Health and disease are powerful tropes in the construction of hierarchies in global geopolitics. Health stands in as a marker of civilization, sanitation as a sign of modernity just as disease denotes barbarism and uncleanliness is an indicator backwardness (Eamon 1998; Goudsblom 1986; Rothschild BM 2005). While the mobilization of these frames of health and disease elide the deeper social, political, and economic disparities, or the outcomes of uneven development (D. Harvey 2006; Smith 2008), historically, they have undergirded, sometimes as pretext, sometimes as defense, U.S. interventions across Latin America, the Caribbean, the island nations of the Pacific and beyond (Amador 2008; Anderson 2006; Barbour 1899; Briggs 2002; McBride 2002; McCoy and Scarano 2009; Moran 2007; Robinson 1905).
Deeply tied to these notions of modern and uncivilized are Enlightenment era theories of progress that emerged, particularly, from the writings of Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727-1781) and Auguste Comte (1798-1857). According to both Turgot and Comte, at root of development and progress are man’s conquest or control of nature through human faculties, power of will, and natural law. Anticipating Comte’s three stages law, Turgot suggested that scientific (cultural) progress unfolds in three phases: religious, speculative, and scientific. Progress, as he defines it, is an inevitable consequence of the power of the human mind to learn from its own history – to find the trajectory of causation through an understanding of history. Unlike the cyclical progressions and declines of nature, the progression of human kind is on a continual trajectory toward perfection.
All things perish, in this narrative of the natural, and all things spring up again; and in these successive acts of generation through which plants and animals reproduce themselves, time does no more than restore continually the counterpart of what it has caused to disappear. The succession of mankind, on the other hand, affords from age to age an ever-changing spectacle. Reason, the passions, and liberty ceaselessly give rise to new events: all the ages are bound up with one another by a succession of causes and effects which link the present state of the world with all those that have preceded it (2010, 41).
This unfolding can be nurtured and, Turgot suggests, the role of economic relations acts as a form of motivation for this development (Livingstone and Withers 1999). In his later works, this relationship is more clearly outlined and progress becomes more intimately tied to laws of social (economic) stages transforming into fourstages of human development that reflect human interaction with nature: age of hunters, shepherds, agriculture, and commerce (Groenewegen 1983; Heffernan 1994; Turgot 2010). These four stages do not (did not) unfold evenly across the globe, as evidenced (again and again) for Turgot in the “savages of America” (Turgot 2010, 66, 89, 147). And while he did not believe in the environmental or geographical determinism that was popular at that time, for him, progress would triumph through human ingenuity and anyone may be brought out of savagery and into enlightenment (Heffernan 1994). In this, Turgot argues not only for the perfectibility of human kind, but the universal perfectibility of all human kind – a continual march toward utopian scientific message of an “enlightened world with a uniform culture and civilization” (Heffernan 1994, 337).
Comte, too, imagined a utopic world of equality and freedom. For him, history follows three stages of development: theological (ruled by kings and priests, guided by religious thought and feelings), metaphysical (ruled by lawyers and churchmen, and governed by law through the emergence of critical thought), and positive (ruled by industrial administrators and guided by laws of nature discovered through science) (Lee 1983). His theory of progress is intimately tied with order – reconciling order and progress – as older forms of order were dependent upon staidness, rendering it stationary (Cowen 2003). His progressivist theory sought to find natural laws of science with which to understand variations of human progress across the globe (Comte 1875; Dean 1994).
The evidence of the stages of progression, Comte insists, is both in the history, itself – seconding spontaneous change – and in the cognitive stages of individual human beings. This is not to say that development is a predetermined path along a perfect tempo of time to a particular goal, but rather that the present is a result of the past (Vernon 1978). In fact, he accedes that human kind can encourage or delay development consciously. The key, Comte believed, is that in finding these laws of society, there could, then, be a system through which to manage progression – most uniquely imagined as the management of social welfare by the state, which inevitably concedes from political domination to self government and by technical and scientific administration (Marcuse 2004, 1:127; Ray 2010).
However, while Comte envisioned a utopian society, one in which all people would come to be progressive (though, unlike Turgot, never perfect) and equal, without racial or geographical discrimination, his laws of development were most deeply flawed in that they were based upon European, and particularly French, social, political, and economic progress. In attempting to define a universal theory of human progress, both Comte and Turgot inadvertently legitimized imperial and colonial rule through the enforced homogenizing frame that they and other enlightenmentists developed (Bonnett 2000; Marcuse and Neumann 2004; Patel and McMichael 2004).
While philosophers like Turgot and Comte struggled to define what a universalist future might look like, there was imbedded in this conception of progress, an invitation to totalitarianism (Marcuse and Neumann 2004). Mastery over nature and society meant a rulership through science (and by extension, scientists) and technological administration. If classical liberal democracy can be said to have succeeded in Europe as the dominant social and political organization of society, vestiges of Comteian development theories lingered to varying degrees across the populations governed through this new-found liberalism. This “administrative ordering of nature and society” James C Scott tells us, “undergird[s] the concept of citizenship and the provision of social welfare” (1998, 4). Modern liberal citizenship, for the attendant celebration of its emergence in the 18th century, was only truly conferred in the tiniest of increments – increments laden with social, racial, economic, and political particularities that worked furiously to, on the one hand limit who may be a citizen, and on the other, craft who may yet become a citizen (or in the case of the colonized, may never be, but require close social ordering) – dependent upon social engineering.
Everywhere, from the emergence of public health within European states to the administratively articulated domination of non-European populations through colonization, was heavily informed by this new form of social engineering, employed as a necessity for the development of backwards people and for the legitimation of a new form of biopolitics through, among other things, public health and subsequently tropical medicine. At root is the formation of the appropriately participating individual – a participation which requires at the very least a healthful body with which to produce and contribute. And it is through health, that the administration of the body politic reaches down into the level of the individual bodies of the administered group – that the political subjectivity of individuals is written through the reading of the health of persons.
 Many authors tie Turgot and Comte together as part of a series of French enlightenment philosophers who founded a history of science and philosophy that includes Marquis de Condorcet, Voltaire, Saint-Simone, and Fourier. I have limited myself to the two as Turgot is noted as a strong influence on Adam Smith’s doctrines of liberal economics and Comte is closely tied to the founding of sociology – a term he coined – as a science of human sociality whose legacy on linear human progression continued to be felt through Durkheim, Marx, and Rostow. These two philosophers’ impact on (though greatly reconfigured into much more complex and elaborate positivist projects) on theories of development can not be under-stated.
 Interestingly, this pattern closely mirrors Turgot’s as his early work, On the Historical Progress of the Human Mind (1750), was written while a theological student at the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice, while Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth (1766) was written during his tenure as Comptroller of Finances of France.
 As opposed to older and non-European Enlightenment / Renaissance forms of citizenship – for example Toltec toltecáyotl (For a discussion of AmerIndian forms of citizenship, among others, see: W. Mignolo 1995; W. D. Mignolo 2006).