The Opposition of Homeopathy III
As mentioned in earlier posts of The History of Homeopathy, there was great opposition from the AMA to homeopaths. Members of the AMA did everything possible to stonewall the education of homeopaths. In the 1840’s and again in 1855, proponents of homeopathy persuaded the Michigan legislature to establish a professorship of homeopathy in the department of medicine at the University of Michigan.
The AMA was determined not do recognize the university’s orthodox medical graduates if a homeopath, as one of their professors signed their diploma. Back then, all professors signed graduate’s diplomas. Again the homeopaths fought and brought their case to the Michigan Supreme Court three times, and each time the court was uncertain about its power to make the University of Michigan take action. (28) Eventually a compromise was reached. 1875 marked the year Michigan legislature voted to give money to a new hospital as long two homeopathic professors were allowed to teach at the U of M. Another decision was made as to the signing of diplomas, which entailed that from then on only the president of the university and the secretary would sign the diplomas, hence allowing the graduates from the U of M to be recognized by the AMA. Even though this compromise was reached, virtually every medical journal in country tried to convince the Michigan medical faculty rather to resign than participate in the training of homeopaths. (1)
Hostility to homeopathy was also widely experienced in Europe. A French medical student was thrown out of medical school for merely expressing an interest in homeopathy. When J.P. Tessier, an orthodox French physician, assessed the results of homeopathy at Ste. Marguerite Hospital, and declared favorable results of homeopathy to the Paris Academy, he provoked a storm of protests. There was not one orthodox medical journal which would publish the results. He published them in a homeopathic journal and as a result he was eventually expelled by the medical society. (2)
In the 1830’s the practice of homeopathy became illegal in my home country, Austria. Even though it was illegal, many people resolved to micro-doses admits the cholera epidemic of 1831. Statistics prove, that those with cholera, who were treated with homeopathy had a mortality rate of 2.4 and 21.1 percent. This compares to over 50 percent of those with cholera under orthodox medical care. (3)
Not only was it not enough for conventional physicians to deny homeopaths the right to practice, join medical organizations, and gain medical education, they also resolved to slander the reputation of homeopaths. Homeopaths were held to be “immoral,” “illegitimate,” and “unmanly.” There was not one grain of scientific evidence backing up these claims on the evaluation of the healing art of homeopathy. Rather, the opposition arose primarily because homeopaths were real and significant challengers for conventional physicians.
Not all was that gloomy though, as you will read in The Rise of Homeopathy I. I also would like to remind you, that you are more than welcome to comment on that series, and really, any other posts on this blog, you might find intriguing, thought provoking, or posts that move you in any other way through the Comment link, provided at the bottom of each post next to posted by…
1. Coulter H. (1982) Divided Legacy vol. 3. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. p. 209
2. Ibid., 562
3. Cook T. (1981) Samuel Hahnemann: The Founder of Homoeopathic Medicine. Wellingborough, England: Thorsons. p. 158
3. Bradford T. (1900) The Logic of Figures or Comparative Results of Homeopathic and Other Treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel. pp. 112-146