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Here’s How The Founding Fathers Reacted When A Deadly Epidemic Struck Their New Capital

Updated 10 Apr 2019 6.9k views14 items

George Washington's second inauguration took place in Philadelphia in March 1793. Six months later, yellow fever had ripped through America's capital city, taking 5,000 lives. How did the Founding Fathers react when the epidemic called "American plague" struck Philadelphia? Yellow fever, spread by mosquitos, causes internal bleeding and insanity before claiming patients' lives. When the disease struck in August 1793, fear spread through the city. Eyewitnesses reported "universal terror" as conditions worsened. By October, a hundred people were succumbing to the illness each day.

Surprisingly, many Founding Fathers simply fled the city, leaving behind the poor to suffer in the streets. Both President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson abandoned Philadelphia. Two prominent Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Rush, stayed behind. Hamilton and Rush argued over the cause of yellow fever and how to treat it - and both men even caught the disease. Here's how Philadelphia survived one of the worst epidemics in US history.

PopularDiseases / Medical ConditionsYellow feverHistoryUS HistoryWeird History18th CenturyDisease Outbreaks