Tag archives for Jim Murphy
When you stay home sick, you think you are in the worst situation possible. But after you read this book, you will be thankful it is just a cold! This story is all about the slow process of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia and how our entire country was affected. It was 1793, and Philadelphia was the largest city in America at that time. it was also the seat of our nation’s government. The political leaders were so spooked by the fever that they fled the town, leaving their positions unoccupied. Even our president, George Washington, left Philadelphia. At that time, Congress was housed in Philadelphia and because of the epidemic, they could not meet. This incident led to the creation of the rule that the president can convene Congress outside of the capital if the situation threatens the country’s well-being. It was amazing at how this fever made the whole country come to a standstill.
The argument between well-known doctors on treatment and causes were almost as persistent as the illness itself. The cause of the illness wasn’t found until later studies, but at the time many people thought it was because of the filth around the city of Philadelphia. There were no sewers or running water, but instead there were open ditches and wells. As the city was struck by the epidemic, they decided to do a city-wide cleanup so the disease would not continue to spread. Many of our modern city regulations on public health were a result of the changes made in Philadelphia due to yellow fever.
I recommend this book for kids in middle school who are interested in non-fiction or are looking for something new to try. I enjoyed this book because we hear about many illnesses that existed in other countries like the infamous black plague, but we normally don’t study the epidemics of our own country.