How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none? What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong? Why sweat they under burdens?
Parmet, Health Care and the Constitution: Today when we imagine "activist public health," we conceive of large standing bureaucracies, usually located somewhere within the I Beltway in Washington, D.
Criticizing the United States for not providing health care to all of its citizens, critics assume that the provision of health care refers to insurance coverage for the costs of medical expenses. By those standards, pre-constitutional America lacked any significant conception of public health law.
Nevertheless, it would be a fallacy to assume that the absence of institutionalized bureaucracy or of established legal entitlements during the eighteenth century precluded states from playing an active role in the protection of health.
Nor would it be correct to conclude that the protection of health during that era was considered a matter of private, as opposed to public, responsibility. Indeed, in comparison to the general paucity of bureaucratic organization in pre-industrial America, the vast extent of health regulation and provision stands out as remarkable.
The public role in the protection and regulation of eighteenth century health was carried out in ways quite different from those of today. Organizations responsible for health regulation were less stable than modern bureaucracies.
They tended to appear in crises and wither away in periods of calm. The focus was on epidemics which were seen as unnatural andwarranting a response, not to the many endemic and chronic conditions which were accepted as part and parcel of colonial life.
Not surprisingly, religious influence was significant, especially in the seventeenth century. Additionally, in an era which lacked sharp demarcations between private bodies and governmental establishments, many public responsibilities were carried out by what we would now private associations.
I examine these issues by looking at practices in New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and, finally, the South. Public Health Laws in Colonial New England Public responsibility for the prevention of disease and the care of the ill was rooted most firmly in the New England colonies and especially in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Theology sometimes impeded what today we would consider reasonable public health actions. Health, like almost everything else in Puritan society, was intermingled with religious belief.
That the belief system of the era attributed different etiologies to disease than we do today does not, however, negate the fact that there was public responsibility for health. After all, it is no more surprising that the Puritans relied upon theology to explain disease and suggest responses than it is that we rely upon medical science.
The important point is that despite their faith, public authorities provided civil responses which assumed preventative and palliative roles. These public responses went beyond prayer. Puritan theology assumed that God acted not only through natural causes but through the "secondary causes" of man.
Early New Englanders saw no inconsistency in using prayer, medicine, and law in attempting to preserve health. Moral law obliged people to live within a society which aimed for the good of all its members. The welfare of each was not irrelevant, but it was subordinate to the welfare of the whole.
And law provided for the general welfare. As far back asthe General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony acted to protect the public health by limiting the number of passengers on each ship carrying migrants to the new colony. Inwhen the General Court learned of epidemics in the West Indies, it ordered a quarantine of all ships arriving from those ports.Preventing Social Insolvency Protect How did the various methods of preventing social insolvency protect the individual as well as the community during the Colonial Era?
Social Security's insolvency has become a foremost topic now that the community composition has moved in the direction of the aged, and wage-earners will not hold up with the .
institutionalized recording system in Massachusetts during the colonial period and suggest, as a general matter, that colonial courts were far more costly and inefficient than colonial legal scholars have described. The publisher of the Journal on European History of Law is the STS Science Centre Ltd.
seated in London. The European Society for History of Law closely cooperates with the STS Science Centre Ltd. and helps with editing the journal. Furthermore, in an era when filth was believed to be the cause of much disease, the General Court enacted legislation aimed at preventing the pollution of Boston Harbor.
In , Boston appointed a public scavenger to keep the . During 18 th century improved technology expanded commercial activities and specifically impacted home manufacturing.
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