Macquarie University
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19th century American social milieu and alternate disease theories: origins of chiropractic

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:49 authored by Desmond Wiggins
Studies on the origins, development and acceptance of chiropractic in America have typically emphasised the period September 1895 when Daniel David Palmer is reported to have successfully treated Harvey Lillard for a seventeen-year history of deafness with a ‘new’ form of manual treatment called ‘chiropractic’. The aim of this research was to establish if factors present in American society during the latter part of the 19th century created a favourable environment for the development and acceptance of chiropractic. A retrospective constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to conduct an examination of primary and secondary sources related to this period. Four factors were highlighted as contributing to the creation of a favourable environment for the development of alternate theories of disease. These factors were medicine, economics, religion and politics. A clearer understanding of these factors and the role they played in shaping the scope of chiropractic during the early years will help inform the current debate about the use of Palmer’s theories in modern chiropractic.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Nineteenth-century American society -- Chapter 2. A review of the literature -- Chapter 3. Daniel David Palmer -- Chapter 4. Methodology and results -- Chapter 5. Discussion -- Chapter 6. Conclusion -- Chapter 7. References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 48-74

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Chiropractic

Department, Centre or School

Department of Chiropractic

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Roger Engel

Additional Supervisor 1

Chris Dixon


Copyright Desmond Wiggins 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




United States


1 online resource (ix, 81 pages) illustrations

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