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EpidemicsHate and Compassion from the Plague of Athens to AIDS$
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Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198819660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198819660.001.0001

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Smallpox Violence in Victorian Britain

Smallpox Violence in Victorian Britain

(p.298) 13 Smallpox Violence in Victorian Britain

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

In contrast to North America, far fewer incidents of individual or collective acts of cruelty and violence were inflicted against smallpox victims in Britain. But similar to North America’s lines of conflict, the English aggressors were the wealthy and their butts of cruelty, the smallpox impoverished. Instead of direct action, the English approach to closing smallpox hospitals and preventing the poor receiving adequate care rested on lawsuits and judicial injunctions, reaching as high as the House of Lords, which allowed the privileged in districts such as Hampstead and Fulham to shut their smallpox hospitals, prevent smallpox victims from entering their districts, and renege on their civic responsibilities.

Keywords:   smallpox, effluvia, class conflict, London, Hampstead, Fulham, court injunctions, Metropolitan Asylums Board, Black Country, Stroud

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