Home » History of Vaccines » George Washington and Vaccines

George Washington and Vaccines

What would the Founding Fathers have thought about mandatory vaccinations?

We know what George Washington thought.

This letter from Gen. George Washington to John Hancock, President of Congress, tells of an alleged plot of the British to spread smallpox among the American troops.
This letter from Gen. George Washington to John Hancock, President of Congress, tells of an alleged plot of the British to spread smallpox among the American troops.

In 1777, General George Washington mandated that every soldier in the Continental Army had to be inoculated against smallpox.

“Necessity not only authorizes but seems to require the measure, for should the disorder infect the Army . . . we should have more to dread from it, than from the Sword of the Enemy.”

In an age when 90% of deaths in war were caused by disease like smallpox, Washington’s order to protect his army had a hand in helping America gain independence.

“Washington knew firsthand the misery of the disease having survived a smallpox infection years earlier; he was well aware that a smallpox epidemic would ravage his fledgling armies.”

Gen. George Washington – A Threat of Bioterrorism, 1775

Did surviving smallpox influence his decision?

More on George Washington and Vaccines

Last Updated on

3 thoughts on “George Washington and Vaccines”

  1. Pingback: Founding Fathers on Vaccines – VAXOPEDIA

  2. Pingback: US Presidents and Vaccines – VAXOPEDIA

  3. Pingback: What Ronald Reagan Can Teach Us About Vaccine Policy – VAXOPEDIA

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: