How have epidemics shaped American history

how have epidemics shaped American history since Christopher Columbus first encountered indigenous people in North America in 1492? How did the Spanish , other European conquerors, and Americans interpret the mass death of Native Americans during epidemics from the 1500s to the 1800s? How were these tragedies used as justification for white supremacist ideology, theft of indigenous land, and violence against Native Americans? How were reactions to epidemics among indigenous people similar to white reactions to epidemics among Freedmen during Reconstruction, and among Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants in large American cities from the 1830s to the first decade of the 20th century? How did mislabeling the 1919 influenza pandemic in 1918 the “Spanish Flu” shape American politics, particularly regarding immigration, after the First World War I? Finally, what similarities are there to how American society reacted to these earlier disease outbreaks and the perception of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s and the Covid-19 pandemic today?
In your answer, consider whether previous generations of Americans and today’s society reacted to disease outbreaks with social responsibility, meaning that they placed the greater good of the society as a whole ahead of the interests of the group to which they belonged. Have American leaders responded to these pandemics with an understanding of the cultural differences between the majority culture and marginalized communities suffering from these epidemics? How did the majority culture’s definition of American identity influence their decision making and actions? In the case of the AIDS outbreak, how did the affected communities act to change public policy and attitudes towards those suffering from the disease?

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