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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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Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever

The Broader Picture

(p.394) 18 Yellow Fever

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

The chapter begins with the history of yellow fever in the Spanish Empire and its absence in spawning riots or attacks against the victims of the disease in the New World, despite great fear, panic, and the death principally of newly arrived and impoverished immigrants. The chapter then concentrates on yellow fever across the Deep South, the creation of ‘shotgun’ quarantines, and the first threats of collective violence from the end of the nineteenth century to the US’s yellow fever finale in 1905. These threats derived from recently arrived Sicilian workers on bayou sugar plantations and possessed the imprint of Old World cholera threats. Yet, unlike Europe’s cholera riots, suspicions relating to yellow fever never erupted into widespread rioting, destruction, or murder. Through campaigns by Italian-speaking neighbours and priests, the Sicilian workers soon gained trust and joined the campaigns to tackle the yellow fever peril.

Keywords:   yellow fever, panic, Spanish Empire, immigrants, Deep South, New Orleans, Louisiana bayous, sugar plantations, Italians in America, men’s clubs

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