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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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“In a Yielding State”

“In a Yielding State”

Nervous Nationalism in the New Republic

(p.103) 7 “In a Yielding State”
The Contagious City

Simon Finger

Cornell University Press

This chapter identifies a post-revolutionary spirit of pragmatic experimentation in the new republic that encompassed medical practice, political organization, and social order. The revolutionary generation nurtured an age of enthusiasm and novelty—there was hope that the United States was destined to be freer, more secure, and more prosperous than any nation in the history of the world. The poets who strove to create a national epic sang the praises of American character and freedom, but they also promised health and vitality. To them, survival was organic and physical as well as ideological and institutional. Many intellectuals during this period would view the physical and political constitutions as inextricably linked, above all by the nervous system that bridged traditional divides of consciousness and reality.

Keywords:   physical constitutions, political constitutions, nervous system, American character, American freedom, political organization, social order

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