THE GREAT EPIZOOTIC OF
1872
Equine Influenza Devastates America
AMERICA COMES TO A HALT
Imagine a
transportation
disaster that within
90 days affected
every aspect of
American
transportation,
everything
Americans took for
granted, and
everything that
ensured their
safety.
AMERICA RAN ON HORSE POWER
Throughout most of U.S.
history, the horse has
been the engine of
business and commerce.
Our nation relied on
the gentle animal to
move freight and
perform countless tasks.
Millions of horses
30
The horse population in the U.S.
25
20
15
10
5
0
1840
1850
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
Horses per square mile
New Orleans
Atlanta
Washington
Baltimore
Philadelphia
New York
Buffalo
Albany
Boston
Kansas City
Milwaukee
Cincinnati
Detroit
Chicago
0
200
400
600
800
9/25-Markham, Ont.
10/1- Toronto
10/10-Detroit
10/14- Buffalo, NY
10/17-Rochester, NY
10/18- Montreal
10/19- Syracuse, NY
10/21- Keene, NH
10/22- NY, NY
10/22- Boston
10/23- Bangor, Me
10/23- Chicago
10/24- Baltimore
10/26- Pontiac, Mi
10/28- Philadelphia
10/28- Wash D.C.
10/29-Columbus, OH
11/1- Newark, De
11/2- Charleston
11/4- Springfield, Ill
11/5-Grand Rapids
11/6- Richmond, Va
11/10- Indianapolis
11/10-Savannah
11/13- Louisville
11/27- New Orleans
12/1-Colorado Springs
12/7-Havana, Cuba
1/26-Albuquerque
A highly contagious strain of equine influenza originated in Toronto, Canada and swept
south into the US in late 1872, affecting the entire country within 90 days. It is
estimated that 80%-99% of horses were eventually infected. Horses were unable to
stand in their stables and were seen coughing violently in the streets.
AMERICA CAME TO A STANDSTILL




The government in
Washington D.C. was shut
down
Ships in New York harbor
could not unload their cargo
A small fire in Boston grew
into a devastating inferno
destroying a large amount of
the city
The U.S. Cavalry was forced
to fight the Apaches on foot
EVERYDAY LIFE WAS FROZEN
In Philadelphia,
 streetcar companies
suspended service
 undelivered freight
accumulated at wharves and
railroad depots
 consumers lacked milk, ice and
groceries
 saloons lacked beer
 work halted at construction
sites, brickyards and factories
 city governments curtailed fire
protection and garbage
collection.
ISOLATING DIDN’T HELP
While the mortality rate was
relatively low, estimated at
only 1%-2% overall, large
cities lost many more horses
than in rural areas.
Since there were no horses to
haul coal out of mines, many
railroads went bankrupt as
well as thousands of other
businesses.
NEWSPAPER REPORTS
Reporting in the New York Times gives an insight
into the extent of the outbreak.
"There is hardly a public stable in the city which
is not affected“. the paper reported on
October 24, 1872.
"It is not uncommon along the streets of the city
to see horses dragging along with drooping
heads and at intervals coughing violently."
"Large quantities of freight are accumulating
along the Erie Railway in Paterson, New Jersey.
“The disease is spreading rapidly in Bangor,
Maine. All fire department horses in Providence,
Rhode Island, are sick."
THE FATE OF THE ECONOMY WAS IN
JEOPARDY
It was becoming apparent that a nation
so heavily dependent on the horse for so
much could suffer an economic calamity
from this epidemic.
Remember, this disease began spreading
in the fall of 1872.



What are most farmers doing in the
fall of every year?
How do Midwestern crops get to
Eastern cities?
What impact would this event have on
your ability to buy food for your
family?
GREAT BOSTON FIRE OF 1872
One of the major
casualties of the
Great Epizootic
was the city of
Boston itself. A
great fire swept
through the
industrial section on
November 9,
ultimately
destroying 65
acres of the city,
comprising 776
buildings.
No one is certain how the
fire started. The water
supply in the area was
inadequate, and many of
the buildings had wooden
roofs and were filled with
flammable materials.
Citizens of Boston were
forced to haul water to the
location on foot, without
the assistance of heavy,
faster-moving horses.
THE LACK OF HORSES AFFECTED THE
OUTCOME OF THE APACHE WAR
"There was still another source of
discomfort which should not be
overlooked. At that time the peculiar
disease known as the epizootic made
its appearance in the United States
and reached Arizona, crippling the
resources of the Department in horses
and mules; we had to abandon our
animals, and take our rations and
blanket upon our backs, and do the
best we could“.
The Chiricahua Apache chief, Cochise, was
a famous mounted guerrilla.
Captain John Bourke 1891
SUPPLY & DEMAND
THE IMPACT ON PRICES
Consumers “willingness to buy”
Price decreases; QD increases
P QD
$5
4
3
2
1
10
20
35
55
80
$5
D
$4
$3
$2
$1
0 10 20
35 55 80
Quantity Demanded
…a specified time period
…other things being equal
QD – how much will be purchased at a specific price [& date].
.
Price increases; QS increases
Price decreases; QS decreases
Direct
“S” refers to the “whole supply curve” and refers to what
producers will supply at “different prices”.
“QS” refers to a “point on the curve” and refers to what
producers will supply at a “particular price”.
S
Change in “QS”
P2
1. Price change
2. Movement
(up/down “S” curve)
P1
3. Point to point
(along “S” curve)
Producers want the
highest price possible.
QS1
QS2
Reasons For Upsloping “S” Curve
1. There is increasing opportunity cost if you don’t produce.
2. Current producers produce more [overtime/more shifts]
3. New producers are attracted to the market.
GRAPHING DEMAND
[Change in QD]
Price of Corn
P
CORN
P
$5
4
3
2
1
QD
10
20
35
50
70
$5
Connect the Points
4
3
2
1
o
D
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Quantity of Corn
Q
Price of Corn
$5
S
$4
$3
Plot the Points
$2
$1
o
Connect the Points
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Quantity of Corn
CORN
P
$5
4
3
2
1
Q
QS
60
50
35
20
5
Price (per pound)
Banana Supply & Demand
P D1
S1
Crop Freezing
S2
Damage…
P2
P1
o
Q2
Q1
Quantity
Q
American Flags After 9-11
P D1
D2
S1
Price (per flag)
P2
P1
o
Q1
Q2
Q
Patriotism Surge after 9/11…
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The great epizootic of 1872