July 19, 1884: President Chester Arthur ordered the government to quarantine immigrants to avoid the spread of "pestilence." An economic depression gripped the U.S. during Arthur's presidency; citizens feared new immigrants would spread diseases like tuberculosis from new arrivals.
Many states already had their own quarantine laws, but Arthur saw a need to widen the federal government's powers to intervene in a national health crisis. He advised cities along the coasts to "resist the power of the disease and to mitigate its severity" and urged citizens to report anyone suspected of carrying highly contagious diseases.
Quote of the Day
“I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damned business.” -Chester A. Arthur
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
Subscribe to the Week