Social Causes Of Cholera

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The Cholera outbreaks which dominated Upper and Lower Canada from 1832 to 1866, was responsible for an extensive overhaul of the relationship between the public and private sphere in terms of government intervention in people’s lives, the role of private sector charity, and the discretionary power associated with quarantines. Leading up to the Cholera epidemics the industrialization of Canadian cities such as Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto, accelerated urbanization as rural living Canadians and immigrants congregated in the cities looking for the opportunity of a better life. Although urbanization did bring prosperity to some, it also exposed faults within social structures and norms that governed social behaviour, social interaction, and…show more content…
These epidemics were asymmetrical in terms of which demographics were the hardest hit. Overall, the poor and immigrants were disproportionately impacted as these demographics were more likely to be subjected to over-crowding, poor sanitation, poor nutrition, and lack of access to healthcare. In the nineteenth century, the causality of Cholera was explained by the Miasma theory. Miasma theory asserts that the transmission of Cholera was contingent upon the existence of bad air that naturally existed within certain environments, but could be created and maintained by improper living conditions and actions. This had a profound impact upon the social concepts of sanitation, disease, and social space. This conceptual link provided the opportunity for the framing of Cholera through Miasmatic terms, to be applied to the habits and character of individuals who were seen to be unsanitary or unclean. Socially, this translated into the implementation of sanitation policy and quarantine, which disproportionately impacted the poor and immigrants, on the basis that the conditions that the poor and immigrants lived in were brought on by themselves by not following the societal standard of good living and hygiene. This perception of the poor was established because they were consistently subjected to poor housing, improper sanitation, little public relief, and overcrowding, which led to the…show more content…
Rather, there was various protests and resistance to the changes that the elites were attempting to make. Forms of protest ranged from vocalization of dissent to violent uprisings. Example of protest can be found in the opposition of the expansion of Quebec Public Health Boards regulatory power, and vocalizing opposition to temperance regulations in the media. Another, more violent form of protest, manifested on July 11th 1849, when a group of 2000 Quebec City residents organized outside of a newly created Cholera hospital and destroyed it in protest of its proximity to their neighborhood and fear of

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