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Ernest Freeburg, a professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, explains how the equine influenza of 1872 shut down the US economy in an article for The Conversation.


For centuries, horses provided essential energy to build and operate cities. The equine flu made clear just how important that partnership was. When infected horses stopped working, nothing worked without them. The pandemic triggered a social and economic paralysis comparable to what would happen today if gas pumps ran dry or the electric grid went down.

In an era when many looked forward to replacing the horse with the promising new technologies of steam and electricity, the horse flu reminded Americans of their debt to these animals. Read the full article on The Conversation .


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Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,