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The Physician-Legislators of France: Medicine and Politics in the Early Third Republic, 1870-1914

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Between the birth of the Third Republic and the outbreak of World War I, French medical doctors gained a far-reaching influence over the political life of their country, serving as mayors on the local level and ranking second only to lawyers in parliament. Their frequent medical contact with the people served as the foundation for their political success. In this volume Ellis explores the causes and significance of this phenomenon by examining the careers of the members of parliament who held degrees in medicine. It is the first book to deal explicitly with the backgrounds and careers of the physician-legislators, and uses a wealth of previously untapped sources. This study places medical history within a larger political framework and will be of interest to all concerned with modern French and European history, the social history of medicine, and the evolution of the professions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent collective biography of an important profession—highly instructive, readable and relevant to our own time." Choice

"...adds to our knowledge of the medical profession and its parliamentary role...." Patrick J. Harrigan, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Prosopography is difficult to write well, and Ellis has done an admirable job of making one cohort of French legislators more real and understandable." Evelyn Bernette Ackerman, Quarterly Review of Biology

"Ellis's analysis of the 'political history of medicine' and the 'medical history of...politics' in the form of a collective biography is a resounding success. Ellis tells a good story with skill, grace, and keen analytical insight. This is social history of medicine at its best. It reminds us of the importance of national styles in the history of science and medicine and that medicine, like science, cannot be divorced from its broader sociopolitical context." Ann F. La Berge, American Scientist

"...painstakingly meticulous book." Leonard Groopman, Isis

"...addresses one of those problems whose interest and importance seem obvious once stated, but which no one has previously thought to confront directly....a highly informative book." Matthew Ramsey, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of tables and graphs; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. At the Local Level: 1. The social formation of the physician-legislators; 2. Early medical careers; 3. Early political careers; Part II. In Parliament: 4. Patterns of medico-political careers in Parliament; 5. Reform of the medical profession; 6. Defence of the people's health; 7. The social problem; Conclusion and epilogue; Appendix A. Professors of medicine in parliament; Appendix B. The legislative record of doctors; Appendix C. Medical membership on the committee of public hygiene of the chamber; Bibliography; Glossary; Index.

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