“A New Era in the Science of Medicine”?
The Conclusion suggests that the yellow fever debate revealed the untenability of scientific inquiry based on the common-sense model, which could not sustain productive debate. It also contends that the yellow fever years help explain the trajectory of American science and medicine in the nineteenth century, when natural inquiry began to move out of the public sphere and into professional organizations and institutions of “experts.” In medicine, this tendency crystallized in the rise of hospitals and autopsy, and in the search for disease in the tissues of the body. The debate between localists and contagionists reappeared in American South in response to its own yellow fever epidemics and in the United States’ industrial cities in response to cholera, but these investigators would be inclined to look for answers in the bodies and corpses of their patients, as much as in ships and putrid effluvia.
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