81 pages 2 hours read

Jim Murphy

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Nonfiction | Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2014

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Chapters 9-10

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 9 Summary: “A Delicate Situation”

At the end of October, a frustrated George Washington tries to get information about what is happening in Philadelphia. Most of the news he receives is vague and comes from secondhand sources. He has not received any official documents since the government clerks abandoned the city. Without much knowledge of what is transpiring in the city, Washington struggles to make decisions. Of particular concern is the lingering question of whether congress can meet outside of Philadelphia. Key members of the government remain divided. Ultimately, Washington turns the issue to his Attorney General, Edmund Randolph, who believes it is unconstitutional and vetoes the prospect.

Before the month ends, Washington hears from the Postmaster General that the fever is on the decline. However, he gets another conflicting report from the Comptroller, who urges him to stay put for a while longer. Washington feels he can no longer wait since he’s already been absent six weeks. He leaves on October 28, meeting up with Thomas Jefferson in Baltimore. Jefferson complains of the trip’s expense since inns, ferries, and carriages cost extra for those headed into Philadelphia.

In truth, the fever is in decline. Doctors predicted that colder weather might slow the fever down, and the end of October seems to prove them correct.