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Charles Caldwell is still in Pennsylvania at the time this Oration was given, and was about to graduate from his schooling to become a doctor.  He learned medicine at the school in Philadelphia.  Philadelphia’s competitor, intellectually and professionally was New York’s Columbia College, where the Editor of Medical Respository Samuel Mitchell resided and worked. 

Following his completion of the medical training, Caldwell removed back to the Virginia-Kentucky area close to home and, one could say, learned to be himself.  Over the next several years, Caldwell would develop a very strong and sometimes stubborn attitude about many of the changes that took place in medicine following his graduation.  Some of these changes were very much counter to those of his mentors in Philadelphia, others he was in agreement with.

Quite soon, the three main debators in medical philosophy for this time became Charles Caldwell, Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia and Samuel Mitchell of New York.  Caldwell was equally likely to dispute any claims made by any others in medicine as well such as Botanist Barton, as part of their argument about the cause for the rural disease goiter assocaited with the westward moving pioneers.

The following is just one piece of Caldwell’s personality for the time.  An important thing to note here is that Caldwell almost had the mosquito theory figured out, but complicated it by allowing for other pestilence to be potential reasons for epidemic of the time–yellow fever.

For more about Caldwell, see his 1802 Oration on Endemic diseases and watch for other articles by him to be posted.

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