Medical History

Explore the racist history of opioid addiction following the Civil War, the influence of eugenics in prenatal care in the early twentieth century, and the history of DIY reproductive care.

About This Issue

This issue of The American Historian features three essays on “Medical History.” One article examines opioid addiction in the years following the Civil War and finds racism the cause of overprescription among white veterans and under-prescription among African Americans. Another essay explores the influence eugenics exerted in prenatal care in the early twentieth century. The final feature explores how best to teach medical history, especially history related to Do-It-Yourself gynecology and reproductive care in the wake of the Dobbs decision. The issue also includes an essay on how best to teach the history of non-violence during the civil rights movement, and how U.S. history is taught in French classrooms.


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