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The Contagious CityThe Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia$
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Simon Finger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448935

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448935.001.0001

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“A Rude Place and an Unpolisht Man”

“A Rude Place and an Unpolisht Man”

William Penn and the Nature of Pennsylvania

(p.7) 1 “A Rude Place and an Unpolisht Man”
The Contagious City

Simon Finger

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes how William Penn's understanding of how to identify and create healthy living spaces guided his approach to settling Pennsylvania and to governing it, setting the stage for conflict with settlers and constituents who did not share his assessments of the local conditions or his priorities for the city's development. It was far from clear that any city could provide both wealth and well-being; most of the era's major cities were filthy, pestilential places. Penn's own sentiments were haunted by the living memory of London beset by plague and conflagration. At stake was more than just the proprietor's power, but broader anxieties about whether English life would survive the journey to America, whether people made their environments or were made by them, and whether commerce and a healthy constitution could coexist.

Keywords:   William Penn, Pennsylvania, commerce, healthy constitution, London, city development, English life

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