Revolts And Opposition Against Compulsory Smallpox Vaccination

Vaccination against smallpox was based on an unscientific experiment and was basically a failure and a fraud right from its beginning in 1796.


Public opposition to the practice was widespread, often fierce and sometimes violent:

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Opposition To Mandatory Vaccination Against Smallpox In Montreal, Canada In 1885

From a pro-vaccination article by Nick Auf Der Maur in the Montreal Gazette, November 30, 1994

Edward Jenner developed a vaccine against smallpox and managed to win over most of the medical establishment and the people. He developed it from cowpox, a mild variation of the disease that resulted when people with smallpox milked cows. He gave his vaccine the Latin name variolae (small pocks) vaccine (cow). It was the French who, in derision, called the process vaccination, which literally means “encowing”. Thus the word vaccine, which means “of the cow”.


Popular acceptance proved difficult, especially among the poor, for the usual esoteric reasons, not the least being that an earlier, similar procedure, known as variolation, had come from Muslims.

But smallpox, once a major killer, gradually diminished in Europe and North America. throughout the 19th century. But in Montreal, by 1885, only one sixth of the population had been vaccinated. That was the fault of Dr. Emery Coderre, who led a vociferous campaign against vaccination. In the spring of 1885, a few cases of smallpox were reported in Montreal. Within a few weeks, a full-scale epidemic broke out, with 4,771 cases reported and 3,164 deaths. Montreal was effectively quarantined, with the shipping of goods from the city barred everywhere. It was big news in Europe and the rest of this continent, where the newspapers showered Montreal with contempt for its ineffective immunization programme.

Top executives of the Montreal Star and The Gazette (two of whom sat as city councilors) persuaded Mayor Honoré Beaugrand that urgent action was needed. A treatment centre was set up on Fletcher’s Field. But howling mobs, especially from poor French neighbourhoods where the outbreak was worst and where Caderre had set up the most influence, made it necessary to call out the Victoria Rifles to secure Fletcher’s Field.


Later, when vaccination was made obligatory, cavalry troops had to charge rioters besieging city hall, newspaper offices and the homes of city and health officials. Public health offices were sacked. Finally, the city’s Roman Catholic archbishop issued a pastoral letter calling for obedience to the vaccination order. It took a year for the epidemic to subside.

Demonstration in Leicestershire, England, also in 1885:





Popular Revolt Against Vaccination Against Smallpox In Brazil Early In The 20th Century

Beginning in 1902, Brazilian president Rodrigues Alves determined to improve hygiene and modernize the city. He gave plenary powers to the city’s mayor Pereira Passos and to Director General of Public Health Dr. Oswaldo Cruz to execute sweeping sanitary improvements.

To eradicate smallpox, Cruz convinced the Congress to approve the Mandatory Vaccination Law (October 31, 1904), which permitted sanitary brigade workers, accompanied by police, to enter homes to apply the vaccine by force.

The population was confused and discontented. The city seemed in ruins, many people had lost their homes, while others had had their homes invaded by the health workers and police. Articles in the press criticized the action of the government and spoke of possible risks of the vaccine. Moreover, it was rumored that the vaccine would have to be applied to the “intimate parts” of the body (or at least that women would have to undress in order to be vaccinated), aggravating the anger of the population, and resulting in a popular rebellion.

The approval of the Vaccination Law was the proximate cause of the revolt: on November 5, the opposition created the Liga Contra a Vacina Obrigatória (League Against Mandatory Vaccination).

From November 10 through 16, the city became a battlefield. The excited population looted shops, overturned and burned trams, made barricades, pulled out tracks, broke poles, and attacked government forces with rocks, sticks, and debris.


Photo: Streetcar overturned during the revolt.

On November 14, the cadets of the Escola Militar da Praia Vermelha (military college) also mutinied against the government’s actions. In reaction, the government suspended mandatory vaccination and declared a state of siege. The rebellion was contained, leaving 30 dead and 110 wounded. Hundreds of imprisoned people were deported to the then frontier region of Acre.

After the government resumed control, the vaccination process was restarted, resulting in smallpox eventually being eradicated from the city. The international medical community at large regarded Dr. Cruz’ efforts in the affair with considerable sympathy: in 1907, the 14th International Congress on Hygiene and Demography in Berlin awarded him their gold medal.



‘History of the Anti-Vaccination Movements’ HERE



Capture22 HERE


“The vaccination practice, pushed to the front on all occasionsby the medical profession, and through political connivance made compulsory by the state, has not only become the chief menace and gravest danger to the health of the rising generation, but likewise the crowning outrage upon the personal liberty of the American citizen.”

Dr. James Martin Peebles, “Vaccination: A Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty,” published in 1900.


The Vaccination Superstition – (USA, 1902) J. W. Hodge HERE



Der “Segen” der Impfung – (Germany, 1911) (The “Blessing” of Vaccination) – Hugo Wegener HERE



Impf-Friedhof (Germany, 1912) (Vaccine Cemetery) – Hugo Wegener HERE



Horrors Of Vaccination Exposed and Illustrated (USA, 1920) – Chas M. Higgins HERE



Also read about Mahatma’s opposition to smallpox vaccination in his document ‘A Guide to Health’ HERE



Considering the “public” in public health: popular resistance to the Smallpox Eradication Programme in India
Comment: Please note that vaccination had nothing to do with the eradication of smallpox.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries discusses smallpox from 1797 – 2005.

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History -A Special Interview with Dr. Suzanne Humphries By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Dissolving Illusions


Watch the cruelty of vaccines first hand, as this young Thai girl is brutalised by the medical establishment