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tv   1830s Cholera Epidemic and Indian Removal  CSPAN  August 25, 2018 11:40am-12:01pm EDT

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impact of technology on the jobless underclass, concerns around productivity and debts that overhang, and income , something when i was doing my phd was oud.r discussed al and the people charged with overseeing the regulatory environment are very short-term and myopic in their frame. "afterwards" on sunday night on c-span2's book tv. president andrew jackson signed the indian removal act in 18:30, which -- 1830, which ordered native americans to resettle to the west. we spoke with stony brook history professor paul kelton, who discussed the spread of the cholera in the 1830's and how it affected native americans. this is about 15 minutes.
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paul kelton, provides are history at stony brook university, and the author of a number of books, let's talk about the cholera epidemic. first of all, what was it and how widespread was it? prof. kelton: the cholera epidemic was one of the first epidemics that started. it spread out of south asia into europe, and there is a major epidemic in 1830, 18 31, and 1832, and it spread across europe. in 1832 in the americas and spread throughout north america in 1832, remaining in circulation in 1833 and 1834, sort of a global pandemic affecting millions of people. >> what was it? what were its victims? what with the prognosis of you got cholera? prof. kelton: you did not want
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to get it for sure. that spreadteria through fecal contaminated water, incubates in the body and creates massive diarrhea. in a six-hour period, one would lose massive amounts of lewis -- fluid and the body would go into spasms and turn blue. that was one of the telltale signs, when the bodily organs start to shut down from three had ration -- dehydration, the body turns blue. in six hours. not everyone died, but it was a .evastating, deadly disease the symptoms were telling, so people knew what it was. >> was there any treatment? prof. kelton: you treated it through rehydration, and there were and a biotic says well. antibiotics as well. in the 1830's, nobody understood
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that. they do not understand that rehydration was needed. so they tried opium, even bleeding, which did not help. there was no treatment and the medical establishment did not understand the disease, which was very perplexing to them. they knew it was spread -- >> they knew it was spread through the water? prof. kelton: well they didn't exactly know that. >> but they did, with a be able to prevent that? prof. kelton: there was a debate going on with the medical debate believing it was a combination atmospheretoxic blending with miasma, dk that it -- decaying vegetative matter. and people had bad habits worse the malnourished,
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the filthy, the poor were seen as susceptible, but it confounded them because the disease spread through both traffic, and that was quite obvious. s fromn removed fluid those who had better happened -- habits. the medical profession had to take a step back. there are a number of states that, i guess, they take back regulations over who could become a doctor because doctors were pretty inept. >> you said it began to wane around 1833 in the u.s.? prof. kelton: 1834 is the last case of cholera for another 15 years. in the 1840's, it comes back. 1833, 1834, how did it dissipate? i am kelton: that is what
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working on now. it clearly spread through immigrants coming to the united states, packed aboard the ocean liners that are in unsanitary conditions. it spread along steamboat traffic, through the erie canal, great lakes, down to ohio, and i am looking at how the interstate slave trade caused, how thousands of african-american slaves are being moved by steamboat down to the river valley where they can be sold. and you have indian removal going on, where thousands of people are being forced from their homeland to the west, and those forms of human trafficking intersected and spread the disease further to the west. it dissipates as it works its way through that traffic. it impacted most of the united states. what groups are most
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susceptible? prof. kelton: all groups are susceptible, and i talked about how cholera is often listed as one of these new diseases that europeans brought theydigenous people, and are more susceptible to these new diseases. but everyone was susceptible. african-americans, euro-americans, and businesspeople. -- indigenous people. no one had acquired immunity to the disease. no one had the genetic makeup .hat would allow them to escape susceptibility would be a factor of living conditions you are in. did you have access to clean water? if you did, you are more than likely to not become infected. so the wealthy would be able to escape to places like new york city -- escape places like new york city and move out to the
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country, where they would not be affected, while the poor living in the city would be more susceptible. indigenous people, who are being forced from their homeland and , why areto steamboat they susceptible? they are being ethnically cleansed from the homeland. the indigenous people who remained in their homeland were not susceptible. enslaved african-americans living on rural plantations were not as susceptible as those being sold on the river at the time. >> andrew jackson was in the white house during part of this time. did he have any response? prof. kelton: you got -- he got out of washington, d.c. during the epidemic, because it was kind of in the crosshairs of the epidemic as well. he knew of the disease, it was coming. martin van buren was in england in 1831 and writing letters to jackson about the cholera epidemic. he, like most americans, did not
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understand why this spread, how it spread. at one point, they said it was a disease that was not going to spread to the south. when it did, they realized that yes, this is spreading. he worried about his own family, traveling through the hermitage and telling them to be careful. he believes, i think like a lot of americans, that susceptibility would be to someone who had a poor diet, eight a lot of raw vegetables, which was considered a lot of poor diets, or has temperance or anxiety. jackson is telling his family to remain calm because anxiety will drive up your mortality rate. so he is pursuing these policies that is scaring the death out of the indigenous people. they are having to leave the land that they knew and travel to a strange land, and being forced into these conditions. many people in the united eighth
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-- if any people in the united states had a reason to be anxious, it was indigenous people. there is no national response, not like we would have today. it was all on a local level. >> and the media was still very local. how did americans get their news on this? yes, media was very local. newspapers picked up stories from other newspapers and reprinted them. we have a clear indication of spread, andase local communities would form health boards to clean up the to disinfect and enacts quarantines -- enact quarantines. that was the response on the local level. citizens demanding more
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of a federal response? did they demand that the government be more proactive? interesting: it is -- before the epidemic actually they asked president jackson did claire -- to declare a day of passing in prayer. he refused to do it. i do not think ordinary people were expecting the federal government to do anything about this epidemic. they were expecting their local governments to do that. if you lived in a poor city, to quarantine it -- a port city, to quarantine infected ships, and if you lived in detroit, another example, the local people are demanding that no more ships, steamships come into detroit. that interfere with commerce -- that interfered with commerce, so local businesses, people in
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commerce would have had a vested interest in subscribing to the atmospheric explanation of cholera, where this was not a contagious disease. ordinary people would want to hedge their bets and say, this is a contagious disease. we are in sacramento, and you presented this to your peers and colleagues. what questions did they ask you? prof. kelton: they will ask me, i hope, the susceptibility of [inaudible] in indigenous people. aboutill allow me to talk how this wasn't spread into the west, through indian removal -- was spread into the west, through indian removal and the indians that lived in osage in oklahoma at the time. it affected groups in kansas .hat were being removed
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this was anbout how epidemiological nightmare for the indigenous people. it is in a very general way, but we know specifically the diseases they died from, how indian removal foster the spread of diseases and led to indigenous people being vulnerable. >> is that in your book "cherokee medicine?" prof. kelton: i had actually planned a chapter on the removal, but cholera becomes the remain story. -- the main story.
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presidency, the harry truman legacy >> panelist talk about the relationship with winston churchill. the u.s. position in berlin and the origins of nato, which mr. truman considered a signature accomplishment. the harry s. truman little white house and harry s. truman foundation both in key west, florida, co-hosted the event. this is the first of two parts. it's about two hours.


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