Friday, August 20, 2010

Bicentennial Corner 8.20.10


THE WAR OF 1812 made fundraising for the hospital difficult, resulting in a 10-year gap between the signing of the MGH charter and the opening of the hospital. However, it was not just the war that impeded fundraising. In general, 1810 was a difficult time to ask Bostonians for donations.

In 1807, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson found himself caught in a trade battle between Britain and France and declared an embargo closing all American ports to foreign trade. This severely affected the trade-based New England economy, and Boston suffered. As a result, Massachusetts had little to do with the War of 1812, and even refused to lend its militia to the federal government. This is why Boston's response to the Circular Letter's request for support was surprising, overwhelming and a true testament to the philanthropic spirit of the city.

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