Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Research the political climate in 1793. Why was the capital in Philadelphia? Where did the Congress meet? What issues did the government officials handle?

2. Detail the real-life impact of yellow fever in the United States in 1793. What causes yellow fever? Can it be found in the world today? What medical changes occurred because of this tragedy? How would this disease be treated in the early twenty-first century?

3. Animals frequently play a valuable part in history. What types of pets did Philadelphians own in the late 1790s? What useful purposes did they serve besides companionship? What animals would be in the city which were not pets? What roles did these animals have?

4. The story occurs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1793. Compare and contrast Philadelphia in 1793 and today. Describe its layout and traditions. What businesses support the culture then and now? How did the city change after the epidemic to make it what it is today?

5. Anderson refers to a hot air balloon in her story. Research the event that occurred on January 9,1793. What makes it significant? Did this event affect hot air balloons as we know them today?

6. Compare and contrast the coffeehouses of the time. What purposes did they fulfill? What food and beverages did owners serve? How do they compare to modern day coffeehouses?

7. Describe the medical community and remedies available in 1793. What credentials did the society require, if any? How did these circumstances contribute to how the disease spread and killed? What good arose out of the tragedy?

8. Polly, Mattie's childhood friend, spent time at the blacksmith's shop, eyeing the blacksmith's son. Research the history of the blacksmith. What did a blacksmith do? Is black smithing still engaged in today? How has it changed since the 1700s?

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