Cholera Epidemic Of The Nineteenth Century Europe : A Tool For Social And Economic Analysis

Cholera Epidemic Of The Nineteenth Century Europe : A Tool For Social And Economic Analysis

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Charles Rosenberg’s article Cholera in the nineteenth-century Europe: A tool for social and economic analysis evaluates the impact of epidemics on society and the changes that ensue as a result. It is Rosenberg’s view that most economic historians overlook the overall importance of epidemics by focusing primarily on economic growth. Rosenberg’s article aims to bring a more human approach to the Cholera epidemic while showing its potential to affect every aspect of society (453). Rosenberg believes epidemics are an event that show the social values and attitudes towards science, religion and innovation at that particular moment in time (452). His thesis for the article begs the question, what was needed at that time for the culmination of all of these changes to occur?

Throughout the article Rosenberg reflects on the changes in not only science but also the field of medicine caused by the Cholera epidemic. Cholera first appeared in Europe in 1830 and was little understood by physicians or scientists at that time. This frightening illness killed roughly half of all the people that contracted it. With this in mind an explanation for and the prevention of Cholera became paramount to ensuring the safety of cities. The rapid advancement of science and technology at that time, Rosenberg states, allowed physician’s access to instruments previously unavailable to them. Rosenberg claims that epidemics initiate a crisis thereby prompting a profound social change. This review will investigate Rosenberg’s argument to support the effect of epidemics on science and society.


IMPACT on SCIENCE and MEDICINE
There is no clearer display of epidemics ability to transform the world than the progression of science and medicine as shown by Rosenberg....


... middle of paper ...


...overnments functioned on a more independent basis (462). History shows that unlike programs undertaken prior to this public health became a central focus of rapidly developing cities. In fact the cities response to a reported cholera case could be likened to that of the present day center for disease control. Far from a passing trend public health remains a crucial element of our modern day society.

Rosenberg’s article contributes a great deal of knowledge to help us understand how and why an epidemic can be responsible for the social and scientific changes of a society. He also provides an argument for how a crisis situation can help to shape the world of science and medicine as we know it today. His thorough review of the Cholera epidemic demonstrated how this one profound event shaped not only the science and society of that time but also the centuries to come.

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