America's First Plague: The Deadly 1793 Epidemic That Crippled a Young Nation
Lynn Library Catalog Record
As disease spread, the national government was slow to react. Soon, citizens donned protective masks and the authorities ordered quarantines. The streets emptied. Doubters questioned the science and disobeyed. The year: 1793. The place: young America from Baltimore to Boston but especially in Philadelphia, the nation’s largest city and seat of the federal government. For 3 long months yellow fever, carried by mosquitoes let loose from a ship from Africa, ravaged the eastern seaboard The federal government abandoned the city and scattered, leaving a dangerous leadership gap. By the end of the pandemic, ten percent of Philadelphians had died.
America's First Plague offers the definitive telling of this long-forgotten crisis, capturing the wave of fear that swept across the fledgling republic, and the numerous unintended but far-reaching consequences it would have on the development of the United States and the Atlantic slave trade. It is an intriguing tale of fear and human nature, a tragic lesson of how prejudice toward blacks was so easily stoked, an examination of the primitive state of medicine and vulnerability to disease in the eighteenth century, and a story of the struggle to govern in the face of crisis. With eerie similarities to the Covid pandemic, historian Robert P. Watson tells the story of a young nation teetering on the brink of chaos.
College of Arts and Sciences
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Watson, R. P. (2023). America's first plague: The deadly 1793 epidemic that crippled a young nation. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.