From the Archives: Mandatory Vaccines Are an American Tradition

I admit, I don’t ever actually talk to anyone who opposes vaccinating their kids. But if I did, I can imagine they might protest that mandatory vaccinations are somehow un-American, that people are free to do what they want in America. Or maybe they would insist that their religious liberty to avoid vaccines is a constitutional right. Or something.InkedAnti Vaxxers had no rights_LI

In the archives today I came across a little vaccinatory surprise. In either 1827 or 1830, Philadelphia set up a society to establish “infant schools.” These were schools for young children, under six years old. Even back then, Philadelphians assumed that women would be running these kinds of pre-schools.

They also assumed that only vaccinated kids could attend. As they stipulated,

Children, male and female, under the age of six years, may be received into the Infant School, or Schools, provided they be free from all contagious disorders; but no child shall partake of the benefits of the institution unless it shall have passed regularly through the vaccine disease, or whose parents or guardians will not consent to its immediate vaccination upon introduction to the establishment.

For Philadelphians, at any rate, the notion that kids could be subject to mandatory vaccinations was as American as apple pie.