About the Program
Michael Willrich, associate history professor at Brandeis University, examines the smallpox epidemic in America in the early 1900s. The author details the government's initiatives to deter the spread of the disease by requiring mandatory vaccinations and instituting "virus squads" who upheld quarantines. Mr. Wilrich reports that the government's efforts to stymie the illness met with resistance by many against vaccinations who believed that the government's interference into their personal well being was an impingement of their civil liberties. Michael Willrich speaks at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.