Background: The Morikubo trial of 1907 has been viewed as the point in history when chiropractic was first seen to be a profession in its own right. Unfortunately, no court transcript survives which outlines the trial. Given the importance of the trial, this paper sets out to comprehensively report all available primary sources to determine the most likely facts in this landmark case.
Methods: Online repositories and gray literature were searched for primary sources. Content analysis of primary source documents was undertaken. Data was extracted, coded, and categorized from every primary source document about the trial that could be located in an intensive search as well as documents establishing the context of the trial dating between 1872 to 1909. The greater the number of independent references for each fact was considered to demonstrate greater likelihood of being a true representation of what occurred.
Results: The search found 190 primary sources. A timeline of the trial was established. Several themes were catagorized from the data. Morikubo sought out the conflict to test the law. The philosophy and principles of chiropractic played a significant role in the defense as did the distinct practices and scientific theories of chiropractic, all of which were established in the decade leading up to the trial. The conflict between the early osteopaths and the chiropractors focused on Wisconsin because of its law licensing osteopaths. Morikubo was well-educated. There is no evidence that Solon Langworthy, a 1901 graduate of D.D. Palmer's chiropractic school, played a role in the defense's arguments, nor were his theories included in the early models at the Palmer School before or after his trial.
Conclusion: Chiropractic was determined in the trial to be separate from osteopathy, with its own scientific rationale, clinical practice, and philosophical perspective. Decades of incorrect facts from chiropractic and academic sources referencing the trial has led to unwarranted assertions and claims in the literature. Based on this analysis a reexamination of the chiropractic literature is warranted. This evidence-based approach establishes a new perspective on the history, the theory, and the practice of chiropractic.
Author affiliations: SAS: The Institute Chiropractic, Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia; SPM: NatMcd Research Unit and National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
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