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The allure of the idea that black people were, or could be, naturally resistant to deadly tropical fevers was too much to resist for British military elites who tired of burying scores of white soldiers in the West Indies. Beyond the simple appeal of the idea, of course, was its steady reinforcement by medical treatises penned by renowned British physicians. In these widely circulating works, physicians hinted that black and white people had distinct constitutions, required different kinds of sustenance, and adapted to new environments differently. These ideas not only came from highly respected medical sources but also were buttressed by observations from non-medical elites of how little black people suffered from fevers in comparison to whites. It should come as no surprise, then, that these ideas came to inform British military policies and expectations about black people’s bodies in the West Indies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (Hogarth 75)

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