Bodies of Evidence: Representation and Recognition on the Mexican Border
On the morning of August 17, 1916, Jose Montelongo,
his wife Dominga Urrutia, and her brother Francisco Urrutia chose to brave the
Rio Bravo north of the bridge connecting both Laredos. As they arrived at the
north bank of the river, the Texas quarantine guard placed them under guard
and marched them to the United States Public Health Service office at the beginning
of the bridge.
Dr. H.C. Hall, the Texas state health officer ordered
that the guards escort Dominga and her daughter over the bridge to Nuevo Laredo
and that Mr. Montelongo and Mr. Urrutia be “sent back the way they came over.”
[i] Dr. Hall and three quarantine guards brought Jose and his brother-in-law
Francisco Urrutia back to the riverbank. After a short scuffle, the guards forced
“the two Mexicans back into the river.”
[ii] Jose Montelongo drowned in plain view of both urban Laredos,
floating underneath the bridge and coming to rest on the south bank of the river.
This public death sparked the question of representation:
what body was available to advocate and redress the damages to the Montelongo/Urrutia
family. In this case, the recently appointed consul, Eliseo Arredondo, moved
the Montelongo case into the diplomatic arena. He added medical and legal witnesses
in Nuevo Laredo to add professional authority to the public memory of Jose Montelongo’s
death. Dr. Adolfo Salinas Puig and Francisco Serrans testified to the presence
of two severe head wounds. Judge H.C. Ramirez included the eyewitness testimony
of Francisco Urrutia and Dominga Urrutia. In his complaint to Robert Lansing,
Consul Arredondo emphasized that many bridge-crossers witnessed the scuffle
and watched Jose Montelongo float past the bridge.
The delicate negotiation between Carranza’s and Wilson’
representatives over the question of diplomatic recognition provided a new forum
for the inclusion of this evidence. Within two months, the solicitor general
of the United States requested that the state of Texas prosecute Dr. Hall for
excusable homicide. The terms of this inclusion implied an accompanying recognition
of U.S. prerogatives in Mexico: “the Department is called upon not infrequently
to insist that the Mexican authorities shall take legal measures against persons
charged with crimes committed against American citizens.” [iii]
District Attorney John Valls convened a grand jury
for November 20, 1916, to establish a bill of indictment against Dr. Hall. However,
“after so very thorough investigation of all the witnesses and all the circumstances
the grand jury did not find any bill of indictment in the case.” [iv] The jury refused to recognize
“Mexican” evidence against state medical authority in the court of law. This
decision was framed by the representation of Mexicans in Texas. This essay will
examine the problems posed to Mexican representation by Mexican demands for
recognition by American medical authorities; I will use vaccination “the scar
of citizenship” - as an arena where the recognition of modern Mexican bodies
troubled the distinctions between diplomatic, constitutional and common law.
Jose Montelongo’s beating illustrates the problem
of consent under the question of medical recognition; Jose Montelongo’s death
illustrates the problem of evidence within the realm of conflicting representations.
The trajectory of the case is an extreme example of the re-presentation of physical
and eyewitness evidence to a public event witnessed by multiple parties. The
abuse suffered by Jose Montelongo during a time of heightened medical policing
of the border highlights the role of state violence in the delineation of stark
national boundaries across recognized traffic routes. Moreover, the rerouting
and abuse suffered by Dominga Urrutia, Jose Montelongo and Francisco Urrutia
highlights the loss of control imposed on the boundaries of their person by
the medical agents of this modern border. Because of the place of medical authorities
as perpetrators, witnesses and defendants in the Montelongo case, I will place
the struggle for recognition on the border within the history of informed consent
in the United States.
As ethnic Mexicans stepped into the medical gaze,
they confronted a tension in the overlapping jurisdiction of common law and
constitutional law. The Supreme Court decision in Henning Jacobson v. the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts decision marked a precedent for the legal
reception for these claims-making processes. Henning Jacobson challenged the
argument that, if an adult endangered the wider community by refusing to allow
his or her child to be vaccinated so as to allow the child to attend public
school, the legal advocates for the state of Massachusetts argued, a municipal
authority had the obligation to fine, jail or adopt other means to compel the
adult to consent to the vaccination procedure. In Jacobson, the Court
agreed that the state had a moral obligation to value collective safety over
individual liberty, because “[it] was the duty of the constituted authorities
primarily to keep in view the welfare, comfort and safety of the many, and not
permit the interests of the many to be subordinated to the wishes of convenience
of the few. [The] rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may… under
the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint… as the safety
of the general public may demand.”
[v] The decision rested, as well, on the detentions written in the
1893 immigration act to justify a compelling state interest in collective safety
over individual liberty. [vi]
The various consular demands for the recognition
of individual autonomy filed with the State Department asked that local courts
recognize common law principles that highlighted the importance of individual
autonomy. In Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital, Ms. Schloendorff
consented to exploratory surgery to determine whether she had a tumor; she explicitly
demanded that the surgeon leave the tumor alone. The surgeon operated and removed
her tumor. In this decision, Judge Benjamin Cardozo articulated this common
law principle when he stated, “every human being of adult years and sound mind
has a right to determine what shall be done with his body… [And] a surgeon who
performs an operation without his patient’s consent commits an assault.”
In their complaints against quarantine, ethnic Mexicans
used consular channels to oblige USPHS officers to recognize the presence of
their consent to inspection and vaccination. Miguel Barrera, a long term resident
of Sam Fordyce, filed a complaint against Acting Assistant Surgeon John Hunter
with Leoncio Revelas, the recently appointed consul in Rio Grande City after
this policy had been implemented. Miguel Barrera claimed that Surgeon John Hunter,
“appear[ed] insensible to the just reasons that may be exposed to him by persons
like myself are used to deal with the TRUTH.” [viii] Surgeon Hunter
ignored the evidence that “[Barrera] was vaccinated at the age usually done
in Mexico, said vaccination having taken” and the supplementary arguments he
provided. Barrera claimed immunity from vaccination because he had already been
vaccinated and was therefore at a lower risk for infection; he was a long-term
resident of Sam Fordyce, Texas and, furthermore, he was only returning from
a short trip to Camargo, Tamaulipas. Despite Barrera’s claims not to be an incoming
Mexican, Surgeon Hunter considered him to be “an incoming Mexican.”
[ix] As Barrera stated in his deposition, Hunter “refused to hear
my arguments and vaccinated me.” [x] This was a clear case of lack of consent.
Despite Barrera’s layered disavowal of the stigmas
associated with the Revolution in Northern Mexico, he was still forced to initiate
his redress with the official representative of the de facto Mexican
government. Re-vaccination and redress against American officials were new and
potentially temporary features of the bi-national politics of the Mexican Revolution.
What was not new was the manner Mexican residents of Texas were directly affected
by policies and informal attitudes directed at Mexico. [xi]
In response to this complaint, John Hunter argued
that he followed the surgeon general’s instructions: “My instructions are to
vaccinate all who do not clearly show recent vaccination scars or clearly evident
marks of smallpox. I follow my instructions. Most Mexicans male or female will
deceive me if they can, in any way they can, so great is their prejudice to
vaccination and submission to our laws.” [xii] These federal vaccination practices
transformed any discussion of vaccination policies by Mexican nationals into
additional evidence of their untrustworthiness. The evidence of Miguel Barrera’s
experience was not relevant, because, in Dr. Hunter’s experience, “[Mexicans]
claim every little scar to be smallpox and if one has had chickenpox his whole
family will swear he has had smallpox.” [xiii] Dr. Hunter used the unreliability
of Mexican families to frame his interpretation of Miguel Barrera’s scars. This
is the doubled bind that tied individual men and women to the medical representation
of the evidence provided by Mexican bodies.
Montelongo and Barrera were not the
first boundary conflicts sparked by forcible American vaccination practices
and challenged by ethnic Mexicans. In my larger project, I argue that the relatively
early and frequently extensive presence of the USMHS in municipal affairs on
the border meant that Mexicans, both American and Mexican engaged federal medical
authority on an everyday basis. Beginning with the National Board of Health
and the Texas-Mexican epidemic of 1882, under-examined USMHS and State Department
documents for the larger Mexican borderlands demonstrate the well-traveled connections
Mexican and American immigrants made between citizenship and health care.
[xiv] The records highlight three significant themes in the legal
culture of public health on the Mexican border. Claimants demanded recognition
of their individual rights due to their participation in a shared understanding
of democratic and scientific progress. (ie I did not consent to this inspection).
The claims placed great faith in expatriate nationality for the advocacy of
common-law privileges in a foreign land. [xv] (ie I know
my rights). They also highlighted their membership in a larger community
that shared their experience of legal abjection (why are you doing that to
other Mexicans ), previous vaccination (I was vaccinated), a shared
modernity (we were vaccinated) and nationalist sentiment (you don’t
like Mexicans, do you).
In the United States and England,
official chroniclers drew connections between inspection, vaccination and citizenship.
The 1882 portrait, vaccinating the urban poor, highlights how vaccination
focused the chaotic diversity of urban residents in England to a shared public
Vaccinating the Poor 
In the 1886 Immigration Inspection Service folio,
the willingness of the immigrant mother to present the little boy’s arms indicates
an additional embrace of American policies by the varied immigrants.
National Board of Health Immigrant Inspection,
The 1895 drawing of a compulsory vaccine campaign
in Jersey City presents a fascination around the intermingling of consent and
compulsion in the creation of a citizen’s scar.
Compulsory Vaccination in Jersey City
This mixture of consent, compulsion and citizenship
moved northward to Nuevo Leon before it moved south to Texas. Vaccination was
a crucial technology to the appearance of modernity in Northern Mexico. [xvii] In the Porfiriato,
vaccination was both an industrial reform and an individual passport to modernity. [xviii] The Mexican Central Railroad
required vaccination among all its employees.
[xix] The American Smelting and Refining Corporation required vaccination
as a condition of employment. [xx] This commitment was recognized
by the United States Public Health Service, when Surgeon Alexander claimed that
“ninety-eight percent of the population in both cities [El Paso and Ciudad Juarez]
are thoroughly vaccinated, which is certainly a very satisfactory of the value
of vaccination… and most cases of smallpox here come from the lower parts of
Texas and New Mexico.” [xxi]
The very prevalence of vaccination led authorities
to require certified vaccinations for access to the emerging basket of goods
and services. In Monterrey, NL, urban residents had to have proper vaccination
scars and proof of certified vaccination to receive city services.
[xxii] An increasing number of self-styled modern work sites required
vaccination as a condition of employment. In Nuevo Leon, state health authorities
recommended a return to arm-to-arm vaccination and outlawed the Parke-Davis
calf-lymph vaccine points in 1908. [xxiii] Two years later, the Mexican
federal government mandated the same policy.
[xxiv] Northern Mexican authorities subjected vaccination to critical
scrutiny, partly because vaccination scars demonstrated a lasting commitment
to the new rhythms of industrial Mexico.
Of course, the appearance of
modernity in Mexico encompassed more than compulsory vaccination. The use of
store-bought clothing, a derby hat, suit and tie marked the full entrance of
a man into urban life:
Placing yourself in front of your husband’s camera
also indicated another claim for public space:
. This claim extended as well to a presence in the
armed defense of reform movements in Porfirian Mexico.
Although modern dress did not make a cientifico,
“modern” dress displayed a shared commitment to the national transition toward
a more modern Mexico. Displaying a vaccination scar to questioning public authorities
provided an affirmative response to the challenge, are you also modern?
The sense of this challenge to a public place provides
my basis for the following observation. The places on the Mexican border where
United States federal vaccination practices met the most formal resistance adjoined
the regions with the highest levels of vaccination coverage in Mexico.
[xxv] Mapping the complaints over the historical geography of Mexican
revolutionary factions point to a negative link between Mexican political incorporation
and violent Mexican dissent. By incorporation, I mean incorporation into governing
national coalition. By violent dissent, I refer to the smallpox riot of 1899
in Laredo and the two-day long El Paso Typhus Bath Riots in 1916 and 1917. By
lack of incorporation, I point to the active conflict over military control
of Ciudad Juarez between El Paso, 1912-1919, the armed insurgencies at the turn
of the century in Nuevo Leon.
The connection between political
incorporation in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo and the appearance of consular claims
against quarantine practices is even clearer. The people who filed the complaints
knew vaccination, appreciated vaccination and even embraced vaccination as a
technology to prevent disease. Their vaccination scars were clear evidence of
their commitment to modern medicine. When federal health officers refused to
recognize their vaccination scars, especially when the USPHS adopted unreliable
medical technology, these plaintiffs used recently arrived Carrancista
consuls to represent their demand for recognition. [xxvi]
The conflict over vaccination
in the eastern railroad corridor on the Mexican border was between representatives
of modern Mexico and the modern United States.
Venustiano Carranza and Colonel
Folsom on International Bridge. 
The claimants demanded the recognition
of their commitment to modernity. The wide commitment to a Mexican version of
modernity, in this case vaccination, led to a critique of American vaccination
practices and an embrace of official diplomatic channels. As consuls moved to
test cases that adequately challenged the “anti-Mexican feelings” among USPHS
officers, they embraced cases with plaintiffs that reflected changing terms
of inclusion. [xxvii]
Recently appointed Mexican authorities considered
the quarantine guard’s use of force authorized by the grand jury’s decision
in re: death of Jesus Montelongo to be abusive. [xxviii] The quarantine
authority’s use of violence against specific bodies was in contention in the
next consular challenge to Dr. Hall’s authority. Mexican officials in Nuevo
Laredo used the presence of specifically abused Mexican individuals to authorize
physical evidence. In another exceptional case, I. Juarez, immigration inspector
told Severiano Valle to present himself and a letter of introduction at Melquiades
Garces’ consular office in Laredo. The letter of introduction made reference
to the clear evidence of abuse that Severiano Valle had recently suffered. The
translated body of the letter follows:
“Yesterday several persons came to me, to complain that an
employee of the sanitary department of that republic, Charles Ramsay, treats
Mexicans with the utmost brutality. As proof of facts and that the consulate
in your charge may take up the matter energetically to avoid such ruthlessness,
I am sending you with bearer of this note, Mr. Severiano Valle, one of the five
victims yesterday afternoon of said sanitation employee. At the customs house
of this port is to be found another of the persons who has suffered at the hands
of said employee. I regret to personally have to add that the conduct of some
of the quarantine department employees of this state has really become intolerable,
and they are going the length of frequently physically beating our fellow-citizens,
and of these, ourselves can cite very many cases.” [xxix]
Inspector Juarez assumed that Melquiades Garces (and
anyone else) could see the traces of violence on Severiano Valle. The physical
presence of Mr. Valle as a body of evidence was very different from the body
of evidence available in Dr. Hall’s trial. Severiano Valle was alive and his
body could provide witness to the violence that was done to him and four other
people a day earlier. Instead of relying on paper writing, Melquiades Garces
used the traces of the beatings on Mr. Valle as the key piece of evidence. Inspector
Juarez used Valle’s body as the evidence to ground a legal story that stood
in for all five incidents. These five stories would then provide representative
evidence of the extent to which quarantine guards were “frequently beating our
fellow citizens.” [xxx]
This case never reached the docket in Laredo, because Dr. Hall and Dr. Hamilton
demanded that consuls use the local courts like they had in Montelongo (I would
be glad to speak to the response in Q & A).
On September 4, 1916, Juana Garza took the ferry
from Camargo, Tamaulipas, to Rio Grande City, Texas, to meet up with her sister
Juliana Solis. As she expected, she submitted to the inquiries made to her by
the inspector and a doctor. She was bathed and she and her two daughters, Epimenia
and Ofelia, were all vaccinated. At the end of the process, she was brought
to a room where the doctor, the inspector and a clerk asked her to take an oath
and answer a set of questions thoroughly. The inspector translated the questions
the doctor asked into Spanish and then communicated her response back to the
doctor. She told the inspector that she was from Los Aldamas, Nuevo Leon, that
Amado Garza, the father of her daughter Epimenia, paid for her passage to Rio
Grande City. She reported that she was going to stay with her sister Juliana
Solis. They pointedly asked if she was the sole means of support of her two
children. Despite the passage paid by Amado, Juana claimed responsibility for
her two children. [xxxi] At this point, Dr. Hunter read the statement
that Juana Garza, as the sole support of Epimenia Solis and Ofelia Solis, was
to be excluded because both children suffered from afflicted conjunctivitis,
a “loathsome and contagious disease.”
[xxxii] Edward Flannery told her that she had to return to Mexico
because her children were sick. On the ferry back to Camargo, she broke down
exclaiming that she and her children went through the bath, underwent the vaccination
and the doctor still prevented her from meeting her sister in Rio Grande City.
An older Mexican gentleman encouraged her, telling her that in Roma, there were
no inspectors, no doctors and no border stations. She gathered her two kids,
made her way to Roma, crossed the river and, within five days, made her way
to Rio Grande City. [xxxiii]
This small exchange between Leoncio Revelas, the
Mexican consul in Rio Grande City and Juana Garza, points to the breaches in
hierarchies and forced solidarities created by disturbances during the Mexican
Revolution. Revelas, as someone who crossed the border regularly, was very aware
of how Mexican nationals were treated by the recent medical arrivals in the
USPHS station. Revelas may have been happy to inform Juana Garza that her whole
family could meet if they crossed through Roma. [xxxiv] Within two weeks, Leoncio
Revelas filed the first of three complaints against the practices adopted by
Flannery and Hunter in Rio Grande City.
[xxxv] In the letter that accompanied Miguel Barrera’s complaint,
Revelas mentioned the cavalier way Flannery and Hunter treated women like Juana
Garza. In exchange for his kindness, Consul Leoncio Revelas assumed she would
approve the use of her experience as a key supplementary example of the disrespect
Dr. Hunter held for all classes in Mexico. For Revelas, the insistence on vaccination
regardless of immigration status demonstrated the immense disdain held by Dr.
Hunter and Inspector Flannery. In response, Leoncio Revelas considered it necessary
to defend the interests of a large number of border-crossing residents.
In the ensuing investigation, Inspector Reynolds told
Consul Revelas that Juana Garza’s children had “a loathsome and contagious disease,”
and that the absence of her husband made Juana Garza likely to become a public
charge and that either of these situations was grounds for deportation in any
version of American immigration law. [xxxvi] Revelas responded with an apology. Juana Garza’s
potential situation as a test case against vaccination policies for the consular
disappeared with the appearance of stains on her respectability. This relatively
weak representation of working-class claims by consuls was frequently repeated
over the following 15 years. Still, the struggle for authority between Revolutionary
factions led the relatively visible consul in Rio Grande City to use her case
as a vehicle for local authority. The translation of Juana Garza’s story into
a deposition in 1917 dramatized the sudden window of opportunity for Mexican
anti-vaccination claims on United States authorities.
The window was small. Consul Frezieres exerted diplomatic
pressure to force the medical inspectors to recognize the extent to which their
inspection practices were considered to be illegitimate by members of the Mexican
elite. On June 5, 1918, Mexican Consul Teodoro Frezieres made arrangements with
the immigration inspectors at Eagle Pass to allow the Peraldi sisters, the sisters
of the commanding general of the Piedras Negras military district and nieces
of General Carranza, a medical inspection-free passage into the United States.
The inspectors agreed to expedite the paper work. Three days later, when the
two sisters presented themselves at the immigration station, the immigration
inspectors allowed them into the United States and forwarded them to the quarantine
office in the same building. [xxxvii] The two sisters
were inspected for lice, their arms were examined by a “medical inspectress”
to ascertain whether they were vaccinated and whether those vaccination scars
were sufficient evidence of immunity to smallpox.
[xxxviii] As they left the medical inspection room, Consul Frezieres
witnessed their exit from their same room. As this was clear evidence that Inspector
Ostrom broke with his informal promise, Frezieres created a “totally unnecessary
and unjustifiable scene.” [xxxix] According to Inspector Parker,
Frezieres used so many words to inform Ostrom that he “was no gentleman,” that
Parker did “not have sufficient command of the English language to state how
insulting Consul Frezieres had been.”
[xl] In the subsequent investigation, all three inspectors maintained
that Mexican Consul Frezieres threatened to force any “Immigration man, going
to Mexico” to a bath, “even if he had to do it himself.” [xli] In this case,
the Mexican foreign office exerted diplomatic pressure; however, the immigration
office initiated an investigation into Consul Freziere’s willful misconduct
in this incident. After 1918 the consular office never officially filed claims
against American vaccination practices. [xlii]
After 1923, Mexican consuls did not use prior vaccination
or obvious respectability to challenge American vaccination and inspection practices.
For many border residents, the spectacle of compulsion associated with vaccination
and Mexican bodies was part of the urban border landscape.
Contract Laborers Awaiting Inspection, 1943. 
Cuban Refugee Awaiting Inspection. 
The presence of scenes like these in USPHS border
offices provided the working precedent to establish compulsory vaccination in
municipalities across the state of Texas.
[xliii] Justice Holmes used a perceived unanimity between state
legislatures and medical authorities to expand the legal authority provided
to medical authorities in public institutions. [xliv] As he stated in Buck v.
Bell, “the principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough
to cover cutting the fallopian tubes.”
In 1932, when Dr. Allen vaccinated 20% of the Mexican
Olympic team who did not provide satisfactory evidence of a successful vaccination,
he followed the tracks of his previous surgeons. When the consul declined to
file a complaint regarding this treatment, he too raced the physical evidence
provided by Mexican working-class bodies. [xlvi]
After 1928, Supreme Court decisions sanctioned the
detention, compulsion or punishment of people who allegedly threatened the survival
and interests of an imagined national community.
[xlvii] The Urrutia family, Miguel Barrera and Juana Garza outlined arguments
for their recognition against the legal precedent that provided scaffolding
for compulsory sterilization laws. [xlviii] That they made these arguments
is noteworthy; that the cases were filed with consuls and not in local municipal
courts dramatizes the extent to which even the form of legal representation
shaped a distinctive, form of racialization based upon their presumed "foreignness." [xlix] Thus, a key
contribution of these challenges lay in the demand for recognition in the face
of representations that transformed “the inhabitants of the borderlands [into]
trangressors, aliens whether they possess documents or not.” [l]
Mexican Family Awaiting Medicine by Dispensary. 
 Perspective map of the city of
Laredo, Texas, the Gateway to and from Mexico. Presented with the compliments
of the Laredo Real Estate & Abstract Co., http://memory.loc.gov/
 Vaccinating the poor / Drawn by Sol Ettinge,
Jun., 1873, http://wwwihm.nlm.nih.gov/
 New York, Harper & Brothers, Feb. 10,
1883. Harper's Weekly., http://wwwihm.nlm.nih.gov/
 Compulsory Vaccination in Jersey
 Smallpox Scars, http://wwwihm.nlm.nih.gov/
 Pablo Ramirez, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/txuhtml/runyhome.html
[i] Texas Quarantine Officer Dr. H.C.
Hall, "report regarding unfortunate drowning death of Mexican, 08/19/1916"
Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State, Decimal Files, Mexico,
158.008/13. National Archives and Record Administration II, Hyattsville,
[iii] Office of the
Solicitor, Department of State,’ “solicitor recommends prosecution of Dr.
Hall under Texas statute, 'excusable homicide, 10/12/1916,” Record Group 59,
Records of the Department of State, Decimal Files, Mexico, 158.008/14. NARA
[iv] Secretary John
Wroe, "In re -- Death of Jose Montelongo," Record Group 59,
Records of the Department of State, Decimal Files 158.008/15, NARA II.
[v] The language in
this decision did not mandate vaccination or any other medical procedure against
the consent of a particular person. Martin S. Pernick, “Eugenics and Public
Health in American History,” American Journal of Public Health 87:11
[vi] In the 1893 Immigration
Act, Congress called for the expulsion of immigrants on the basis of health
measures. Following this principle, Jacobson v. Massachusetts used
the principle of state police power to argue for compulsory vaccination. This
meant that people could be fined and jailed for not accepting vaccination.
In the 1929 Buck v. Bell decision, where Oliver Wendell Holmes argued
that the principle established in Jacobson v. Massachusetts was “wide
enough to cover cutting the fallopian.” This decision justified involuntary
sterilization of people that doctors considered to be not of sound mind in
the name of collective health. With this decision, a large amount of the procedural
autonomy of individual patients is undermined. The majority of this discussion
of the legal and intellectual differences and similarities between American
eugenics and public health comes from Martin S. Pernick, “Eugenics and Public
Health in American History,” American Journal of Public Health 87:11
(1997): 1770. For nuisance laws and the nineteenth century regulation
of individual liberties, see William J. Novak, The People's Welfare: Law
and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1996) and Morton Keller, Regulating a New Society:
Public Policy and Social Change in America, 1900-1933 (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 1994).
[vii] See Susan E. Lederer,
Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second
World War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 16. The problem
of patient consent within the process of human experimentation was part of
an important legal debate over the extent of patient autonomy and medical
authority. Susan E. Lederer highlighted changes in the construction of medical
consent in human experiment. See Susan E. Lederer, Subjected to Science:
Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War (Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 16. For an extended analysis of the
place of patient decisions in nineteenth and twentieth century medical theory
and practice, see Martin S. Pernick, “The Patient's Role in Medical Decisionmaking:
a Social History of Informed Consent in Medical Therapy,” in Morris Abram,
ed., Making Health Care Decisions: The Ethical and Legal Obligations of
Informed Consent in the Patient-Practitioner Relationship. Volume Three: Appendices
Studies on the Foundation of Informed Consent, (Washington, DC: Government
Printing Office, 1982), 1-31. The original language comes from Jay Katz, Experimentation
with Human Beings (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1972), 526-29
[viii] Miguel Barrera,
“In spite of having my residence on American Soil. Filed in Rio Grande City,
09/18/1916,” Record Group 59 Department of State. Decimal Files 158.1208/13
Enclosure. NARA II.
[ix] E. H. Gustetter,
“New Smallpox case. Nogales. American arrival,” February 18, 1914. RG 90,
USPHS subject files 1897-1923, File #2796, Smallpox, NARA II.
[x] Miguel Barrera,
“In spite of having my residence on American soil. Filed in Rio Grande City,
09/18/1916,” Record Group 59 Department of State, Decimal Files 158.1208/13
Enclosure. National Archives II.
[xi] For a solid overview
of events in 1917 surrounding the Brown Scare in Texas, please consult David
Montejano, Anglos and Texans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1986), 116-128.
[xii] J. P. Reynolds,
“Letter to Spivey by Dr. John H. Hunter,” Record Group 59, Department of State,
Decimal files, 1910-1920, Enclosure VII. 158.1208/11, National Archives II.
[xiv] The Mexican
foreign office registered the largest number of complaints by de facto and
official state authorities against compulsory vaccination between 1910 and
1940. See the file Records of the State Department. Record Group 59. Decimal
Subject Files, “complaints against quarantine.” entry 158.1208, NARA II, Hyattsville,
[xv] Chapter 3 develops
this argument for African-American migrants to Mexico. See Chapter 3, especially
135-137. Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 examine different facets of this argument
for Mexicans on the border.
[xvi] See Chapter
8, “Re-vaccination and Consular Redress,” 294-343, and Chapter 9 “Abject Positions
in El Paso,” 344-376 for an extended discussion of individual autonomy, compulsory
vaccination, Mexican claims on quarantine and Jacobson v. Massachusetts
in John Raymond McKiernan, “Fevered Measures: Race, Communicable Disease and
Community Formation on the Texas-Mexico Border, 1880-1923,” (Dissertation,
University of Michigan, April 2002).
[xvii] Ana Cecilia
Rodríguez de Romo, “Pasteurian science in relation to the antirabies vaccine:
the case of Mexico,” Dynamis, 16:1 (1996) 291-316. This article is
particularly good at analyzing the popular embrace of the vaccine in Mexico
[xviii] As the following
argue, modernity in Mexico encompassed more than compulsory vaccination. The
use of store-bought clothing highlighted the importance of appearance and
display in Porfirian Mexico. For example, the use of a derby hat, suit and
tie marked the full entrance of a man into urban life. Although modern dress
did not make a cientifico, modern dress displayed a shared commitment
to the national transition toward a more modern Mexico. The appearance and
literacy of workers and middling classes displayed a commitment to change
in Mexico. William E. French and Robert E. Buffington, “The Culture of Modernity,”
in William Beezley, ed. The Oxford History of Mexico, (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2000) 420-423. See also William E. French, A Peaceful
and Working People: Manners, Morals, and Class Formation in Northern Mexico,
(Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1996). See also George
Sanchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in
Chicano Los Angeles, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 17-36.
Alexandra Minna Stern, “Buildings, Boundaries and Blood: Medicalization and
Nation-Building on the Mexican border, 1900-1930,” Hispanic American Historical
Review, 79:1 (Spring 1999) 41-81. Both scholars focus on El Paso as the
representative city. This paper focuses on Laredo and Rio Grande City as representative
[xix] John Hamilton,
"Report of Investigation on Trip along Lower Mexican border. September
18, 1911,” 1-7, Record Group 90, United States Public Health Service, Subject
Files #2796 Smallpox, United States Public Health Service Files, 1897-1923.
National Archives Record Administration II.
[xx] C.L. Baker. American
Smelting and Refining Corporation. “Health and starvation conditions. Encloses
letter from C.L. Baker” Records of the State Department. Record Group 59.
Decimal Subject Files, entry 158.12/19. Treasury. ASARCO. Health and revolutionary
conditions in Mexico. NARA II, Hyattsville, MD.
[xxi] E. Alexander, “summary of transactions
from July 1, 1900 to June 30, 2001,” Annual Report of the Supervising Surgeon
General of the Marine Hospital Service of the United States, Fiscal year 1901,
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902) 486.
[xxii] Miguel E. Bustamante.
“Vigesimoquinto aniversario de la eradicación de la viruela en Mexico,” Gaceta
Medica de Mexico, 113:12 (December 1977) 556.
[xxiii] See Miguel
Bustamante, “Vigesimoquinto aniversario de la eradicación de la viruela en
Mexico,” Gaceta Médica de México, 113:12 (1977) 556.
[xxvi] See John Raymond
McKiernan, “Fevered Measures: Race, Communicable Disease and Community Formation
on the Texas-Mexico Border, 1880-1923,” (Dissertation, University of Michigan,
April 2002) 217-340.
[xxvii] R.M. Newton,
Assistant Secretary, Department of the Treasury. 158.1208/4. "Re: Rio
Grande Complaints about vexations of quarantine, 158.1208/3." Record
Group 59. Department of State Files. Mexico. Decimal Files, 1910-1920. National
[xxviii] John Wroe,
“re -- Death of Jose Montelongo,” NARA II.
Garces, “Translation of letter to Ygnacio Bonillas, Ambassador to the United
States, 04/23/1917,” 158.1208/3 Enclosure 1, Record Group 59, Department of
State Decimal files, 1910-1920. NARA II.. I have the copy of the letter in
[xxxi] Edward Flannery,
Inspector, Rio Grande City Station, "Enclosure: Board of Special Inquiry
regarding the exclusion of Juana Garza and her two children, Epemenia Solis,
female age 5 and Ophelia Solis, female, age 3, 09/24/1916", Record Group
59, Department of State, Decimal files, 1910-1920, Enclosure X. 158.1208/11,
National Archives II.
[xxxiv] George J,
Harris, Acting Supervising Inspector, El Paso Station, “Final report on alleged
abuses at Rio Grande City Immigration Station, 06/02/1917,” Record Group 59,
Department of State, Decimal files, 1910-1920, Enclosure X. 158.1208/11, NARA
[xxxv] Miguel Barrera,
Resident of Sam Fordyce, Texas, “in spite of having my residence on American
Soil, the doctor refused to hear my arguments and vaccinated me. Filed in
Rio Grande City, 09/18/1916,” Record Group 59 Department of State. Decimal
Files 158.1208/13 Enclosure, NARA II.
[xxxvi] J. P. Reynolds,
Chief Inspector, Brownsville Station, “Deposition taken from Leoncio P. Revelas
regarding complaints at Immigration station by Chief Inspector J.P. Reynolds,
Brownsville District, 05/23/1917,” Enclosure V, 158.1208/11, Record Group
59, Department of State, Decimal files, 1910-1920, NARA II.
Complaint by Mexican Consul in Eagle Pass regarding vaccination inspection
by Medical Inspector at Quarantine station,” entry 158.125/89, Records of
the State Department, Record Group 59, Decimal Subject Files, Treasury Department,
[xl] Acting Secretary
of Labor John Abercrombie, “Inspector Charles Parker, Enclosure II Deposition,
Inspector Chris Parker, 06/09/1918,” in, “Investigation subsequent to complaint
by Mexican consul regarding vaccination of two sisters, Eagle Pass, 06/08/1918,”
158.125/90, Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59, Decimal Files,
[xliii] Texas State
Medical Association, “El Paso solves the vaccination question,” Texas State
Journal of Medicine 19:2 (1923): 318.
[xliv] See Edward
J. Larson, Sex, Race and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South, (Johns
Hopkins University Press, 1995).
[xlv] Buck V. Bell, 274 U.S. 200
[xlvi] See the ASA presentation, “everyday
disturbances: respectability, “Indian” marathoners and the practice of inspection,
[xlvii] Henning Jacobson
v. the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, December 6, 1904. 197 U.S. 11, 25 S.Ct.
[xlviii] See Martin
S. Pernick, “Eugenics and Public Health in American History,” American
Journal of Public Health 87:11 (1997): 1770.
[xlix] Goerge J. Sanchez, “Race, Nation
and Culture in Recent Immigration Studies,” Journal of American Ethnic
History, 18:4 (Summer 1999) 66-84.
[l] For the quote,
see Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera, (San Framcisco: Aunt
Lute Books, 1999). For the reference to sterilization, Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction,
and the Meaning of Liberty, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997); Leslie J.
Reagan, When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United
States, 1867-1973, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); Elena
Rebéca Gutiérrez, “The Racial Politics of Reproduction: the Social Construction
of Mexican-Origin Women's Fertility,” ( Ph.D. Dissertation, Sociology, Ann
Arbor: University of Michigan, 1995).
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