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Carolina in CrisisCherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756-1763$
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Daniel J. Tortora

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621227

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621227.001.0001

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A Situation Too Terrible for Us

A Situation Too Terrible for Us

Smallpox and Social Upheaval

Chapter:
(p.81) 5 A Situation Too Terrible for Us
Source:
Carolina in Crisis
Author(s):

Daniel J. Tortora

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621227.003.0006

This chapter discusses the social and political consequences of smallpox, particularly in South Carolina in the year 1760, brought about after Lyttelton's return from an expedition into Cherokee country. The epidemic spread to the white and black populations within Charles Town, and also affected the Cherokees. In most cases, the people found themselves ill-equipped to cope with the epidemic, be it due to lack of proper medical aid, finances, or via the use of nonscientific methods, such as the rituals performed by the Indian healers. As a matter of fact, the epidemic demoralized, debilitated, and destroyed Indian communities. It exacerbated race and class tensions, exposing a colonial government unprepared, reluctant, and unwilling to deal with the contagion effectively. As Charles Town elites questioned Lyttelton's leadership, seeds of doubt took root for what would soon become the Revolutionary generation.

Keywords:   Charles Town, smallpox, smallpox epidemic, 1760, Lyttelton, Indian communities

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