Black Death Dbq Essay

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All plagues strike by uprooting individual lives and society as a whole. Nevertheless, the particular circumstances regarding the government, and religious and cultural beliefs in the affected lands influence the specific results of the tragedy, as witnessed through the Black Death and smallpox. Although both diseases led to drastic economic changes, they caused different overturns of religious beliefs, and only the Black Death resulted in the creation of public health services and the marginalization of groups of people.
A lack of labor precipitated alterations to the economy--the end of feudalism in the case of the Black Death and the creation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the case of smallpox. The population of peasants in Medieval …show more content…

Undertaking a new role, government officials in Europe became responsible for setting restrictions for the common good, and limiting the plague’s victims. Thus, pest-houses were introduced, hospitals where infected citizens were interned for months against their will. New jobs also rose, including body removers who carted the sick to pest-houses, grave-diggers who buried dead from the streets, and fumigators who disinfected the houses of the deceased. Throughout smallpox’s purge of lives, neither quarantine nor any other organized measure was imposed to reduce deaths. The fragmentation of Native Americans into many different tribes prevented an overarching government from installing or upholding policy such as in Europe. Each community attempted their own cures for the plague, a common example being the practice of sweating, then plunging into cold water. The sharp contrast between tactics illustrates the influence and responsibility that governments hold, which enabled the organized action that was taken to combat the Black Death. Interestingly, it is also clear that Europeans and Amerindians held differing views revolving around sickness. When the Europeans fought against the disease with tactics of elimination, it often translated to a struggle against its victims. However, although the Native Americans’ attempts to halt smallpox within …show more content…

During the Black Death, many citizens accused Jews of poisoning well water and “corrupting the air.” Flagellants, bands of back whippers, often led crowds on Jew burnings, terrorizing and scapegoating them. Members of lower classes also experienced discrimination due to the plague. The rich had the option of relocating to villas to flee the virus, yet poorer people often had no choice but imprisonment in pest-houses. They often secretly buried their dead, and fearing internment, many chose suicide before subjection to the miserable conditions. Conversely, Native Americans would embrace the subjects of smallpox. The Assiniboine on the Great Plains invented a remedy that included living in close quarters with those smitten with smallpox to demonstrate their fearlessness of the disease. While the Amerindians justly blamed the conquerors for the introduction of smallpox, they held few actions in their power to cast away a group unaffected by the disease. Since communities mainly kept to themselves and lived separately than European settlers, they did not have an opportunity to marginalize anyone. Their acceptance of those diseased, however, reveals that despite lack of overall homogeneity, solidarity and loyalty were greater within tribes than across

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