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February 10, 1989

Morbid Appearances: The Anatomy of Pathology In the Early Nineteenth Century

Author Affiliations

St Mary's Hospital Medical Center Madison, Wis

St Mary's Hospital Medical Center Madison, Wis

JAMA. 1989;261(6):927. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420060143060

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It is a truism about revolutions that their most important effect is quite often the opposite of what was intended. The Russian revolution of 1917 set out to destroy the state. Instead, it resulted in one of the most oppressive and invasive governments ever. The French revolution also set out in 1789 to destroy the establishment and its symbols, including hospitals, doctors, and medical schools. Instead, in a few years the revolution set the stage for one of the most enlightened periods of medical advance known up to the time and made Paris the center of the medical world during the first half of the 19th century. In this dynamic process, the surgical and medical faculties were merged, hospitals became the focus of medical research and teaching, and, most important, there was an explosive growth of pathological anatomic knowledge. This in turn made possible the science of clinical diagnosis, and