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Religion of ChiropracticPopulist Healing from the American Heartland$
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Holly Folk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469632797

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469632797.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

The First Adjustment

The First Adjustment

(p.14) Chapter One The First Adjustment
Religion of Chiropractic

Holly Folk

University of North Carolina Press

The first chapter relates the story of the discovery of chiropractic by D. D. Palmer in the mid-1890s, and discusses the meaning of the history of their profession to chiropractors. It traces the history of ideas behind early chiropractic theory and introduces two main themes as important to the emergence of alternative medicine in the nineteenth century: vitalism and populism. Vitalist ideas run the spectrum from mostly rooted in science to highly theological. D. D. Palmer understood chiropractic as a science, but he incorporated metaphysical spiritual ideas to create Chiropractic Philosophy. This chapter also proposes chiropractic as part of an American cultural tradition of popular physiology, that rejects elite medical authorities and claims the right to choose one’s health care as an essential democratic right. D. D. Palmer was suspicious of higher education and elite knowledge, which he emulated and rejected in creating chiropractic. Palmer’s writing shows him to be a populist intellectual of a type distinctive to the Progressive Era.

Keywords:   Daniel David Palmer, chiropractic philosophy, vitalism, populism, popular physiology, populist intellectual culture

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