"Not from the college, but through the public and the legislature": Charles Maclean and the relocation of medical debate in the early nineteenth century

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Abstract

Charles Maclean is generally thought to have played an important role in the contagion debates of the early nineteenth century and to have prompted two parliamentary inquiries into the issue. The author examines the effects of Maclean's efforts to relocate the contagion debates from the medical to the public sphere. The author shows that Maclean's tactics challenged the exclusivity of medical knowledge by ceding power to decide the debate to a non-medically expert Parliament. The author also demonstrates how this conflict laid bare the side-by-side existence of two probative systems in medical debates during the early nineteenth century by examining the medical profession's struggle to establish what type of evidence would be considered probative and what type of witness would be considered competent to give it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-569
Number of pages25
JournalBulletin of the History of Medicine
Volume82
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

Structured keywords

  • LAW Centre for Health Law and Society

Keywords

  • Charles Maclean
  • Plague
  • Contagion
  • Select Committees

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