overall, I think the federalist analysis is the best lens through which to analyze the decline of the Board. In 1893 the centralizing forces, which had peaked in response to the chaos of the 1879 yellow fever epidemic, were outweighed by the interests of local and regional autonomy. In the slightly longer term, however, countervailing forces meant that many of the National Board's core functions were returned to a national level after its demise.

After the Board

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The Woodworth law of 1878 remained in operation after the National Board, allowing the promulgation of national quarantine standards from the Marine Hosptial Service. This was the federal compromise: allowing some national coordination but in a very narrowly confined area, unlike the broader interests of the Board.

In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 granting more powers to the Marine Hospital Service link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, formally repealing the now defunct National Board of Health.

The last report of the Board in 1885 takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.

The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States. The 1884 report the previous year stated that there were 27 State boards of health, and noted the rapid increase in State and local preventative health measures sparked and facilitated by the National Board.

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The Woodworth law of 1878 remained in operation after the National Board, allowing the promulgation of national quarantine standards from the Marine Hospital Service. This was the federal compromise: allowing some national coordination but in a very narrowly confined area, unlike the broader interests of the Board.
 
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Court Response

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In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reported that this anxiety prompted the passage of the quarantine act in 1893 granting more powers to the Marine Hospital Service (link, at p 265.) A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, (link). The Surgeon General, perhaps astutely, did not comment on section 9 of the Act which formally repealed the now-defunct National Board of Health.
 
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The last report of the Board in 1885 took a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' (link).
 
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Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
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The 1885 report asserts that 32 of the States had boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States, and 32 is thus a sizable proportion of the whole nation. The Board's 1884 report the previous year tallied only 27 State boards of health, and noted the rapid increase in State and local preventative health measures sparked and facilitated by the National Board.
 
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Local measures were thus the preferred mechanism of public health in the Board's immediate aftermath. The problems of managing quarantine mostly at a State and local level, however, became clearer over time. Eventually the Supreme Court considered a case relating to the Texan embargo on interstate trade during a yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The plaintiff State declared the quarantine measures unwarranted and unfair: Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900). The Court point-blank refused to get involved, ruling that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). Overall the potential for retaliatory action and animosity in the absence of national coordination from Congress or the federal judiciary must have been significant.
 
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In 1905 there was a significant outbreak of yellow fever in the Southern States. In response Congress passed an Act in 1906 consolidating federal control over quarantine stations and regulations, and imposing fines and jail penalties for non-compliance with the federal regulations, including those made under the 1893 Act (link). Once again in response to an epidemic, the forces of collective organization won out over those of State autonomy.
 

Conclusions

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The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. In some ways it is surprising that a national response to foreign-originated epidemics and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that could have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed above). Also, the broad swathe of topics that were regarded as relating to 'health' was probably threatening to many States' sense of sovereignty without a tightly focused mandate, which the Board had in its theoretical statutory functions but not in its operational practice. Even today, with the federal government exercising power that was not contemplated in the nineteenth century, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation (beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management) is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
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The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. In some ways it is surprising that a national response to foreign-originated epidemics and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that could have a potentially significant effect on trade between States as the Louisiana v Texas case demonstrates. Also, the broad swathe of topics that were regarded as relating to 'health' was probably threatening to many States' sense of sovereignty without a tightly-focused mandate, which the Board had in its theoretical statutory functions but not in its operational practice. Even today, with the federal government exercising power that was not contemplated in the nineteenth century, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation (beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management) is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
 
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An even more important historical lesson from studying the Board, however, is its function signaling a national commitment to both preventative medicine and medical research. In a short span of years, both would take root in America on a scale to match even the optimistic predictions of the people involved in the Board's administration. Moreover the National Board of Health, even during the twilight of its chronically underfunded life, was instrumental in sparking and encouraging a layered regulatory commitment to public health measures. Its efforts and the ripple effects of these efforts undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, and improved sanitary conditions for most Americans far beyond the levels they had been at when the Board came into existence. The many advocates of the National Board of Health and its work may have lost a battle for its renewal in 1893, but they went on to secure many far more significant victories in the war for the health of Americans.
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An even more important historical lesson from studying the Board, however, is its function signaling a national commitment to both preventative medicine and medical research. In a short span of years, both would take root in America on a scale to match even the optimistic predictions of the people involved in the Board's administration. Moreover the National Board of Health, even during the twilight of its chronically underfunded life, was instrumental in sparking and encouraging a layered regulatory commitment to public health measures. Its efforts and the ripple effects of these efforts undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, and improved sanitary conditions for most Americans far beyond the levels they had been at when the Board came into existence. The many advocates of the National Board of Health and its work may have lost a battle for its renewal in 1893, but they went on to secure many more significant victories in the war for the health of Americans.
 
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Acts

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Table of quarantine Acts

 
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1878 'Woodworth Act' allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations (link, at p 313).
1879 'An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health' 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484 (scanned link), (google books link at p 230).
1893 "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. (scanned link);(google books link) Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.
1906 The last of the Acts to entrench a national quarantine system. Although the substance of and responsibility for quarantine have changed since 1906, this Act was the capstone of a national regulatory approach that persists to the present time (link).
 
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1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.

2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.

 

Odds and (dead) ends

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Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.'

The Australian constitution was drafted in the era under examination in this project (coming into effect in 1901).While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine (s 51(ix)). link to pdf. I had speculated that there might have been some connection. However, Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section, does not give more emphasis to the U.S. examples than those in Candada or Great Britain. links. (A link with the specific page references appears in the table below)

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The Australian constitution was drafted in the era under examination in this project (coming into effect in 1901).While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine (s 51(ix)). link to pdf. I had speculated that there might have been some connection. However, Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section, does not give more emphasis to the U.S. examples than those in Canada or Great Britain. links. (A link with the specific page references appears in the table below)
 
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Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form. Answer for the use of others: Sometimes the juggernaut of google books delivers here, too. Many old annual reports of various agencies, boards and societies include the text of recent bills.

-- EmilyByrne - 4 Jan 2010

Hi Emily! I tried to add a comment in the 'comment' box but it didn't show up anywhere on the page afterwards, so I've resorted to just editing your page directly - I hope that's okay. Anyway, I'm not sure whether this is the type of thing you're looking for with regard to early acts of Congress, but it might be useful as a primary source database in any case:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/

Good luck!

Angela Chen

Hey Emily, here's a link to an article (sorry not a primary source) on race, immigration, disease and law at turn-of-century. at least points to some potentially useful federal case law and hopefully other useful directions -- Andrew http://www.jstor.org/stable/828412?seq=1

-- AndrewKerr - 05 Dec 2009

Thanks Angela! That's very close to what I was looking for, only just for a slightly later date range to cover the 1890s. But I think your link will be very helpful regardless. And thanks Andrew! I hadn't even begun to think about the role race and immigration concerns would play into this, except at a really general level. And the article is really interesting. Emily

-- EmilyByrne - 14 Dec 2009

 
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I was grateful for the procedural suggestions I received on this project, and have condensed them on this page: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp
 

Links to uploaded sources (others hyperlinked in text above)


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Timeline with linked sources

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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations(at p 313).
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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations(at p 313).
 
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow feverand first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881.
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2.
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State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
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State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases. 'Public health has a vast deal to do with public morals, and immorality is the most fatal blow struck at the public health' noted a report on the convention establishing the National Board of Health in Virginia, just as the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 struck Galveston News, Galveston Texas, 11-25-1878, p 2 'The National Board of Health'.
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State boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a board. It had a State Board of Health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases. 'Public health has a vast deal to do with public morals, and immorality is the most fatal blow struck at the public health' noted a report on the convention establishing the National Board of Health in Virginia, just as the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 struck Galveston News, Galveston Texas, 11-25-1878, p 2 'The National Board of Health'.
 The National Board of Health was modeled on the existing State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).

The Board was composed of one medical officer from the Army; one from the Navy; one from the Marine Hospital Service. There were also seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, not more than one from any State.

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It is clear that the early efforts of the Board had a significant effect on the yellow fever ********** [http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/pub/AmLegalHist/EmilyProject/Repeal_of_sunset_clause_extension_of_Board_1882.pdf][Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883]; annual report for 1884
 

De-funding, and motives

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The Supreme Court in Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime Secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board. This case was brought several years after the Board had ceased to exist. It contains a very clear timeline of Congressional appropriations, a clear ruling that Mr Dunwoody was not entitled to the funds he claimed, and no description at all of anything outside the legal skeleton of the Board's history.
 Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).

The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that: It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past.

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Court Response

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Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board.
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  Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.

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Outline

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This project examines United States quarantine laws between the late 1870s and the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This timeframe spans several epidemics of yellow fever, cholera and smallpox, the first national laws addressing quarantine, and the creation of a federal body called the National Board of Health.
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This project examines United States quarantine laws from the 1870s until the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This time frame spans several epidemics of yellow fever, cholera and smallpox, the first national laws addressing quarantine, and the creation of a federal body called the National Board of Health.
 
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The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It came close to being revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883, due to its excellent performance. But it was not ultimately revived.
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The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It came close to being revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883, due to its excellent performance. But it was not ultimately revived.
 
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After three more years of existence in the shadow of the 1879 Act, with a series of rapidly diminishing grants, the Board failed. I was drawn to this project primarily out of curiosity as to why it failed, and what if anything could be inferred from its failure about systemic State and federal tensions. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws and the federal Department of Health.
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After three more years of existence in the shadow of the 1879 Act, with a series of exponentially diminishing grants, the National Board of Health failed. I was drawn to this project primarily out of curiosity as to why it failed, and what if anything could be inferred from its failure about systemic State and federal tensions. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws and the federal Department of Health.
 
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Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

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Background: disease and quarantine in the late 19th century

 
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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s).
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The 19th Century brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the time frame in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s).
 
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The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
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The literature during the 1870s reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and cures. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
 
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water) (see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4).
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water, see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4).
 
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It should be remembered that each change in regulations could have significant commercial impact. For instance, a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides or cotton or wool or food would face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.
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It should be remembered that each change in quarantine regulations could have significant commercial impact. For instance, a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides, cotton, wool or food could face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.
 
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Nonetheless, the scientific understanding of transmission was incomplete for many diseases. For instance, until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics that would have been largely ineffective.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879). In the face of this ongoing uncertainty, undoubtedly there were regulations adopted based on commercial convenience as much as scientific advancement.
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Nonetheless, the scientific understanding of transmission was incomplete for many diseases. For instance, until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics that would have been only partially effective:Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879). In the face of debate and ongoing technical uncertainty, undoubtedly there were regulations adopted based on commercial convenience or local rent-seeking as much as scientific advancement.
 Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
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Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.
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Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth's surface as the United States.
  Mr Bowdich went on to become one of the original members of the National Board of Health in 1879.
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This attitude extended into the 1880s. Here is an address from the Army Surgeon John S Billings, President of the Sanitarian
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This attitude extended into the 1880s. Here is an address from the Army Surgeon John S Billings, President of the Sanitarian (link):
 
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Until quite recently, very little has been done in this country towards increasing our knowledge of the causes of diseases by observation and experimentation towards that end … We have not had the statistical data, such as the registration system of Great Britain provides, nor the laboratories for experimentation in comparative physiology and pathology such as are to be found in Germany, nor the trained statisticians and scientific observers who could make proper use of these things if we had them. All these, however, will come; some of them are now here. For the most part they can only be provided by governments, their cost and the length of time required to produce really valuable results, placing them beyond the reach of individual effort.
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Until quite recently, very little has been done in this country towards increasing our knowledge of the causes of diseases by observation and experimentation towards that end ; We have not had the statistical data, such as the registration system of Great Britain provides, nor the laboratories for experimentation in comparative physiology and pathology such as are to be found in Germany, nor the trained statisticians and scientific observers who could make proper use of these things if we had them. All these, however, will come; some of them are now here. For the most part they can only be provided by governments, their cost and the length of time required to produce really valuable results, placing them beyond the reach of individual effort.
  The move to create the National Board of Health should be understood in this context of favorable opinion towards State regulation and overall coordination favoring a national approach to epidemic prevention and management.

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Timeline with linked sources

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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations..
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; Original statute establishing the National Board of Health; and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations(at p 313).
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; original statute establishing the National Board of Health; letter from the Board requesting Navy refrigeration vessels for combating yellow feverand first annual report of the Board, for 1879.
 
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881.
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2.
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues ;annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas; message from the President 1882; report for 1882 Bill; State petitioners' response; and Board comments on immigrant inspections.
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1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883; and Expenditures report 1883-4.
1884 Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America; letter concerning Board functions ; Appropriation 1884; annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; annual report for 1885; administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
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1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; annual report for 1883; and expenditures report 1883-4.
1884 Cholera epidemic in Europe widely feared to spread to America; letter concerning Board functions ; appropriation 1884; annual report for 1884; last meeting of the Board in November 1884.
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; annual report for 1885; administration of President Cleveland begins.
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; report of the Commerce Committee 1886.
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Quarantine regulations maintained until 1892 using discretionary presidential fund from 1878 Act.
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1892 The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the National Board of Health cannot collect pay for service after 1883.
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below). Marine Hospital Service administers some functions previously undertaken by the Board.
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1898 Creation of federal Department of Public Health
 
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1892 The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below)
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Early moves to create a National Board of Health

There had been discussion among the public and professional societies of creating a National Board of Health since at least the early 1870s. This newspaper article canvassing the possibility of a National Board, for instance, is dated 18 October 1873 Public Ledger, Philadelphia National Board Vol LXXVI, issue 22, p 1.
 
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1898 Creation of federal Department of Public Health
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Nothing concrete came from this discussion until late 1878, when there was a convention of the public health association in Virginia. It seems that this convention shaped the discussion sufficiently to draw a proposal for a National Board to Congressional attention. It took the yellow fever epidemic in 1878, however, to provide the impetus to secure legislation and national funding for the Board.
 

The 1878 yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

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Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States, and there were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response. In 1878, Congress passed an Act that came to be known as the Woodworth law, allowing the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Services under the Secetary of the Treasury to frame quarantine regulations. This had no appropriation attached to it, but was the United States' first national quarantine law (link).
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Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States. There were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response. In 1878, Congress passed an Act that came to be known as the Woodworth law, allowing the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Services under the Secetary of the Treasury to frame quarantine regulations. This had no appropriation attached to it, but was the United States' first national quarantine law (link).
 Another national form of the yellow fever response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A nationally co-ordinated solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
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State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
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State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
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State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases. 'Public health has a vast deal to do with public morals, and immorality is the most fatal blow struck at the public health' noted a report on the convention establishing the National Board of Health in Virginia, just as the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 struck Galveston News, Galveston Texas, 11-25-1878, p 2 'The National Board of Health'.
 
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The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).
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The National Board of Health was modeled on the existing State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).
 The Board was composed of one medical officer from the Army; one from the Navy; one from the Marine Hospital Service. There were also seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, not more than one from any State.
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 Another possibility is that of military views of health management clashing with civilian ones. One of the more expensive projects of the National Board of Health was the creation of the Ship Island quarantine station. A report for the Bill dismantling this station reveals that the United States Marine Hospital Service opposed this station from the outset (link and compare the report establishing the station). If construed along these lines, it is possibly significant that the 1893 Act, some time after the Board had been in practice abolished, vested its powers in the Marine Hospital Service(link), a strategy not favored by the American Public Health Organization (link). Against this reading is the presence of Army, Navy and Marine Hospital Officers on the Board, although they would not have been a majority.
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Finally, State-level interests may have created a backlash against the nationalization of the Board's functions. There is no conclusive positive evidence of this, although the careful crafting of the Board's initial functions, as I have argued above, reveals a careful attention to the State/Federal balance. Additionally, the report recommending the repeal of the Board's sunset clause is clearly drafted with a mind to alleviate concerns about Congressional power under the commerce clause (link, see eg pp 4,5). Note that the 1884 report of the Board makes it clear that the prevailing constitutional interpretation was that Congress did not have the power to authorize a national compliance certificate that, once obtained, would guarantee a vessel entry into any State. Instead, State police powers were considered to trump a federal quarantine certification. In 1882, some petitioners in New York and Massachusetts were anxious enough about protecting State interests in health that they petitioned the Senate to prevent the Board gaining 'vice' powers (link). The official reply was that the Board's powers were very narrow, but it is clear from the Board's annual reports that it undertook investigations into matters such as livestock health and sewers, as well as its more publicized work on cholera, smallpox and yellow fever quarantine measures. The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and an interest in the strengthening of State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). If there was significant State resistance to the National Board's efforts, it does not appear to have originated in the State Boards of Health. Although State forces may have played a part in the unraveling of the Board, countervailing factors perhaps include that many of its core functions were returned to a national level after its demise, a situation which will be examined now.
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Finally, State-level interests may have created a backlash against the nationalization of the Board's functions. Dissent to the Board existed since its inception. In early 1879 when the Board's founding Act was before Congress, a newspaper in Cincinnatti, Ohio, crowed 'National Board of Health Project likely to fail', stating 'the General Government is becoming so burdened with bureaus of all sorts, and officers multiplied with fat pay and little to do, that strong opposition is developed among the members...':The Cincinnati Commercial, 02-08-1879 Vol XXXIX Issue 149 p 3.

Perhaps better evidence of entrenched interests is demonstrated by the careful crafting of the Board's initial functions, which, as I have argued above, reveals a keen attention to the State/Federal balance. Additionally, the report recommending the repeal of the Board's sunset clause is clearly drafted with a mind to alleviate concerns about Congressional power under the commerce clause (link, see eg pp 4,5). Note that the 1884 report of the Board makes it clear that the prevailing constitutional interpretation was that Congress did not have the power to authorize a national compliance certificate that, once obtained, would guarantee a vessel entry into any State. Instead, State police powers were considered to trump a federal quarantine certification.

In 1882, some petitioners in New York and Massachusetts were anxious enough about protecting State interests in health that they petitioned the Senate to prevent the Board gaining 'vice' powers (link). The official reply was that the Board's powers were very narrow, but it is clear from the Board's annual reports that it undertook investigations into matters such as livestock health and sewers, as well as its more publicized work on cholera, smallpox and yellow fever quarantine measures.

The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close and mutually beneficial cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and demonstrate a genuine-seeming interest in strengthening State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). I think the better view is that State resistance to the National Board's efforts probably did not originate specifically in the State Boards of Health, but was a reflection of more general attitudes and trends. There is also some evidence of some State-level authorities preferring their autochthonuos regulatory infrastructure and quarantine procedures: see eg The Daily Picayune, New Orleans Louisiana, p 4 1-17-1884 'The Defunct National Board of Health'.

Overall, I think the federalist analysis is the best lens through which to analyze the decline of the Board. In 1893 the centralizing forces, which had peaked in response to the chaos of the 1879 yellow fever epidemic, were outweighed by the interests of local and regional autonomy. In the slightly longer term, however, countervailing forces meant that many of the National Board's core functions were returned to a national level after its demise.

 

After the Board

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The last report of the Board in 1885 takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
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The Woodworth law of 1878 remained in operation after the National Board, allowing the promulgation of national quarantine standards from the Marine Hosptial Service. This was the federal compromise: allowing some national coordination but in a very narrowly confined area, unlike the broader interests of the Board.
 
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States. The 1884 report the previous year stated that there were 27 State boards of health, and noted the rapid increase in State and local preventative health measures sparked and facilitated by the National Board.
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In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 granting more powers to the Marine Hospital Service link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, formally repealing the now defunct National Board of Health.
 
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In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
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The last report of the Board in 1885 takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
 
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States. The 1884 report the previous year stated that there were 27 State boards of health, and noted the rapid increase in State and local preventative health measures sparked and facilitated by the National Board.
 

Court Response

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  • opinion_politics.pdf: Public Ledger, Philadelphia 10-18-1873 Op ed piece on National Board Vol LXXVI, issue 22, p 1.

  • Ohio_fail.pdf: The Cincinnati Commercial, 02-08-1879 Vol XXXIX Issue 149 p 3

 
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Line: 255 to 277
 
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EmilyProject 23 - 27 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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Progress update: Still under construction. But the work feels like it is reaching an analytical plateau, I think I'll be able to call this finished (pending comments) within the next week or so - 01/27/10.

If you have time on your hands, help me out with some research tips for students doing this kind of work in the future?: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/twiki/bin/view/AmLegalHist/ResearchHelp

 

Outline

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I'm looking at quarantine laws between the late 1870s and the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This timeframe spans several epidemics (yellow fever and cholera), and the creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health).
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This project examines United States quarantine laws between the late 1870s and the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This timeframe spans several epidemics of yellow fever, cholera and smallpox, the first national laws addressing quarantine, and the creation of a federal body called the National Board of Health.

The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It came close to being revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883, due to its excellent performance. But it was not ultimately revived.

 
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The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance. But after 1885, Board failed. I'm curious why it failed. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
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After three more years of existence in the shadow of the 1879 Act, with a series of rapidly diminishing grants, the Board failed. I was drawn to this project primarily out of curiosity as to why it failed, and what if anything could be inferred from its failure about systemic State and federal tensions. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws and the federal Department of Health.
 

Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s).

The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.

 
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water) (see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4). It should be remembered that each change in regulations could have significant commercial impact: a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides or cotton or wool or food, for instance, would face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water) (see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4).

It should be remembered that each change in regulations could have significant commercial impact. For instance, a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides or cotton or wool or food would face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.

 Nonetheless, the scientific understanding of transmission was incomplete for many diseases. For instance, until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics that would have been largely ineffective.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879). In the face of this ongoing uncertainty, undoubtedly there were regulations adopted based on commercial convenience as much as scientific advancement.
Line: 34 to 42
 

Timeline with linked sources

Changed:
<
<
1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations.
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis;Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States;Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues;Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
>
>
1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations..
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis; Original statute establishing the National Board of Health; and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881.
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States; annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2.
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues ;annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas; message from the President 1882; report for 1882 Bill; State petitioners' response; and Board comments on immigrant inspections.
1883 Committee report discussing repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883; and Expenditures report 1883-4.
1884 Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America; letter concerning Board functions ; Appropriation 1884; annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; annual report for 1885; administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
 
1892 The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below)
Changed:
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<
1898 Creation of Department of Public Health
>
>
1898 Creation of federal Department of Public Health
 

The 1878 yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

Line: 66 to 75
 State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
Changed:
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<
The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health. (reference link)
>
>
The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health (reference link).
 The Board was composed of one medical officer from the Army; one from the Navy; one from the Marine Hospital Service. There were also seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, not more than one from any State.

De-funding, and motives

Changed:
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Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
>
>
Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only one third of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
 The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that: It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past.
Line: 110 to 119
 

Conclusions

Changed:
<
<
The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. Nonetheless, it is in some ways surprising that a national response to disease and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed above). Also, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
>
>
The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. In some ways it is surprising that a national response to foreign-originated epidemics and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that could have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed above). Also, the broad swathe of topics that were regarded as relating to 'health' was probably threatening to many States' sense of sovereignty without a tightly focused mandate, which the Board had in its theoretical statutory functions but not in its operational practice. Even today, with the federal government exercising power that was not contemplated in the nineteenth century, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation (beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management) is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.

An even more important historical lesson from studying the Board, however, is its function signaling a national commitment to both preventative medicine and medical research. In a short span of years, both would take root in America on a scale to match even the optimistic predictions of the people involved in the Board's administration. Moreover the National Board of Health, even during the twilight of its chronically underfunded life, was instrumental in sparking and encouraging a layered regulatory commitment to public health measures. Its efforts and the ripple effects of these efforts undoubtedly saved many thousands of lives, and improved sanitary conditions for most Americans far beyond the levels they had been at when the Board came into existence. The many advocates of the National Board of Health and its work may have lost a battle for its renewal in 1893, but they went on to secure many far more significant victories in the war for the health of Americans.

 

Acts


EmilyProject 22 - 26 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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Timeline with linked sources

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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
>
>
1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.; Congress passes Act allowing the Surgeon-General of the United States Marine Hospital to frame quarantine regulations.
 
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis;Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
Changed:
<
<
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
1882 Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
>
>
1881 Smallpox epidemic in West and Northwestern States;Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
1882 Smallpox epidemic continues;Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
 
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America
Changed:
<
<
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
>
>
1885 Smallpox epidemic in Canada; Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
 
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
Line: 53 to 53
 

The 1878 yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

Changed:
<
<
Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States, and there were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A nationally co-ordinated solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
>
>
Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States, and there were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response. In 1878, Congress passed an Act that came to be known as the Woodworth law, allowing the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Services under the Secetary of the Treasury to frame quarantine regulations. This had no appropriation attached to it, but was the United States' first national quarantine law (link).

Another national form of the yellow fever response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A nationally co-ordinated solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:

 
The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)
Added:
>
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On 2 June 1879, the Act creating the National Board of Health came into effect, accompanied by a very large appropriation of $50,000.
 

State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Changed:
<
<
Section 3 of the Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
>
>
Section 3 of the 1879 Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
 State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
Line: 74 to 77
 The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that: It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past.
Changed:
<
<
These are words alluding to well-known and perhaps serious controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. Speculation is thus necessary, and can take several forms.
>
>
These are words alluding to well-known and perhaps serious controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. Speculation is thus necessary, and can take several forms. The Board's own reasoning is a defensible starting point. At times, its 1884 report waxes cynical with realpolitik considerations: 'the absence of epidemic among the people has resulted in the postponement of much-needed legislation'
 Potentially, the change to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations for the Board. There is some evidence that the Board of Health in its early days was supported by business interests:
Line: 84 to 88
 Another possibility is that of military views of health management clashing with civilian ones. One of the more expensive projects of the National Board of Health was the creation of the Ship Island quarantine station. A report for the Bill dismantling this station reveals that the United States Marine Hospital Service opposed this station from the outset (link and compare the report establishing the station). If construed along these lines, it is possibly significant that the 1893 Act, some time after the Board had been in practice abolished, vested its powers in the Marine Hospital Service(link), a strategy not favored by the American Public Health Organization (link). Against this reading is the presence of Army, Navy and Marine Hospital Officers on the Board, although they would not have been a majority.
Added:
>
>
Finally, State-level interests may have created a backlash against the nationalization of the Board's functions. There is no conclusive positive evidence of this, although the careful crafting of the Board's initial functions, as I have argued above, reveals a careful attention to the State/Federal balance. Additionally, the report recommending the repeal of the Board's sunset clause is clearly drafted with a mind to alleviate concerns about Congressional power under the commerce clause (link, see eg pp 4,5). Note that the 1884 report of the Board makes it clear that the prevailing constitutional interpretation was that Congress did not have the power to authorize a national compliance certificate that, once obtained, would guarantee a vessel entry into any State. Instead, State police powers were considered to trump a federal quarantine certification. In 1882, some petitioners in New York and Massachusetts were anxious enough about protecting State interests in health that they petitioned the Senate to prevent the Board gaining 'vice' powers (link). The official reply was that the Board's powers were very narrow, but it is clear from the Board's annual reports that it undertook investigations into matters such as livestock health and sewers, as well as its more publicized work on cholera, smallpox and yellow fever quarantine measures. The annual reports, however, also reveal instances of close cooperation with numerous State Boards of Health, and an interest in the strengthening of State sanitary legal infrastructure (for example, State legislation). If there was significant State resistance to the National Board's efforts, it does not appear to have originated in the State Boards of Health. Although State forces may have played a part in the unraveling of the Board, countervailing factors perhaps include that many of its core functions were returned to a national level after its demise, a situation which will be examined now.
 

Changed:
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<

Situation after the Board

>
>

After the Board

 
Changed:
<
<
The last report of the Board takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
>
>
The last report of the Board in 1885 takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
 
Changed:
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States.
>
>
The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States. The 1884 report the previous year stated that there were 27 State boards of health, and noted the rapid increase in State and local preventative health measures sparked and facilitated by the National Board.
 In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.

EmilyProject 21 - 26 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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Timeline with linked sources

1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
Changed:
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<
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
>
>
1879 Further or continued epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis;Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
 
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
Changed:
<
<
1882 Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
>
>
1882 Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
 
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
Line: 52 to 52
 
1898 Creation of Department of Public Health
Changed:
<
<

The yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

Yellow fever was a recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. It seems that the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A national solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
>
>

The 1878 yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

Yellow fever was a frequently recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. There was mass panic and many people attempted to relocate to other States, and there were reported instances of communities enforcing 'shotgun quarantines', paralyzing trade and commerce around the country even away from the worst affected areas. The far-reaching consequences of the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A nationally co-ordinated solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
 
The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)

State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Changed:
<
<
Section 3 of the Act creating the National Board of Health ([the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
>
>
Section 3 of the Act creating the National Board of Health (the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
 State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
Changed:
<
<
The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health. (reference link)
>
>
The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. Note that in practice it appears that the functions of the Board in relation to foreign ports were only partially carried out, if at all (link). The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health. (reference link)
 
Added:
>
>
The Board was composed of one medical officer from the Army; one from the Navy; one from the Marine Hospital Service. There were also seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, not more than one from any State.
 
Changed:
<
<

Funding

>
>

De-funding, and motives

 Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
Deleted:
<
<

Motives

 The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that:_It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past._
Changed:
<
<
These are words alluding to extreme and well-known controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. It is possible that the change to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations, but the funding gap for the Board predates this change of political leadership.
>
>
These are words alluding to well-known and perhaps serious controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. Speculation is thus necessary, and can take several forms.

Potentially, the change to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations for the Board. There is some evidence that the Board of Health in its early days was supported by business interests:

'The great transportation companies of the South, both river and rail, are unanimous in their approval of the action and method of the Board [in the 1879 yellow fever epidemic], because experience has shown that they give the necessary security against the spread of disease, without stopping, or retarding to any considerable extent, commercial intercourse' (link)
It is possible that the transportation companies continued to support the Board by the new political administration was less concerned with pleasing this constituency when the yellow fever crisis seemed to have abated. Against this reading, it is noteworthy that the funding gap for the Board predates the change of political leadership.

Another possibility is that of military views of health management clashing with civilian ones. One of the more expensive projects of the National Board of Health was the creation of the Ship Island quarantine station. A report for the Bill dismantling this station reveals that the United States Marine Hospital Service opposed this station from the outset (link and compare the report establishing the station). If construed along these lines, it is possibly significant that the 1893 Act, some time after the Board had been in practice abolished, vested its powers in the Marine Hospital Service(link), a strategy not favored by the American Public Health Organization (link). Against this reading is the presence of Army, Navy and Marine Hospital Officers on the Board, although they would not have been a majority.

 

Situation after the Board

Line: 94 to 105
 

Conclusions

Changed:
<
<
The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. Nonetheless, it is in some ways surprising that a national response to disease and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed below). Also, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
>
>
The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. Nonetheless, it is in some ways surprising that a national response to disease and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed above). Also, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
 

Acts

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Both Links in table below.
>
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 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.
Line: 147 to 157
 -- EmilyByrne - 14 Dec 2009
 
<--/commentPlugin-->
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Links to uploaded sources (others hyperlinked in text above)

 
  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

Line: 198 to 212
 
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" attr="" comment="Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson." date="1257459533" name="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" path="Quick and Garran.pdf" size="597079" stream="Quick and Garran.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" attr="" comment="The principal 1879 Act" date="1262566994" name="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" path="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" size="506682" stream="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
Line: 222 to 238
 
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Letter_fiscal_deficit_1887.pdf" attr="" comment="Letter fiscal deficit 1887" date="1264115847" name="Letter_fiscal_deficit_1887.pdf" path="Letter fiscal deficit 1887.pdf" size="173403" stream="Letter fiscal deficit 1887.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Removal_of_Ship_Is_Quarantine_Station_1887.pdf" attr="" comment="Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station 1887" date="1264118690" name="Removal_of_Ship_Is_Quarantine_Station_1887.pdf" path="Removal of Ship Is Quarantine Station 1887.pdf" size="135442" stream="Removal of Ship Is Quarantine Station 1887.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Creation_of_Department_of_Public_Health_1898.pdf" attr="" comment="Creation of Department of Public Health" date="1264118786" name="Creation_of_Department_of_Public_Health_1898.pdf" path="Creation of Department of Public Health 1898.pdf" size="75839" stream="Creation of Department of Public Health 1898.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Additional_Powers_1882.pdf" attr="" comment="Additional powers refused 1882" date="1264541933" name="Additional_Powers_1882.pdf" path="Additional Powers 1882.pdf" size="86741" stream="Additional Powers 1882.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"

EmilyProject 20 - 26 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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 The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
Changed:
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
>
>
Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water) (see e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4). It should be remembered that each change in regulations could have significant commercial impact: a cholera-affected vessel that under new regulations did not have to destroy its cargo of hides or cotton or wool or food, for instance, would face significantly different profit margins to one operating under older rules. The potential benefits to both lives and commercial enterprise strongly favored the constant change of processes to reflect advances in scientific and medical knowledge.
 
Changed:
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Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)
>
>
Nonetheless, the scientific understanding of transmission was incomplete for many diseases. For instance, until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics that would have been largely ineffective.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879). In the face of this ongoing uncertainty, undoubtedly there were regulations adopted based on commercial convenience as much as scientific advancement.
 Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
Line: 53 to 53
 

The yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

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Yellow fever was a recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. It seems that the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A National solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
>
>
Yellow fever was a recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. Over 20,000 people died. It seems that the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A national solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than a Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
 
The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)

Changed:
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State models and the Board's operation

>
>

State Boards of Health and the National Board's operation

Section 3 of the Act creating the National Board of Health ([the 'founding Act') sets out a two-step process. First, it encourages the co-operation of the National Board with the State Boards of Health and their regulations. Second, it allows the Board to displace these rules with Presidential approval. It seems reasonable to assume that this two-step process, and the Presidential approval requirement, was an attempt to secure State support for the Bill and the possibility of diminution of State authority.
 State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
Changed:
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States.
>
>
The National Board of Health was modeled on these State Boards. Its statutory functions include making regular assessments of the conditions of foreign ports, and receiving weekly reports of the conditions of domestic ports. The founding Act for the Board requires it to publish weekly summaries of the information it receives for the benefit of the Marine Hospital Service, and State and municipal Boards of Health. The inclusion of municipal boards of health is an important reminder that not all parts of the founding Act fit into a simplistic dualist 'federal vs state' regulatory model. These municipal boards were also an important (and in some places long established) part of the regulatory infrastructure for disease prevention and public health. (reference link)
 

Funding

Line: 77 to 79
 The last report of the Board takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
Added:
>
>
The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States.
 In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.

EmilyProject 19 - 26 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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 I'm looking at quarantine laws between the late 1870s and the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This timeframe spans several epidemics (yellow fever and cholera), and the creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health).
Changed:
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The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance. But after 1885, Board failed. I'm curious why it failed. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
>
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The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance. But after 1885, Board failed. I'm curious why it failed. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
 

Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.

Changed:
<
<
Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See eg The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
>
>
Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See e.g. The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
 Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)

Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:

Added:
>
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 Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.
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 Mr Bowdich went on to become one of the original members of the National Board of Health in 1879.

This attitude extended into the 1880s. Here is an address from the Army Surgeon John S Billings, President of the Sanitarian

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 Until quite recently, very little has been done in this country towards increasing our knowledge of the causes of diseases by observation and experimentation towards that end … We have not had the statistical data, such as the registration system of Great Britain provides, nor the laboratories for experimentation in comparative physiology and pathology such as are to be found in Germany, nor the trained statisticians and scientific observers who could make proper use of these things if we had them. All these, however, will come; some of them are now here. For the most part they can only be provided by governments, their cost and the length of time required to produce really valuable results, placing them beyond the reach of individual effort.
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The move to create the National Board of Health should be understood in this context of favorable opinion towards State regulation and overall coordination favoring a national approach to epidemic prevention and management.

 

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Line: 36 to 42
 
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
Changed:
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1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
>
>
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health; Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
 
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission

1892 The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
Line: 47 to 52
 
1898 Creation of Department of Public Health
Added:
>
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The yellow fever epidemic and its aftermath

Yellow fever was a recurring problem in the Mississippi region, but the epidemic of 1878 was particularly severe. It seems that the epidemic managed to galvanize institutional support behind a national response, and the form of that response was the creation of the National Board of Health. A National solution (although in the form of a national Sanitary Commission rather than Board per se) was recommended to Congress by the Commission set up to investigate yellow fever:
The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)
 
Added:
>
>

State models and the Board's operation

 
Added:
>
>
State Boards of health had been in operation for decades in the largest States. New York was the first State with such a Board. It had a State Board of health since 1805, and one fully independent from the Legislature since 1866 (reference link). Massachusetts had a well-organized State Board of Health since 1869 (reference link). In these States, and presumably others where the historical records are more scarce, the functions of the Boards of Health were broader than we would necessary associate with 'health' today, including such functions as the supervision of abattoirs, building codes and prostitution, as well as disease prevention, statistical analysis and providing a forum to produce and disseminate research and learning about medicine and diseases.
 
Changed:
<
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The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)
>
>
The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'. Note that in 1885 there were only 38 States.
 
Added:
>
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Funding

 
Changed:
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'
>
>
Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
 
Changed:
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Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
>
>

Motives

The historical documents are largely silent as to the motives behind the Board's slow death due to underfunding. My conclusion is that it was controversial. The address of the President of the American Public Health Organization in 1887 (reported in Science, Vol X No. 251, link here) notes that:_It is unnecessary for me to refer to the various circumstances that conspired to paralyze the effective energy of this Board. Unhappily it is a thing of the past, and the hopes which we had founded on this our bantling are but a thing of the past._
 
Changed:
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Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
>
>
These are words alluding to extreme and well-known controversy, not agreement. The battlelines of the controversy, however, are not apparent from the historical sources I have collected. It is possible that the change to a Democratic President in 1885 was part of the ultimate collapse of appropriations, but the funding gap for the Board predates this change of political leadership.
 
Changed:
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The mood was generally optimistic: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
>
>

Situation after the Board

 
Added:
>
>
The last report of the Board takes a generally optimistic tone in parts in relation to the overall effects of the Board: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
 
Added:
>
>
In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. Cholera spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
 
Deleted:
<
<

Court Response

Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board.
 
Deleted:
<
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Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
 
Added:
>
>

Court Response

Dunwoody v United States 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board.
 
Changed:
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The enaction of federal quarantine laws

>
>
Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
 

Conclusions

Changed:
<
<
>
>
The creation of the National Board of Health, even if it ultimately failed, was a significant step in creating uniformity of quarantine standards and broader public health measures more generally. Nonetheless, it is in some ways surprising that a national response to disease and quarantine took so long to formulate. Even before the Supreme Court's expansive reading of the commerce clause in the 1930s, it was relatively uncontroversial that the federal government had the power to regulate quarantine measures under this clause. My best guess as to why this is the case is the politically sensitive nature of quarantine regulations that have a potentially significant effect on trade between States (see Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900), analyzed below). Also, it is by no means uncontested that a national response to health and safety regulation beyond the specific issue of immigrant quarantine and epidemic management is most efficiently done at a federal rather than State level. The nature of federalism involves weighing State autonomy and ability to tailor regulation to local circumstances on the one hand, and the potential for national coordination, economies of scale and (relative) neutrality of regulation on the other. The rise and fall of the National Board of Health should be seen in the light of these competing forces, as an aspect of broader federal tensions inherent in the nature of the American political system.
 

Acts


EmilyProject 18 - 25 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.

Outline

Changed:
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I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1880 and 1900, to see how the States and federal government worked together. This era spans several epidemics (yellow fever and cholera), and the creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health). I'm curious why it failed.

First, this source is wrong. The Board was initially enacted with a sunset clause to expire in 1883, and was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance.

My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.

>
>
I'm looking at quarantine laws between the late 1870s and the first decade of the 20th Century, to see how the States and federal government worked together in the area of public health. This timeframe spans several epidemics (yellow fever and cholera), and the creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health).
 
Added:
>
>
The Board initially came into existence through an Act in 1879 with a sunset clause to expire in 1883. It was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance. But after 1885, Board failed. I'm curious why it failed. My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
 

Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

Changed:
<
<
The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. The mood was generally optimistic: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
>
>
The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the beginning of the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
 Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See eg The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
Line: 65 to 59
 Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
Changed:
<
<
Both Links in table below. 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.

2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.

>
>
The mood was generally optimistic: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885.
 
Deleted:
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-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009
 

Court Response

Line: 88 to 77
 
Added:
>
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Acts

Both Links in table below. 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.

2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.

 

Odds and (dead) ends


EmilyProject 17 - 25 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
Line: 22 to 22
 Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)
Changed:
<
<
Some of my sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
>
>
Many of the professional sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined:
 Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.
Added:
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>
Mr Bowdich went on to become one of the original members of the National Board of Health in 1879.

This attitude extended into the 1880s. Here is an address from the Army Surgeon John S Billings, President of the Sanitarian Until quite recently, very little has been done in this country towards increasing our knowledge of the causes of diseases by observation and experimentation towards that end … We have not had the statistical data, such as the registration system of Great Britain provides, nor the laboratories for experimentation in comparative physiology and pathology such as are to be found in Germany, nor the trained statisticians and scientific observers who could make proper use of these things if we had them. All these, however, will come; some of them are now here. For the most part they can only be provided by governments, their cost and the length of time required to produce really valuable results, placing them beyond the reach of individual effort.

 

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Line: 36 to 40
 
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
1882 Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
Changed:
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<
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.
>
>
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.Cholera epidemic in Europe was widely feared to spread to America
 
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
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| 1892 |The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
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>
1892 The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
 
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below)
Line: 73 to 77
 

Court Response

_Dunwoody v United States_ 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board.
Changed:
<
<
Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
>
>
_Louisiana v Texas_ 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
 

The enaction of federal quarantine laws


EmilyProject 16 - 25 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.

Outline

Changed:
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I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: link) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
>
>
I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1880 and 1900, to see how the States and federal government worked together. This era spans several epidemics (yellow fever and cholera), and the creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health). I'm curious why it failed.
 First, this source is wrong. The Board was initially enacted with a sunset clause to expire in 1883, and was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance.
Line: 15 to 16
 

Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory appeared to be largely accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project. The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy.The mood was generally optimistic: ' it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
>
>
The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory was beginning to be accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project, although not universally (here is a review of its impact in Massachusetts in the early 1870s). The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy. The mood was generally optimistic: 'it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
 Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See eg The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
Line: 25 to 26
 Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

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Timeline with linked sources

 
1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
Line: 35 to 40
 
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
Changed:
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<
1888
1889
1890
1891
>
>
 | 1892 |The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below)

Deleted:
<
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1894
1895
1896
1897
 
1898 Creation of Department of Public Health
Line: 99 to 97
 

Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.

Added:
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Answer for the use of others: Sometimes the juggernaut of google books delivers here, too. Many old annual reports of various agencies, boards and societies include the text of recent bills.
 

-- EmilyByrne - 4 Jan 2010


EmilyProject 15 - 22 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
Line: 7 to 7
 I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: link) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
Added:
>
>
First, this source is wrong. The Board was initially enacted with a sunset clause to expire in 1883, and was revived by repeal of this sunset clause in early 1883 due to its excellent performance.
 My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
Line: 25 to 27
 

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
Changed:
<
<
1880 Annual report for 1880 and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881
1882 Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas
1883  
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health
1887
>
>
1880 Annual report for 1880; and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881; and Expenditures report 1881-2
1882 Annual report for 1882; Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas Message from the President 1882 ; Report for 1882 Bill; State pushback on different Bill ; and Board comments on immigrant inspections 1882
1883 Repeal of sunset clause 1883; Annual report for 1883 ; and Expenditures report 1883-4
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health; Appropriation 1884; Annual report for 1884; the last meeting of the Board was in November 1884.
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885; Administration of President Cleveland begins
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health Report of the Commerce Committee 1886
1887 Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station; and Creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission
 
1888
1889
1890
1891
Changed:
<
<
1892
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (attached below). Also at p 265 here
>
>
| 1892 |The Supreme Court rules that the chief clerk of the Board cannot collect backpay
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (link to scanned copy below)
 
Line: 46 to 48
 
1895
1896
1897
Changed:
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1898
1899
1900
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1898 Creation of Department of Public Health
 
Line: 60 to 61
 Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
Changed:
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Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas [[http://books.google.com/books?id=jVdNqUEYLOQC&dq=national%20board%20of%20health%20annual%20report%201881&lr=&pg=PA159#v=onepage&q=national%20board%20of%20health%20annual%20report%201881&f=false[(link).]]
>
>
Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas (link).
 Both Links in table below. 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.
Line: 72 to 73
 

Court Response

Added:
>
>
_Dunwoody v United States_ 138 U.S. 578 (1892) held that Mr Dunwoody, the chief clerk and sometime secretary of the National Board of Health, could not recover money from the federal government in the absence of specific grants payable to the Board.
  Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
Line: 142 to 144
 
Added:
>
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Line: 151 to 187
 
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Added:
>
>
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Expenditures_1881-2.pdf" attr="" comment="Expenditures report 1881-2" date="1264113074" name="Expenditures_1881-2.pdf" path="Expenditures 1881-2.pdf" size="248264" stream="Expenditures 1881-2.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Message_from_the_President_1882.pdf" attr="" comment="Message from the President 1882" date="1264113235" name="Message_from_the_President_1882.pdf" path="Message from the President 1882.pdf" size="153926" stream="Message from the President 1882.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Report_for_1882_Bill.pdf" attr="" comment="Report for 1882 Bill" date="1264113341" name="Report_for_1882_Bill.pdf" path="Report for 1882 Bill.pdf" size="153926" stream="Report for 1882 Bill.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Pushback_on_Bill.pdf" attr="" comment="Pushback on Bill" date="1264113506" name="Pushback_on_Bill.pdf" path="Pushback on Bill.pdf" size="691412" stream="Pushback on Bill.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Immigrant_Inspections_1882.pdf" attr="" comment="Immigrant Inspections 1882" date="1264113672" name="Immigrant_Inspections_1882.pdf" path="Immigrant Inspections 1882.pdf" size="161637" stream="Immigrant Inspections 1882.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Repeal_of_sunset_clause_extension_of_Board_1882.pdf" attr="" comment="Repeal of sunset clause 1883" date="1264113917" name="Repeal_of_sunset_clause_extension_of_Board_1882.pdf" path="Repeal of sunset clause extension of Board 1882.pdf" size="666939" stream="Repeal of sunset clause extension of Board 1882.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Annual_Report_1883_appendices_not_included.pdf" attr="" comment="Annual report for 1883" date="1264114191" name="Annual_Report_1883_appendices_not_included.pdf" path="Annual Report 1883 appendices not included.pdf" size="12732" stream="Annual Report 1883 appendices not included.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Expenditures_1883-4.pdf" attr="" comment="Expenditures report 1883-4" date="1264114310" name="Expenditures_1883-4.pdf" path="Expenditures 1883-4.pdf" size="85566" stream="Expenditures 1883-4.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Appropriation_1884.pdf" attr="" comment="Appropriation 1884" date="1264114865" name="Appropriation_1884.pdf" path="Appropriation 1884.pdf" size="49243" stream="Appropriation 1884.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Annual_Report_1884.pdf" attr="" comment="Annual report for 1884" date="1264115246" name="Annual_Report_1884.pdf" path="Annual Report 1884.pdf" size="2574364" stream="Annual Report 1884.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Report_of_the_Commerce_Committee_1886.pdf" attr="" comment="Report of the Commerce Committee 1886" date="1264115567" name="Report_of_the_Commerce_Committee_1886.pdf" path="Report of the Commerce Committee 1886.pdf" size="340447" stream="Report of the Commerce Committee 1886.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Letter_fiscal_deficit_1887.pdf" attr="" comment="Letter fiscal deficit 1887" date="1264115847" name="Letter_fiscal_deficit_1887.pdf" path="Letter fiscal deficit 1887.pdf" size="173403" stream="Letter fiscal deficit 1887.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Removal_of_Ship_Is_Quarantine_Station_1887.pdf" attr="" comment="Removal of Ship Island Quarantine Station 1887" date="1264118690" name="Removal_of_Ship_Is_Quarantine_Station_1887.pdf" path="Removal of Ship Is Quarantine Station 1887.pdf" size="135442" stream="Removal of Ship Is Quarantine Station 1887.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Creation_of_Department_of_Public_Health_1898.pdf" attr="" comment="Creation of Department of Public Health" date="1264118786" name="Creation_of_Department_of_Public_Health_1898.pdf" path="Creation of Department of Public Health 1898.pdf" size="75839" stream="Creation of Department of Public Health 1898.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"

EmilyProject 14 - 19 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
Line: 24 to 24
 

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
Changed:
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<
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health
1880  
1881  
1882  
>
>
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health and the first annual report for the National Board of Health, for 1879
1880 Annual report for 1880 and report on Board expenditures 1880-1881
1881 Annual report and bulletin of the National Board of Health for the year ending 1881
1882 Congressional report on establishing a quarantine station in Texas
 
1883  
Changed:
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<
1884 Letter_1884.pdf: Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health
>
>
1884 Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health
 
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885
Changed:
<
<
1886 National_Board_of_Health_letter_expenses_1886.pdf: Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health
>
>
1886 Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health
 
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
1892
Changed:
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1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (attached below). Also at p 265 here.
>
>
1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (attached below). Also at p 265 here
 
Line: 57 to 60
 Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
Added:
>
>
Clashes over funding were ongoing. In 1881, the annual report reveals that the Board received only 1/3 of the funds it wanted to build new quarantine stations in Virginia, Georgia and Texas [[http://books.google.com/books?id=jVdNqUEYLOQC&dq=national%20board%20of%20health%20annual%20report%201881&lr=&pg=PA159#v=onepage&q=national%20board%20of%20health%20annual%20report%201881&f=false[(link).]]
 Both Links in table below. 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.
Line: 130 to 134
 
  • Letter_1884.pdf: Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health 1884
Added:
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" attr="" comment="Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson." date="1257459533" name="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" path="Quick and Garran.pdf" size="597079" stream="Quick and Garran.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
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Added:
>
>
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EmilyProject 13 - 19 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"
Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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1881  
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1883  
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1884  
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1884 Letter_1884.pdf: Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health
 
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885
Changed:
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1886
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1886 National_Board_of_Health_letter_expenses_1886.pdf: Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health
 
1887
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Line: 126 to 126
 

Added:
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  • Letter_1884.pdf: Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health 1884
 
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" attr="" comment="Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson." date="1257459533" name="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" path="Quick and Garran.pdf" size="597079" stream="Quick and Garran.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" attr="" comment="" date="1257460186" name="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" path="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" size="1055745" stream="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" attr="" comment="The principal 1879 Act" date="1262566994" name="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" path="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" size="506682" stream="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Fifty_second_congress_Chap_114_1893_An_Act_granting_additional_quarantine_powers.pdf" attr="" comment="Principal 1893 Act" date="1262567070" name="Fifty_second_congress_Chap_114_1893_An_Act_granting_additional_quarantine_powers.pdf" path="Fifty second congress Chap 114 1893 An Act granting additional quarantine powers.pdf" size="1928337" stream="Fifty second congress Chap 114 1893 An Act granting additional quarantine powers.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
Added:
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="National_Board_of_Health_letter_expenses_1886.pdf" attr="" comment="Letter dated 1886 concerning expenses of the National Board of Health" date="1263931065" name="National_Board_of_Health_letter_expenses_1886.pdf" path="National Board of Health letter expenses 1886.pdf" size="173403" stream="National Board of Health letter expenses 1886.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Letter_1884.pdf" attr="" comment="Letter concerning the functions of the National Board of Health 1884" date="1263931105" name="Letter_1884.pdf" path="Letter 1884.pdf" size="49151" stream="Letter 1884.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"

EmilyProject 12 - 19 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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 Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Changed:
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1879 Original- I think - Statute establishing the National Board of Health
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1878 Mississippi Valley yellow fever epidemic, approximately 20,000 dead.
1879 Original statute establishing the National Board of Health
 
1880  
1881  
1882  
Line: 49 to 50
 
1899
1900
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The public, we may almost now say national health, is too vast and important a concern to be entrusted to inefficient boards of health and spasmodic Congressional legislation (Report to Congress in the wake of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic from the Commission as to the Causes and Prevention of Yellow Fever. Link here.)
 

The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'

Changed:
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Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265.
>
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Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265. A plain English translation of the Bill is also in the report, linked here. The Surgeon-General does not comment on section 9 of the Act, repealing the National Board of Health.
 

Both Links in table below.


EmilyProject 11 - 19 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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 Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Changed:
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Original- I think - Statute establishing the National Board of Health, in 1879
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1879 Original- I think - Statute establishing the National Board of Health
1880  
1881  
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1883  
1884  
1885 Annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885
1886
1887
1888
1889
1890
1891
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1893 Act repealing the National Board of Health (attached below). Also at p 265 here.
 
Deleted:
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OK, this is strange. Here is an annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885, when it had not yet been established by the 1894 statute. I am not yet clear whether this is a different board. [ok. have this sorted out in my head now. Watch this space...]
 
Deleted:
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The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'
 
Changed:
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Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible.
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1894
1895
1896
1897
1898
1899
1900

The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'

 
Added:
>
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Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible. It spread to New York (city and quarantine station) in 1892. The Surgeon General reports that this anxiety prompted the passage of the Federal quarantine Act in 1893 link, at p 265.
 

Both Links in table below.


EmilyProject 10 - 16 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
 

Outline

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Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory appeared to be largely accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project.
 
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection.
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The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory appeared to be largely accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project. The literature around this time reflects great hope for rapid scientific advancement in many areas including disease origins and nature. There were hot debates both about the validity of new discoveries, and how these could best be translated into frameworks for prevention and remedy.The mood was generally optimistic: ' it is believed that the country was never in better condition to resist the progress of epidemics than it is at the present time' declared the National Board of Health's Annual report for 1885. A broad movement for public health had begun in Great Britain around the 1850s, and was slowly taking off in America, with interest turning to sewers and school hygiene. Later within in my chosen time period, the introduction of publicly provided childhood vaccinations began.
 
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Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)
>
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Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection. Good examples of this were in relation to cholera (which had recently been discovered to be transmitted from feces-contaminated water). See eg The Sanitarium, 1894, pp 3-4
 
Added:
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Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)
 Some of my sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined: Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Added:
>
>
Original- I think - Statute establishing the National Board of Health, in 1879

OK, this is strange. Here is an annual report from the National Board of Health for 1885, when it had not yet been established by the 1894 statute. I am not yet clear whether this is a different board. [ok. have this sorted out in my head now. Watch this space...]

The report notes that 32 of the States had, in 1885, boards of health or 'other forms of sanitary organization charged with the duty of devising and enforcing such measures as may serve to promote the well-being of the people'

Key points: In the mid 1880s there was a virulent cholera epidemic in Europe, and American authorities were anxious to resist its introduction as much as possible.

 Both Links in table below.
Changed:
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1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484.
>
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1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. Although I scanned this in, google books has a publication called the Sanitarian from 1894 that is clearer, and contains the bill text at page 230.
 

2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.


EmilyProject 9 - 14 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Progress update: Still very much under construction, but taking shape.
 

Outline

I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: link) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.

Changed:
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My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws. Also, the Australian constitution was drafted in that time (coming into effect in 1901). While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine. I was curious to see if there was any connection to what had happened in the US and what the Australian drafters did.
>
>
My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws.
 
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So I went and consulted Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section. I found and scanned the relevant pages in the Butler library, and then realized it was on Google books. So I've attached both links. (the second is in the table below)
 
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The answer in brief to my first question appears to be no, the Australian drafters looked more to the example of Canada rather than the US when considering quarantine powers. But they did look at some US caselaw, which I'll be looking at next.
 
Changed:
<
<
Parallel to this research, I've made a trip out to the very helpful Columbia medical campus research library, to get a contextual look at what people thought about appropriate quarantine measures at the time. The friendly research librarians showed me a book on the Early History of Quarantine by the Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.' So I'm still looking for some secondary source segues into the extensive (and electronic) primary source records in Butler, but won't delay too much longer looking for one.
>
>

Background: Disease and Quarantine in the Late 19th Century

The 19th Century overall brought with it groundbreaking advances in medical science. Pasteur's initially radical germ theory appeared to be largely accepted in the medical and public health literature by the timeframe in this project.
 
Changed:
<
<
_Louisiana v Texas_ 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
>
>
Quarantine measures, a very old disease prevention technology, were being updated to reflect new understandings of the mechanics of infection.
 
Added:
>
>
Until the work done by Walter Reed to confirm the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes in 1900, the disease was assumed to be transferred either from direct contact with infected people, or to be airborne. This pamphlet in 1879 favors the latter theory, recommending quarantine measures for ships based on the new science of thermodynamics.Yellow Fever, A Nautical Disease, Its Origin and Prevention (1879)
 
Deleted:
<
<

Important Acts:

 
Added:
>
>
Some of my sources indicate a welcoming attitude to State regulation. An example is Henry I. Bowdich, Public Hygiene in America: Being the Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the International Medical Congress, Philadelphia, September 1876 p 2. His address opined: Only the State with its great resources, with a large corps of able and earnest agents occupied in the observation of the rise and progress of disease, and in the analysis of such observations for many generations, can hope to unravel even a few of the many mysterious causes of the diseases of any nation, especially of one covering so large a proportion of the earth’s surface as the United States.

The rise and fall of the National Board of Health

Both Links in table below.
 1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484.
Added:
>
>
 2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.

-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009

Line: 27 to 32
 -- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009
Added:
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Court Response

 
Added:
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Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
 
Deleted:
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Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.
 
Changed:
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Update: Acts uploaded from hardcopy, thanks to the Law Library's shiny new scanner.
>
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The enaction of federal quarantine laws

Conclusions

Odds and (dead) ends

Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.'

The Australian constitution was drafted in the era under examination in this project (coming into effect in 1901).While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine (s 51(ix)). link to pdf. I had speculated that there might have been some connection. However, Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section, does not give more emphasis to the U.S. examples than those in Candada or Great Britain. links. (A link with the specific page references appears in the table below)

Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.

 
Deleted:
<
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Progress note: I have a big paper due on Jan 11th, so will be only around sporadically before then, but will be working intensively thereafter.
 -- EmilyByrne - 4 Jan 2010

EmilyProject 8 - 04 Jan 2010 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Outline

Line: 31 to 31
 Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.
Changed:
<
<
-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009
>
>
Update: Acts uploaded from hardcopy, thanks to the Law Library's shiny new scanner.

Progress note: I have a big paper due on Jan 11th, so will be only around sporadically before then, but will be working intensively thereafter.

-- EmilyByrne - 4 Jan 2010

 Hi Emily! I tried to add a comment in the 'comment' box but it didn't show up anywhere on the page afterwards, so I've resorted to just editing your page directly - I hope that's okay. Anyway, I'm not sure whether this is the type of thing you're looking for with regard to early acts of Congress, but it might be useful as a primary source database in any case:
Line: 64 to 68
 
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" attr="" comment="Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson." date="1257459533" name="Quick_and_Garran.pdf" path="Quick and Garran.pdf" size="597079" stream="Quick and Garran.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" attr="" comment="" date="1257460186" name="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" path="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" size="1055745" stream="The_early_history_of_quarantine.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
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META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" attr="" comment="The principal 1879 Act" date="1262566994" name="Forty_fifth_congress_Ch_202_1879_Establishing_National_Board_of_Health.pdf" path="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" size="506682" stream="Forty fifth congress Ch 202 1879 Establishing National Board of Health.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"
META FILEATTACHMENT attachment="Fifty_second_congress_Chap_114_1893_An_Act_granting_additional_quarantine_powers.pdf" attr="" comment="Principal 1893 Act" date="1262567070" name="Fifty_second_congress_Chap_114_1893_An_Act_granting_additional_quarantine_powers.pdf" path="Fifty second congress Chap 114 1893 An Act granting additional quarantine powers.pdf" size="1928337" stream="Fifty second congress Chap 114 1893 An Act granting additional quarantine powers.pdf" user="Main.EmilyByrne" version="1"

EmilyProject 7 - 15 Dec 2009 - Main.EmilyByrne
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META TOPICPARENT name="WebPreferences"

Outline

I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together.

Changed:
<
<
There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/quarantine.html) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
>
>
There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: link) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
 My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws. Also, the Australian constitution was drafted in that time (coming into effect in 1901). While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine. I was curious to see if there was any connection to what had happened in the US and what the Australian drafters did.
Changed:
<
<
So I went and consulted Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section. I found and scanned the relevant pages in the Butler library, and then realized it was on Google books. So I've attached both links. http://books.google.com/books?id=VR-CAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=quick+and+garran#v=onepage&q=&f=false
>
>
So I went and consulted Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section. I found and scanned the relevant pages in the Butler library, and then realized it was on Google books. So I've attached both links. (the second is in the table below)
 

The answer in brief to my first question appears to be no, the Australian drafters looked more to the example of Canada rather than the US when considering quarantine powers. But they did look at some US caselaw, which I'll be looking at next.

Line: 16 to 16
 Parallel to this research, I've made a trip out to the very helpful Columbia medical campus research library, to get a contextual look at what people thought about appropriate quarantine measures at the time. The friendly research librarians showed me a book on the Early History of Quarantine by the Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.' So I'm still looking for some secondary source segues into the extensive (and electronic) primary source records in Butler, but won't delay too much longer looking for one.
Changed:
<
<
Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved: http://supreme.justia.com/us/176/1/case.html
>
>
_Louisiana v Texas_ 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved.
 

Important Acts:


EmilyProject 6 - 14 Dec 2009 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Outline

Line: 49 to 49
 

-- AndrewKerr - 05 Dec 2009

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Thanks Angela! That's very close to what I was looking for, only just for a slightly later date range to cover the 1890s. But I think your link will be very helpful regardless. And thanks Andrew! I hadn't even begun to think about the role race and immigration concerns would play into this, except at a really general level. And the article is really interesting. Emily

-- EmilyByrne - 14 Dec 2009

 
 
<--/commentPlugin-->
  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

EmilyProject 5 - 05 Dec 2009 - Main.AndrewKerr
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Line: 41 to 41
 Angela Chen
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Hey Emily, here's a link to an article (sorry not a primary source) on race, immigration, disease and law at turn-of-century. at least points to some potentially useful federal case law and hopefully other useful directions -- Andrew http://www.jstor.org/stable/828412?seq=1

-- AndrewKerr - 05 Dec 2009

 
 
<--/commentPlugin-->
  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

EmilyProject 4 - 27 Nov 2009 - Main.AngelaChen
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Outline

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 Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.

-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009

Added:
>
>
Hi Emily! I tried to add a comment in the 'comment' box but it didn't show up anywhere on the page afterwards, so I've resorted to just editing your page directly - I hope that's okay. Anyway, I'm not sure whether this is the type of thing you're looking for with regard to early acts of Congress, but it might be useful as a primary source database in any case:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/

Good luck!

Angela Chen

 
 
<--/commentPlugin-->
  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

EmilyProject 3 - 13 Nov 2009 - Main.EmilyByrne
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Outline

 I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/quarantine.html) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
Line: 16 to 18
 Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved: http://supreme.justia.com/us/176/1/case.html
Changed:
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-- EmilyByrne - 14 Nov 2009
>
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Important Acts:

1) "An act to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases into the United States, and to establish a national board of health" 45th Congress, Session III, 1879 20 Stat 484. 2) "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" 27 Stat 449 Ch 114, 52nd Congress, approved February 15 1893. Section 9 of this Act repeals the 1879 act above.

-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009

 

Changed:
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Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? The one I'm looking for is called "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" and it was approved February 15 1893.
>
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Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? I have them in hardcopy, and am trying to find them in a public source electronic form.
 -- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009
 
<--/commentPlugin-->

EmilyProject 2 - 13 Nov 2009 - Main.EmilyByrne
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I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/quarantine.html) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.
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 Parallel to this research, I've made a trip out to the very helpful Columbia medical campus research library, to get a contextual look at what people thought about appropriate quarantine measures at the time. The friendly research librarians showed me a book on the Early History of Quarantine by the Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.' So I'm still looking for some secondary source segues into the extensive (and electronic) primary source records in Butler, but won't delay too much longer looking for one.
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Louisiana v Texas 176 US 1 (1900) held that there was no interstate federal jurisdiction merely because the quarantine actions of one state (Texas) hurt those of another (Louisiana). The facts of the case concerned the Texan embargo on interstate trade during the yellow fever outbreak in 1899. The Supreme Court point-blank refused to get involved: http://supreme.justia.com/us/176/1/case.html
 
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-- EmilyByrne - 05 Nov 2009
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-- EmilyByrne - 14 Nov 2009
 
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Help Request: does anyone know a good way to find early acts of Congress? The one I'm looking for is called "An act granting additional quarantine powers and imposing additional duties upon the Marine Hospital Service" and it was approved February 15 1893.

-- EmilyByrne - 13 Nov 2009

 
 
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  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

EmilyProject 1 - 05 Nov 2009 - Main.EmilyByrne
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I'm looking at quarantine laws between roughly 1870 and 1920, to see how the States and federal government worked together. There's a few reasons I chose this era: it spans a few epidemics (principally yellow fever), and the unsuccessful creation of a federal body (the National Board of Health) to regulate quarantine uniformly in cases where States failed. But in the end (around 1883, an unconfirmed source reports: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/quarantine.html) the Board failed. I'm curious why it failed.

My time frame ends with the creation of the first successful federal quarantine laws. Also, the Australian constitution was drafted in that time (coming into effect in 1901). While the Australian drafters copied whole slabs of the US Constitution (sometimes without thinking it through very carefully) one of the specific heads of power they gave to the Australian federal government that is not present in the US Constitution was the power to regulate quarantine. I was curious to see if there was any connection to what had happened in the US and what the Australian drafters did.

So I went and consulted Quick and Garran, which is a commentary on the Australian Constitution written in 1901 containing background of the convention debates section by section. I found and scanned the relevant pages in the Butler library, and then realized it was on Google books. So I've attached both links. http://books.google.com/books?id=VR-CAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=quick+and+garran#v=onepage&q=&f=false

The answer in brief to my first question appears to be no, the Australian drafters looked more to the example of Canada rather than the US when considering quarantine powers. But they did look at some US caselaw, which I'll be looking at next.

Parallel to this research, I've made a trip out to the very helpful Columbia medical campus research library, to get a contextual look at what people thought about appropriate quarantine measures at the time. The friendly research librarians showed me a book on the Early History of Quarantine by the Assistant Surgeon General John Macauley Eager. (Again, after looking at the hardcopy, it's on Google books so I've attached that link.) The book as a whole is very interesting, but sadly not quite what I was looking for (I was hoping for some kind of primary source hook). In fact, the author states on page 26 'Without touching on the history of quarantine in America, which is another and interesting story, it is profitable to take another view of the further history of quarantine in Europe.' So I'm still looking for some secondary source segues into the extensive (and electronic) primary source records in Butler, but won't delay too much longer looking for one.

-- EmilyByrne - 05 Nov 2009

 
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  • Quick_and_Garran.pdf: Quick, John & Garran, Robert (1901) The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth Sydney: Angus & Robertson.

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