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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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Cholera’s First European Tour

Cholera’s First European Tour

The Story in the British Isles

(p.163) 7 Cholera’s First European Tour

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr.

Oxford University Press

This chapter discovers seventy-two cholera riots in the British Isles during the first thirteen-month cholera wave to strike the region in 1831–2. These show a variety of concerns with one distinctive characteristic that derived from new demands by anatomical schools to supply human cadavers for teaching. Overwhelmingly, the motives behind this cholera hate and violence, however, form a larger pattern seen from Asiatic Russia to New York City: fear of hospitals and the state induced by the belief that elites with physicians as their agents had invented the disease to cull populations of the poor. While impoverished women and children and recent immigrants composed crowds numbering as many as three thousand, the targets of the rioters were cholera vehicles, hospitals, and physicians. It was a class struggle but one which Marx, Engels, and later left-leaning historians have made little attempt to explain or even mention.

Keywords:   cholera, riots, newspapers, anatomy schools, class conflict, mythologies of mass murder, Scotland, England, Ireland, Burk and Hare

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