AP European History
August 31, 2012
DBQ: The Black Plague
From the late medieval era to the enlightenment a series of plagues devastated European society, economy, and social/political structure. Reaction toward the calamity ranged from rational and proactive to irrational, egoistic, and even criminal. Over all, the human devastation revealed a growth over time in government role and the role of the educated class in serving society, while uncovering a persistent criticism of the upper classes and the common people.
The plague illiated a growing rational and proactive response, by the state and educated class. In 1512 Erasmus, a Christian humanist who prepared a new edition of the Latin and Greek testament, he was also known for his techniques using humanism to write his texts, proposed a scientific explanation blaming uncleanliness for the plague (Doc 2). The plague was carried around by rats which contributed to the dispersion of the bacillus. The areas that were the most susceptible to the plague where those with the most famine. In 1571 Heinrich von Staden, count of the Palestine, observed some of the cardinal consequences of the plague such as roads being guarded so that infected people didn’t move from the infected area (Doc 5). The closing of roads led to a disruption in trade throughout Europe. This had a major impact on economy. Only upper class people were able to afford the expenses required if they got infected. In 1576 Motto of Giovan Filippo, physician who is believed to be the first person to have described chicken pox, concluded that diseased had to be in quarantine, citizens who violated health regulations had to be punished and all infected items had to be burned (Doc 6). Not everyone could afford to pay quarantine and the ones who could pay for it were those who didn’t need it. The people who were the most affected were the peasants and they couldn’t afford it. By the 15th and 16th centuries the educated class started finding new...
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