Thomas Jefferson, Epidemics and His Vision for American Cities

Thursday, April 16th, 2020
The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia changed Thomas Jefferson’s thinking. Always anti-urban in his social outlook, the future president now began to formulate a radical plan for the development of new states and new communities west of the Appalachian mountains. In an age before antibiotics and systematic vaccination, Jefferson sought to design healthier communities on the tabula rasa, the blank slate, of the American heartland. Some, but not all, of Jefferson’s ideas were adopted as the American frontier moved west. Jefferson lived through one of the most serious plagues in American history. The capital of the United States was located in Philadelphia in the 1790s while the new U.S. capital was being planned and laid out in the District of Columbia. Jefferson was serving (reluctantly) as America’s first secretary of state and lived in one of the suburbs of Philadelphia in the summer of 1793 when yellow fever swept through the capital. Follow this link to read more. Sourced from: Governing