Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John by Lester D. Stephens

By Lester D. Stephens

Within the many years prior to the Civil battle, Charleston, South Carolina, loved acceptance because the middle of clinical job within the South. by way of 1850, merely 3 different towns within the United States--Philadelphia, Boston, and New York--exceeded Charleston in ordinary heritage experiences, and the town boasted an exceptional museum of usual background. studying the medical actions and contributions of John Bachman, Edmund Ravenel, John Edwards Holbrook, Lewis R. Gibbes, Francis S. Holmes, and John McCrady, Lester Stephens uncovers the $64000 achievements of Charleston's circle of naturalists in a area that has conventionally been disregarded as mostly with out medical pursuits.

Stephens devotes specific recognition to the exact difficulties confronted by way of the Charleston naturalists and to the ways that their non secular and racial ideals interacted with and formed their clinical goals. in spite of everything, he indicates, cultural commitments proved enhanced than medical rules. while the South seceded from the Union in 1861, the participants of the Charleston circle positioned local patriotism above technological know-how and union and supported the accomplice reason. the resultant struggle had a devastating effect at the Charleston naturalists--and on technological know-how within the South. The Charleston circle by no means absolutely recovered from the blow, and a century could elapse ahead of the South took an equivalent function within the pursuit of mainstream medical research.

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Extra resources for Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815-1895

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Early in 1834, Bachman sent his ‘‘Remarks in Defence of the Author of ‘The Birds of America’ ’’ to the Boston Society of Natural History, before which it was read and then published in the Society’s Journal. He also sent it to England for publication in Loudon’s Magazine, in an e√ort to squelch attacks on Audubon by some British naturalists. In the paper he again defended Audubon’s claim about vultures, but he also assailed those who ridiculed Audubon for painting a rattlesnake in a tree. Reminding his readers that there are several species of rattlesnakes, he cited reliable witnesses to the climbing ability of one species of that reptile, but he could o√er nothing more concrete.

In this case, he placed a pile of o√al in an open area and erected a covered frame above the heap so that vultures could smell but not see it. Of an estimated 100 vultures in the vicinity, including both the turkey buzzard, Cathartes aura, and the black vulture, Coragyps atratus, none had approached the stinking mess by noon, whereupon Bachman then e x a lt i n g t wo b o o k s 19 removed some of the o√al and set it thirty feet away from the covered pile. Eight vultures quickly alighted to seize the rotting meat.

While generally receptive to a variety of ethnic groups, a host of religious denominations, and open discussion of virtually any topic, save slavery and southern ways, most well-to-do Charlestonians viewed their city as superior to any elsewhere in the nation or the world. Their unity lay in the special culture they shared. ∞∂ Contrary to older historical interpretations, however, the institution of slavery did not deter scientific inquiry and activity. In fact, Charleston produced a group of naturalists equal in ability and accomplishments to any elsewhere in the nation.

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