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
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