FDR's Influence on Polio Vaccine Development Open Access

Lunsford, Campbell Brotherton (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8w32r6248?locale=en


Franklin Delano Roosevelt is one of the most widely known American presidents. Whether it be for his New Deal, fireside chats, role in helping America during the Great Depression, or influence in the lead up to the Second World War, most Americans at that time felt a personal connection to their president. However, his relationship to polio and polio cure research is a less popular topic amongst these other worldly and historical events. This thesis addresses the ways in which Roosevelt and his presidency affected polio vaccine development through his purchase of Warm Springs and continued interest in funding polio research. Even though Roosevelt had died by the time a cure was finally discovered, it could not have happened without his influence, and countless polio patients lived a much more inspired and comfortable life due to his efforts.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One: FDR's Diagnosis and Warm Springs 5

The Diagnosis

The Disease Itself

The Spectrum of Reactions The Agreement

The Warm Springs Purchase

Chapter Two: Philanthropy and Research 27

The National Foundation & American Philanthropy

The National Influence on American Philanthropy

The Challenges of Defining a Disease

The Relatable President

Chapter Three: The Race for the Vaccine 48

The Early Techniques

The Beginning of the Race for a Cure

The Salk Vaccine

The Vaccine in the Background

Conclusion 64

Works Cited 68

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