How to End Vaccine Mandates — A History Lesson

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by Dr. Joseph Mercola

covid smallpox


  1. If you’re wondering how we’ll ever put an end to these draconian COVID-19 mandates that are destroying lives and sanity across the world, take heart. History can serve us in this regard
  2. Over 135 years ago, in 1885, England became the host to a massive anti-vaccination movement that ultimately resulted in people overturning the government’s compulsory vaccination rule
  3. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccinations. Many were fined and jailed, but in the end, the government relented and abolished the mandate
  4. The trucker protest in Canada and elsewhere is almost identical to what happened during smallpox vaccination campaigns more than a century ago, when mass protests and peaceful disobedience broke the government’s tyrannical hold
  5. The Leicester Model was proven successful in the wake of that 1885 anti-vaccination protest and has been standard ever since. By quarantining infected patients and improving public hygiene, smallpox was finally eradicated

If you’re wondering how we’ll ever put an end to these draconian COVID-19 mandates that are destroying lives and sanity across the world, take heart. History can serve us in this regard. The parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and its countermeasures that of previous smallpox pandemics are fascinating to behold, and therein we can also find the answer to our current predicament.

Smallpox, a highly infectious and disfiguring illness with a fatality rate around 30%,1 has been with us for many centuries, probably thousands of years. During the last four centuries, forced mass vaccination has been a recurring countermeasure relied on by government during these kinds of outbreaks, often with devastating results, and there have always been large portions of society that opposed it.

In the 1700s, Boston, Massachusetts, was hit by a series of outbreaks, and the introduction of a vaccine led to violent rebellion by those who believed it was dangerous and a violation of God’s will. Local newspapers were rife with disputes for and against the vaccine.2

The hypodermic needle had not yet been invented at this time, so the vaccination consisted of rubbing some cowpox pus into an open wound on the arm. Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, who introduced the inoculation at the urgings of Rev. Cotton Mather, was forced into hiding and was eventually arrested. Mather’s home was firebombed.

One of the largest protests of the century occurred in 1885 in Leicester. Leicester’s government was replaced, mandatory vaccination abolished, and public health measures rejected by the medical community were implemented. These measures were highly successful, and once adopted globally ended the smallpox epidemic, something most erroneously believe arose from vaccination. ~ A Midwestern Doctor

In 1862, it was Los Angeles, California’s turn. Compulsory vaccination was again rolled out, and anyone who refused was subject to arrest. Infected people were terrified of being forcibly quarantined in a “pest house,” miles outside the city limits, and for good reason. It was a place where you were dumped to die, with not so much as a bedsheet for comfort.3

The Anti-Vaccination Rebellion of 1885

In the decades to come, smallpox outbreaks were occurring all over the world, and forced inoculation was typically the answer, even though it had its own risks. In 1885, England became the host to a massive anti-vaccination movement that ultimately resulted in people overturning the government’s compulsory vaccination rule.

As reported by the BBC, December 28, 2019, mere weeks before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic:4

“In the late 19th Century, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccinations. There were arrests, fines and people were even sent to jail. Banners were brandished demanding ‘Repeal the Vaccination Acts, the curse of our nation’ and vowing ‘Better a felon’s cell than a poisoned babe.’ Copies of hated laws were burned in the streets and the effigy was lynched of the humble country doctor who was seen as to blame for the smallpox prevention program.”

A Substack user going by the moniker “A Midwestern Doctor”5,6 details this part of history, explaining why it matters to us today. He writes:7

“What is occurring now in Canada and other places is almost identical to what happened with the smallpox vaccination campaigns over a century ago, and I believe it is critical we understand these lessons from the past and it is vital this message gets out to the Truckers.

Briefly, the original smallpox vaccine was an unusually harmful vaccination that was never tested before being adopted. It increased, rather than decreased smallpox outbreaks. As the danger and inefficacy became known, increasing public protest developed towards vaccination. Yet, as smallpox increased, governments around the world instead adopted more draconian mandatory vaccination policies.

Eventually, one of the largest protests of the century occurred in 1885 in Leicester (an English city). Leicester’s government was replaced, mandatory vaccination abolished, and public health measures rejected by the medical community were implemented. These measures were highly successful, and once adopted globally ended the smallpox epidemic, something most erroneously believe arose from vaccination.”

The alternative countermeasure implemented in Leicester involved quarantining infected people and notifying anyone who’d been in close contact with the patient. They also used “ring vaccination” in which hospital workers who took care of infected patients had been inoculated.8

As a result, when smallpox broke out again between 1892 and 1894, Leicester got off lightly, with a case rate of 20.5 cases per 10,000. In all, the town had 370 cases and 21 deaths — far lower than the towns of Warrington and Sheffield, where vaccination rates were high.

On the other hand, there were well-vaccinated areas that had lower case rates and fewer deaths, and areas with low vaccination rates that also fared worse in this regard, so vaccination was probably not the determining factor either way.

In 1898, the U.K. implemented a new law that allowed people to opt out of vaccination for moral reasons. As reported by the BBC, this was “the first time ‘conscientious objection’ was recognized in U.K. law.”9 Now, we have to fight to regain that right yet again, all around the world.

Dissolving Illusions

“A Midwestern Doctor”10 goes on to discuss Dr. Suzanne Humphries’ 2009 book, “Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History,” in which she shatters the notion that vaccines (and certain other medical interventions) have been single-handedly responsible for improved health and increased life spans. As a nephrologist (kidney specialist), Humphries noticed a pattern among her patients.

Many who experienced kidney injury or kidney failure had recently received a flu vaccine. It was a singular common denominator. So, she began to challenge the hospital’s routine practice of vaccinating patients. Humphries was roundly ignored and was ultimately forced to leave. The book grew out of her frustration with people who insisted that vaccines had eliminated scourges like polio and smallpox. Once she delved into the research, what she found was something else entirely.

With regard to smallpox and smallpox vaccination, living conditions during the industrial revolution were horrid. Plagues and infectious outbreaks were commonplace, not because of insufficient vaccination, but because sanitation was near-nonexistent and people, including children, were overworked and underfed. Early progressives believed deadly plagues could be prevented by improving living and working conditions, and they were correct.

We know this because other plagues for which there were no vaccines disappeared right along with smallpox and polio. While the medical industry eventually embraced vaccination, and increasingly over time treated it as something that could not be contested or questioned, Humphries’ book details the opposition.

Smallpox Opposition

As it turns out, many doctors have spoken out against smallpox vaccination and published data demonstrating its dangers. For example:11

In 1799, Dr. Woodville, after having administered the vaccination to many children, stated that “in several instances, the cowpox has proved a very severe disease. In three or four cases out of 500, the patient has been in considerable danger, and one child actually died.”
In 1809, the medical observer reported more than a dozen cases of often fatal smallpox, contracted as long as a year post-vaccination. The 1810 medical observer contained 535 cases of smallpox after vaccination (97 of which were fatal), and 150 cases of severe vaccine injuries.
An 1817 London Medical Repository Monthly Journal and Review reported that many who received the smallpox vaccination were still getting sick with smallpox.
In 1818, Thomas Brown, a surgeon of 30 years and ardent proponent of vaccination, after vaccinating 1,200 people stated: “The accounts from all quarters of the world, wherever vaccination has been introduced … the cases of failures are now increased to an alarming proportion.”
In 1829, The Lancet described a recent smallpox outbreak, stating: “It attacked many who had had small-pox before, and often severely; almost to death; and of those who had been vaccinated, it left some alone, but fell upon great numbers.”
In 1845 George Gregory M.D. reported: “In the 1844 smallpox epidemic, about one-third of the vaccinated contracted a mild form of smallpox, but roughly 8% of those vaccinated still died, and nearly two-thirds had severe disease.”
In 1829, William Cobbett, a farmer, journalist and English pamphleteer, wrote: “Why, that in hundreds of instances, persons cow-poxed by JENNER HIMSELF have taken the real small-pox afterwards, and have either died from the disorder, or narrowly escaped with their lives!”
An 1850 letter to the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle claimed there were more admissions to the London Small-Pox Hospital in 1844 than during the smallpox epidemic of 1781, before vaccination began, and that one-third of the deaths from smallpox were in people who had previously been vaccinated.

The Moving Goal Post

Once it became clear that the smallpox vaccine was incapable of providing long-lasting immunity as initially promised, the medical profession moved the goal post and started justifying vaccination on the basis that it could protect against more severe illness, even if it couldn’t provide lifelong “perfect” immunity the way recovering from the infection could.

This has been a basic mantra ever since, and we’ve gotten a double-dose of it during this COVID pandemic. Within months, the goal post was switched from “two doses are near-100% effective,” to “two doses wear off in six months and leave you more vulnerable to severe illness thereafter.” Some bargain!

Corruption of Vital Statistics Protect Vaccination Narrative

What’s worse, the trend of not reporting vaccine injuries due to “allegiance to the practice,” as noted by Henry May in the Birmingham Medical Review in January 1874, has continued unabated. According to May, vaccinated people who died were typically recorded as having died from some other condition, or were erroneously listed as “unvaccinated.”12 As noted by “A Midwestern Doctor”:13

“This corruption of the vital statistics creates many challenges in assessing the efficacy of immunization, and is also why many authors have noted no metric can be used to assess COVID-19 immunizations except total number of deaths (independent of cause) as this cannot be fudged.

Of note, a different significant overlap exists with the early polio campaigns (also detailed within ‘Dissolving Illusions’), where ‘polio’ diagnostic criteria was repeatedly adjusted to meet the political need for polio cases.

Governments responded to this skepticism by progressively using more and more force to mandate vaccination. Vaccination was made compulsory in England in 1853, with stricter laws passed in 1867. In the United States, Massachusetts created a set of comprehensive vaccination laws in 1855 (which created the Supreme Court case Jacobson v. Massachusetts a case that is frequently cited about state enforced vaccination).

Lemuel Shattuck emphasized the need for vaccination and pushed for house-to-house vaccination to be enforced by the authority of the City of Boston in an 1856 report, also noting ‘The City has already provided that no unvaccinated child shall be admitted into the public schools.’

A situation emerged I term the ‘Vaccine positive feedback cycle.’ Keep in mind that most systems in nature are instead negative feedback systems. In these, when something occurs, it self-corrects the system and turns it off rather than accelerating it, as occurs in a positive feedback system. The cycle is as follows:

A concerning disease exists.

Immunization is cited as a potential solution to the problem.

An immunization campaign is conducted and makes the problem worse.

As the problem is now worse, the need for immunizations to address it increases and another campaign is conducted.

This makes the problem worse.

This increases the need for more aggressive measures to increase immunization.

This makes the problem worse and further perpetuates the cycle, before long leading to very questionable governmental policies designed to force unwilling parties to vaccinate.

The underlying drivers of this process seem to be an unquestionable faith in vaccination, a conviction dating back to the days of smallpox, that vaccinating an ever-increasing proportion of the population through vaccination can end epidemics (now termed herd immunity), and the government having limited options to address the issue besides immunizations and governmental force.”

The Effects of Forced Smallpox Vaccinations

“A Midwestern Doctor” continues describing the effects of the government’s insistence of forced smallpox vaccination:14

“In accordance the positive feedback cycle, these results were found everywhere. Within the United States, as smallpox worsened in Boston, in 1855, the government made enacted strict enforcement of vaccination.

It was followed by the epidemics of 1859-1860, 1864-1865, 1867 (these were all similar in size to earlier epidemics), and then infamous 1872-1873 epidemic which dwarfed all previous epidemics (proving fatal to 1040 persons, at a rate of 280 deaths per 100,000 people).

By the end of 1868, more than 95% of the inhabitants of Chicago had been vaccinated. After the Great Fire of 1871 … strict vaccine laws were passed, and vaccination was made a condition of receiving relief supplies. Chicago was then hit with a devastating smallpox epidemic in 1872 where over 2,000 persons contracted smallpox, with over 25% dying, and the fatality rate among children under 5 being the highest ever recorded.

A 1900 medical article discussed vaccination in three European nations. In England, of 9392 small-pox patients in London hospitals, 6,854 had been vaccinated and 17.5% of the 9,392 died.

In Germany ‘official returns show that between 1870 and 1885 one million vaccinated persons died from small-pox.’ In France, ‘every recruit that enters the French army is vaccinated. During the Franco-Prussian war there 23,469 cases of small-pox in that army.’

An 1888 article in the Encyclopedia Britannica describing Prussia’s strict vaccination practices throughout the population (including mandatory re-vaccination for school pupils), noted: ‘Notwithstanding the fact that Prussia was the best revaccinated (boosted) country in Europe, its mortality from smallpox in the epidemic of 1871 was higher (59,839) than in any other northern state.’”

Other countries reported the same smallpox trends, including Italy and Japan, where smallpox death rates after successful vaccination campaigns were unprecedented. Vaccine injuries, including deaths, were also common. It is shocking how closely the miserable failures of the smallpox vaccines mirror the COVID jabs.

One of the most common causes of death after smallpox vaccination was erysipelas, a painful bacterial skin disease. An 1890 Encyclopedia Britannica article reported that smallpox vaccination had triggered a disastrous epidemic of erysipelas. Other side effects included jaundice, syphilis, tuberculosis, eczema vaccinatum (a rare and lethal skin condition).

Massive Historic Public Protests Over 135 Years Ago

As skepticism of and opposition against smallpox vaccination grew, enforcement increased. Vaccine refusers were fined, jailed and sometimes vaccinated by force. Parents were even forced to vaccinate their second child even if the first one died from the inoculation. Intermittently, riots would break out. A Midwestern Doctor details what happened next:15

“In 1884, 5,000 court summons had been issued against the unvaccinated, a case load that completely overloaded the court system. Letters in local newspaper at this time revealed widespread disdain for the irrationality of the procedure and the medical profession’s steadfast defense of a dangerous practice that had clearly failed over the last 80 years.

Tensions reached a boiling point and on March 23, 1885, a large protest estimated at 80,000 to 100,000 people erupted. It was composed of citizens of all professions from across England and receive support from citizens across Europe who could not attend it.

The procession was 2 miles long, with displays showing the popular sentiments against vaccination present throughout the crowd. The demonstration was successful, and the local government acceded to and acknowledged their demands for liberty. Many of the description of this protest (and the jubilant mood there) are extremely similar to reports I have read of the Trucker’s protest.

Mr. Councilor Butcher of Leicester addressed the protest and spoke of the growing opinion that the best way to get rid of smallpox and deadly infectious diseases was to use plenty of water, eat good food, live in light and airy houses, while it was the municipality’s duty to keep the streets clean and the sewers in order. He emphasized that if this was not done, it was unlikely any act of Parliament or vaccination could prevent the diseases.

That year, following the protest, the government was replaced, mandates were terminated, and by 1887 vaccination coverage rates had dropped to 10%. To replace the vaccination model, the Leicester activists proposed a system of immediately quarantining smallpox patients, disinfection of their homes and quarantining of their contacts alongside improving public sanitation.

The medical community vehemently rejected this model, and zealously predicted Leicester’s ‘gigantic experiment’ would soon result in a terrible ‘massacre,’ especially in the unprotected children, who were viewed by government physicians as ‘bags of gunpowder’ that could easily blow up schools (along with much other hateful and hyperbolic rhetoric directed at them).

This smallpox apocalypse would forever serve as a lesson against vaccine refusal the medical profession bet their stake upon. [But] the predicted catastrophe failed to emerge and Leicester had dramatically lower rates of smallpox in subsequent epidemics than other fully vaccinated towns (ranging from 1/2 to 1/32).

Various rationalizations were put forward to explain this, but as the decades went by, a gradual public acceptance of Leicester’s methods emerged, but even 30 years later, a New York Times article still predicted a disaster was right around the corner and it was imperative Leicester change their methods.

Fortunately, the value of Leicester’s novel approach of quarantining and improvement public hygiene was recognized and gradually adopted around the world, leading to the eventual eradication of smallpox.”

Keep in mind that these protests occurred when the population was much lower, so as a percentage of the population it was much higher. In 1885, the U.K. population was only 36,015,500,16 so a protest with 100,000 was just under 0.3% of the entire population. As of February 16, 2022, today’s U.K. population is 68,471,390,17 so to match that protest, percentage-wise, about 205,400 would have to hit the streets.

History Repeats Itself

Those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it, and it seems that’s precisely what we’ve allowed to occur in the past two years. Many doctors predicted and warned that the pandemic would be prolonged and worsened by rolling out non-sterilizing vaccines (i.e., vaccines that do not prevent infection and transmission). And that’s precisely what we’ve witnessed.

Predictions of devastating side effects have also come true. And, as resistance to the shots grew, draconian mandates followed. History tells us forced vaccination is not the answer. History also tells us how to get out from underneath a tyrannical government’s insistence on forced vaccination.

The answer is peaceful noncompliance. The answer is standing together, en masse, and saying “No more. Enough.” The truckers in Canada, the U.S., Belgium and elsewhere have the right idea, and the rest of us need to join and support them, in any way we can.

“Like the smallpox vaccination campaigns, the COVID-19 immunization campaign has been so egregious it has inspired a large global protest movement with the large scale current protests being very similar to those that occurred 135 years ago,” A Midwestern Doctor writes.18

“My hope is that this movement can remember the lessons from the past and carry them forward to now so a future generation does not have to repeat our mistakes.”

If you want to learn more about the fraud of all vaccines, I would encourage you to carefully review Suzanne Humphries’ excellent book, “Dissolving Illusions.” In my view it is the best book out there on the subject.