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Benjamin rush - History

Benjamin rush - History

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Benjamin Rush was born in 1745 not far from Philadelphia. He received his initial education at the Nottingham Academy in Maryland, and later went on to graduate from the College of New Jersey (Princeton University today). He came back to Philadelphia in 1760 and decided to study medicine. Six years later, after having worked as an apprentice to a doctor in the Philadelphia area, he traveled to Scotland to study at the University of Edinburgh. He was awarded a degree from this school in 1768. Following his studies in Scotland, Rush spent a bit more time traveling around Europe and then returned to Philadelphia in 1769.

Once in Philadelphia, Rush set up his own practice and soon became quite successful. He became the first professor of chemistry in the country when he began teaching at the College of Philadelphia and he even authored the colonies' first text book on this subject area. Rush came to know many famous men at this time, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine. It was Rush that encouraged Paine to write his famous work, Common Sense, and he even supplied Paine with the work's very famous title.

In June of 1776, Rush was present at the Pennsylvania conference of patriots where he helped to write a declaration of this colony's support for national independence. It was at this time that he was asked to serve at the Continental Congress. His service there was very brief, however, and his notoriety was a much more the result of other public work he became involved in.

Benjamin Rush was a strong supporter of the Federal Constitution, and in 1787 he published a number of persuasive articles in its defense in various newspapers. From 1789 until 1790, Rush was present at the Pennsylvania constitutional convention. Later in life, from 1797 to 1813, he held the position of Treasurer of the U. S. Mint.

A genuine idealist, Rush became a pioneer of a number of humanitarian and social movements. He worked for the abolition of slavery, as well as educational and prison reform. In addition, he worked vigorously to promote temperance and an end to capital punishment.

Benjamin Rush, a victim of a typhus epidemic, passed away in 1813 at the age of sixty-seven. He was laid to rest in Philadelphia's Christ Burial Ground.


Eastern State Penitentiary: A Prison With a Past

In 1787, four years after the American Revolutionary War, the United States was a country brimming with possibility, and no city felt the excitement more than Philadelphia. Delegates such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison were gathering at Independence Hall to draft what would later become the Constitution. That same year, a couple of blocks away from Independence Hall, at the home of Benjamin Franklin, another group of civic-minded leaders gathered to debate a wholly different matter: prison reform.

Conditions at the Walnut Street Jail located directly behind Independence Hall were appalling. Men and women, adults and children, thieves and murderers were jailed together in disease-ridden, dirty pens where rape and robbery were common occurrences. Jailors made little effort to protect the prisoners from each other. Instead, they sold the prisoners alcohol, up to nearly twenty gallons of it a day. Food, heat, and clothing came at a price. It wasn't unusual for prisoners to die from the cold or starvation. A group of concerned citizens, calling themselves the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, decided that this must not continue. What they would propose set the stage for prison reform not only in Pennsylvania, but also the world over.

From its beginning, Pennsylvania was determined to be different from other colonies. Founder William Penn brought his Quaker values to the new colony, avoiding the harsh criminal code practiced in much of British North America, where death was the standard punishment for a litany of crimes, including the denial of the one "true God," kidnapping, and sodomy. Penn, instead, relied on imprisonment with hard labor and fines as the treatment for most crimes, while death remained the penalty only for murder. But upon Penn's passing in 1718, conservative groups did away with his Quaker-based system, and incorporated the harsh retributions that were the norm elsewhere. Jails simply became detention centers for prisoners as they awaited some form of corporal or capital punishment. It would take another seventy years before anyone would try to do away with this severe penal code.

Dr. Benjamin Rush was a prominent Philadelphia physician with an interest in politics. In 1776, he served in the Second Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. More than a decade later, he would lead the push for ratification of the federal Constitution. He was an outspoken abolitionist, and would later earn the title "father of American psychiatry" for his groundbreaking observations about "diseases of the mind."

As a newly minted doctor training in London in 1768, Rush ran into Benjamin Franklin who was then serving as an agent to Parliament for the Pennsylvania Assembly. Franklin, a celebrity among the Parisians, urged the curious twenty-two-year-old to cross the English Channel and experience the Enlightenment thinking that filled French parlors. The following year, Rush did. He mingled among scientists, philosophers and literati, listening to progressive European theories about such issues as crime and punishment that would eventually follow him to America.

In 1787 Rush was back in the company of Franklin and his American contemporaries proclaiming that a radical change was needed not just at the jail on Walnut Street, but the world over. He was convinced that crime was a "moral disease," and suggested a "house of repentance" where prisoners could meditate on their crimes, experience spiritual remorse and undergo rehabilitation. This method would later be called the Pennsylvania System and the institution a penitentiary. The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, also known as the Pennsylvania Prison Society, agreed, and set out to convince the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Changes were made at the Walnut Street Jail—inmates were segregated by sex and crime, vocational workshops were instituted to occupy the prisoners' time, and much of the abusive behavior was abolished—but it wasn't enough. Philadelphia's population was growing by leaps and bounds, and so was the criminal element. A prison of a grander scale was needed to fulfill the prison society's mission. For repentance to truly happen, the complete isolation of each prisoner would need to occur, and this was impossible to do in these overcrowded jails.

Construction of Eastern State Penitentiary began on a cherry orchard outside of Philadelphia in 1822. The chosen design, created by British-born architect John Haviland, was unlike any seen before: seven wings of individual cellblocks radiating from a central hub. The penitentiary opened in 1829, seven years before completion, but the institution proved to be a technological marvel. With central heating, flush toilets, and shower baths in each private cell, the penitentiary boasted luxuries that not even President Andrew Jackson could enjoy at the White House

Charles Williams, a farmer sentenced to two years for theft, would be inmate number one. On October 23, 1829, Williams was escorted into the new prison with an eyeless hood placed over his head. This was done to secure his anonymity and eventual integration into society upon release, as no one would recognize his face from the prison. But it also served another purpose: to ensure that there would be no chance at escape, as Williams would never see the prison beyond his private cell. Communication with guards was done through a small feeding hole. The inmates lived in complete isolation, with a Bible their only possession, and chores like shoemaking and weaving to occupy their time.

Delegates from around the world came to study the famous Pennsylvania System. Alex de Tocqueville praised the concept, writing about his 1831 trip: "Can there be a combination more powerful for reformation than solitude. leads [a prisoner] through reflection to remorse, through religion to hope makes him industrious by. idleness?" Others also agreed. More than 300 prisons throughout Europe, South America, Russia, China and Japan would be based on the Eastern State Penitentiary model. But some were not so convinced of the method. Charles Dickens, after his visit in 1842, wrote critically: "I am persuaded that those who designed this system. do not know what it is they are doing. I hold the slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body."

Dickens' doubt would prevail. In 1913, Eastern State gave up on the Pennsylvania System of isolation and penitence. Prisoners shared cells, worked together, and even played in organized sports. Francis Dolan, site manager of the Eastern State Penitentiary Historical Site, explains, "The solitary confinement system was nearly impossible to maintain given the technology of the early 19th century, and collapsed under the weight of it's own lofty morals." And just like the jail on Walnut Street, the penitentiary, says Dolan, "was doomed by the rapid growth of Philadelphia." What was meant to originally hold about 300 prisoners was, by the 1920s, forced to house some 2,000. More and more cells were constructed, including ones built below ground without windows, light or plumbing. Eventually, solitude wasn't about redemption, but punishment.

By the 1960s, Eastern State Penitentiary was falling apart. In 1971 it was officially closed by the state of Pennsylvania. Over the course of its 142 years, the penitentiary held some 75,000 inmates, including the gangster Al Capone. Declared a national historic landmark in 1965, the prison was opened as a historic site in 1994. Today tourists, and not criminals, walk beneath the vaulted ceilings and skylights of the neo-Gothic building that once represented the moral ambitions of America's founding fathers.

Facts about Benjamin Rush 7: American psychiatry

Rush played an important role in the development of American psychiatry for he studied about mental disorder.

Facts about Benjamin Rush 8: parents

His mother was Susanna Hall, while his father was John Harvey Rush. There were seven children in the family. He was the fourth child. The young Rush was raised by his parents in a plantation in Philadelphia County.


Négritude is a constructed noun from the 1930s based upon the French word nègre, which, like its English counterpart, was derogatory and had a different meaning from "black man". [3] [4] The movement's use of the word négritude was a way of re-imagining the word as an emic form of empowerment. The term was first used in its present sense by Aimé Césaire, in the third issue (May-June 1935) of L'Étudiant noir, [5] a magazine that he had started in Paris with fellow students Léopold Senghor and Léon Damas, as well as Gilbert Gratiant, Leonard Sainville, Louis T. Achille, Aristide Maugée, and Paulette Nardal. The word appears in Césaire's first published work, "Conscience Raciale et Révolution Sociale," with the heading "Les Idées" and the rubric "Négreries", which is notable for its disavowal of assimilation as a valid strategy for resistance and for its use of the word nègre as a positive term. The problem with assimilation was that one assimilated into a culture that considered African culture to be barbaric and unworthy of being seen as "civilized". The assimilation into this culture would have been seen as an implicit acceptance of this view. Nègre previously had been used mainly in a pejorative sense. Césaire deliberately incorporated this derogatory word into the name of his philosophy. Césaire's choice of the -itude suffix has been criticized, with Senghor noting that "the term négritude has often been contested as a word before being contested as a concept," [6] but the suffix allows Césaire to trope the vocabulary of racist science. [7]

In 1885, Haitian anthropologist Anténor Firmin published an early work De l'Égalité des Races Humaines (On the Equality of Human Races), which was published as a rebuttal to French writer Count Arthur de Gobineau's Essai sur l'inegalite des Races Humaines (An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races). Firmin influenced Jean Price-Mars, the initiator of Haitian ethnology and developer of the concept of Indigenism, and 20th-century American anthropologist Melville Herskovits. [8] Black intellectuals have historically been proud of Haiti due to its slave revolution commanded by Toussaint L'Ouverture during the 1790s. Césaire spoke, thus, of Haiti as being "where négritude stood up for the first time".

The Harlem Renaissance, a literary style developed in Harlem in Manhattan during the 1920s and 1930s, influenced the Negritude philosophy. [10] The Harlem Renaissance's writers, including Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, addressed the themes of "noireism" and race relations.

During the 1920s and 1930s, young black students and scholars, primarily from France's colonies and territories, assembled in Paris, where they were introduced to writers of the Harlem Renaissance, namely Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, by Paulette Nardal and her sister Jane. The Nardal sisters contributed to the Négritude discussions in their writings and also owned the Clamart Salon, a tea-shop venue of the Afro-French intelligentsia where the philosophy of Négritude was often discussed and where the concept for La revue du Monde Noir was conceived. [11] Paulette Nardal and the Haitian Dr. Leo Sajou initiated La revue du Monde Noir (1931–32), a literary journal published in English and French, which attempted to appeal to African and Caribbean intellectuals in Paris. This Harlem association was shared by the parallel development of negrismo in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean region.

An important note must be made regarding the Nardal sisters and their impact upon the development of Négritude. There is a tendency within the scholastic genealogy of the movement -- and within society as a whole -- to minimize the contributions of women, especially black women. The Nardal sisters were responsible for the introduction of the Harlem Renaissance and its ideas to Césaire, Senghor, and Damas Jane Nardal's 1929 article "Internationalisme noir" predates Senghor's first critical theory piece "What the Black Man Contributes", itself published in 1939. The Nardal sisters, for all their ideas and the importance of their Clamart Salon, have been minimized in the development of Négritude by the masculinist domination of the movement. She even wrote as much in 1960 when she "bitterly complained" about the lack of acknowledgment to her and her sister Jane regarding their importance to a movement historically and presently credited to Césaire, Senghor, and Damas. [12] The name Nardal belongs in that list.

Although each of the initiators had his own ideas about the purpose and styles of Négritude, the philosophy was characterized generally by opposition to colonialism, denunciation of Europe's alleged inhumanity, and rejection of Western domination and ideas. The movement also appears to have had some Heideggerian strands in the sense that its goal was to achieve black people's' "being-in-the-world", to emphasize that black individuals did have a history and a worthy culture capable of standing alongside the cultures of other countries as equals. Also important was the acceptance of and pride in being black and a celebration of African history, traditions, and beliefs. Their literary style was realistic and they cherished Marxist ideas.

Motivation for the Negritude movement was a result of Aimé Césaire’s, Leopold Senghor’s, and Leon Damas’s dissatisfaction, disgust, and personal conflict over the state of the Afro-French experience in France. All three shared a personal sense of revolt for the racism and colonial injustices that plagued their world and their French education. Senghor refused to believe that the purpose of his education was "to build Christianity and civilization in his soul where there was only paganism and barbarism before". Césaire's disgust came as embarrassment when he was accused by some of the people of the Caribbean as having nothing to do with the people of Africa—whom they saw as savages. They separated themselves from Africa and proclaimed themselves as civilized. He denounced the writers from the Caribbean as "intellectually. corrupt and literarily nourished with white decadence". [12] Damas believed this because of the pride these writers would take when a white person could read their whole book and not be able to tell the author's complexion.

Césaire was a poet, playwright, and politician from Martinique. He studied in Paris, where he discovered the black community and "rediscovered Africa". He saw Négritude as the fact of being black, acceptance of this fact, and appreciation of the history and culture, and of black people. It is important to note that for Césaire, this emphasis on the acceptance of the fact of "blackness" was the means by which the "decolonization of the mind" could be achieved. According to him, western imperialism was responsible for the inferiority complex of black people. He sought to recognize the collective colonial experience of black individuals —the slave trade and plantation system. Césaire's ideology was especially important during the early years of la Négritude.

Neither Césaire—who after returning to Martinique after his studies was elected mayor of Fort de France, the capital, and a representative of Martinique in France's Parliament—nor Senghor in Senegal envisaged political independence from France. Négritude would, according to Senghor, enable black people in French lands to have a "seat at the give and take the [French] table as equals". However, the French eventually granted Senegal and its other African colonies independence.

Poet and the later first president of Sénégal, Senghor used Négritude to work toward a universal valuation of African people. He advocated a modern incorporation of the expression and celebration of traditional African customs and ideas. This interpretation of Négritude tended to be the most common, particularly during later years.

Damas was a French Guianese poet and National Assembly member. He had a militant style of defending "black qualities" and rejected any kind of reconciliation with Caucasians. Two particular anthologies were pivotal to the movement, which would serve as manifestos for the movement. One was published by Damas in 1946, Poètes d'expression française 1900–1945. Senghor would then go on to publish Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française in 1948. Damas's introduction to the anthology and the anthology was meant to be a sort of manifesto for the movement, but Senghor's own anthology eventually took that role. Though it would be the "Preface" written by French philosopher and public intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre for the anthology that would propel Négritude into the broader intellectual conversation.

As a manifesto for the Négritude movement Damas’ introduction was more political and cultural in nature. A distinctive feature of his anthology and beliefs was that Damas felt his message was one for the colonized in general, and included poets from Indochina and Madagascar. This is sharply in contrast to Senghor's anthology, which would be published two years later. In the introduction Damas proclaimed that now was the age where "the colonized man becomes aware of his rights and of his duties as a writer, as a novelist or a storyteller, an essayist or a poet." Damas explicitly outlines the themes of the anthology. He says, "Poverty, illiteracy, exploitation of man by man, social and political racism suffered by the black or the yellow, forced labor, inequalities, lies, resignation, swindles, prejudices, complacencies, cowardice, failure, crimes committed in the name of liberty, of equality, of fraternity, that is the theme of this indigenous poetry in French." Damas’ introduction was indeed a calling and affirmation for a distinct cultural identification.

In 1948, Jean-Paul Sartre analyzed the négritude philosophy in an essay called "Orphée Noir" ("Black Orpheus") [13] that served as the introduction to a volume of francophone poetry named Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, compiled by Léopold Senghor. In this essay, Sartre characterizes négritude as the opposite of colonial racism in a Hegelian dialectic and with it he helped to introduce Négritude issues to French intellectuals. In his opinion, négritude was an "anti-racist racism" (racisme antiraciste), a strategy with a final goal of racial unity.

Négritude was criticized by some Black writers during the 1960s as insufficiently militant. Keorapetse Kgositsile said that the term Négritude was based too much on Blackness according to a European aesthetic, and was unable to define a new kind of perception of African-ness that would free Black people and Black art from Caucasian conceptualizations altogether.

The Nigerian dramatist, poet, and novelist Wole Soyinka opposed Négritude. He believed that by deliberately and outspokenly being proud of their ethnicity, Black people were automatically on the defensive. According to some, he said: "Un tigre ne proclame pas sa tigritude, il saute sur sa proie" (French: A tiger doesn't proclaim its tigerness it jumps on its prey). [14] But in fact, Soyinka wrote in a 1960 essay for the Horn, "the duiker will not paint ‘duiker’ on his beautiful back to proclaim his duikeritude you'll know him by his elegant leap." [15] [16]

After a long period of silence there has been a renaissance of Négritude developed by scholars such as Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University), Donna Jones (University of California, Berkeley), [17] and Cheikh Thiam [18] (Ohio State University) who all continue the work of Abiola Irele (1936–2017) . Cheikh Thiam's book is the only book-length study of Négritude as philosophy. It develops Diagne's reading of Négritude as a philosophy of art, and Jones' presentation of Négritude as a lebensphilosophie.

American physician Benjamin Rush, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and early abolitionist, is often said to have used the term negritude to imagine a rhetorical "disease" which he said was a mild form of leprosy, the only cure of which was to become white. This early use of the term may not have been known by the Afro-Francophones who developed the philosophy of Négritude during the 20th century. [19] But this attribution has been disputed as a misreading of secondary sources. [20]

Novelist Norman Mailer used the term to describe boxer George Foreman's physical and psychological presence in his book The Fight, a journalistic treatment of the legendary Ali vs. Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" bout in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in October 1974.

The word is also used by the rapper Youssoupha in its eponymous album "Négritude" but also before this one.

Benjamin Rush Facts: Death

Charles Goodrich says this in his Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

The life of Dr. Rush was terminated on the 19th of April, in the 68th year of his age. During his illness, which was, of but few days continuance, his house was beset with crowds of citizens, such was the general anxiety in respect to the life of this excellent man. When, at length he died, the news of his decease spread a deep gloom over the city, and expressions of profound sympathy were received from all parts of the country.

The Dickinson Story

This portrait of Dr. Benjamin Rush by Thomas Sully, known as the greatest American portrait artist of his era, was donated to the college's Trout Gallery.

The Birth of a New College

Revolution was in the air when Benjamin Rush, a prominent Philadelphia physician, prepared the charter for Dickinson College in 1783. A grammar school founded in Carlisle in 1773 served as the foundation of the new college. In the decade prior to laying the groundwork for Dickinson, Rush had marched alongside the American army, signed the Declaration of Independence, served as a physician to the Philadelphia community and maintained his eminent position among the progressive political and intellectual minds of the budding nation. He was a revolutionary in the midst of a revolution.

At his core, Rush believed in freedom&mdashfreedom of thought and freedom of action. And he believed fully in America's potential for unprecedented achievement. But Rush also believed that the American Revolution did not end when the muskets stopped sounding that, he felt, was only the beginning. Now that America had fought for its liberties, Americans needed to maintain a nation worthy of those liberties. Rush knew that America could only live up to its own expectations if it was a country built of an educated citizenry. So seven years after he met with other members of the Continental Congress to add his signature to the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush signed the charter of a new college on what was then the American frontier. On September 9, 1783, a struggling grammar school in Carlisle was transformed into Dickinson College. Less than a week earlier, the Treaty of Paris had officially ended the Revolution and guaranteed international recognition of the United States of America. Dickinson was the first college charted in these new United States.

Tuta libertas. Those were the words that John Dickinson used to describe the new college. Tuta libertas: "A bulwark of liberty." To further his educational enterprise, Rush asked that Dickinson&mdashknown widely as the "Penman of the Revolution" and the governor of Pennsylvania&mdashlend his support and his name to the college that was being established in the western frontier of his state. Dickinson was easily convinced, and together he and Rush set about the task of devising a seal for the college. The image they created&mdashfeaturing a liberty cap, a telescope and an open Bible&mdashremains the official college seal today. It represents a mission that has been ingrained in Dickinson College for more than two centuries: to offer students a useful and progressive education in the arts and sciences&mdashan education grounded in a strong sense of civic duty to become citizen-leaders.

In many ways, Benjamin Rush&mdashthe man who set this enduring mission in place&mdashwas a man before his time. He was an outspoken opponent of slavery, a vocal proponent of equal education for women, a supporter of the rights of the mentally challenged and a generous provider of health care to the indigent in Philadelphia. His voice was strong and distinctive, and he believed that the students at Dickinson College could, like him, develop their own voices and positions on issues of the day. They could be leaders and shapers in the new nation.

The Shape of the Story

As the site for this endeavor, Rush chose Carlisle, a town founded in 1751 as the seat of Pennsylvania's Cumberland County. Though a center of government, Carlisle was also a frontier town, located about 25 miles west of the Susquehanna River&mdashat the time, an outpost of westward expansion (unlike today, when Carlisle sits at a central transportation crossroad, with Washington, D.C. Baltimore and Philadelphia just two hours away). It's safe to assume that this combination of activity and uncertainty would have attracted a man with Rush's educational sensibilities.

From the first, Carlisle was seen as a sort of laboratory for learning&mdasha place, for instance, where Dickinson students could venture from campus to the nearby county courthouse to watch the new American judicial system in action. But it was also a place where, a few decades later, science students could study ecology by actually examining the wilderness of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. (Dickinson was the first college to introduce field studies into its science curriculum.) These sorts of firsthand experiences, Rush believed, would foster the minds that would lead the next generations of Americans. Time has not diminished Rush's ambitions. Today, this engagement with the wider world continues to guide Dickinson&mdashthrough internships, field studies, workshop science and one of the most extensive global education programs in the nation.

In 1784, at the first official meeting of the college's trustees in Carlisle, a Scottish minister and educator named Charles Nisbet was elected the first principal, or president, of Dickinson College. Nisbet had been a supporter of the American Revolution and was well known among America's intellectual circles as an impressive man of learning. Sometimes called a "walking library," Nisbet established high standards of education and scholarship for Dickinson students. Because of these unbending expectations, the college can list among its earliest graduates a U.S. president, a pair of college presidents, two justices of the Supreme Court, a governor, a founding father of the Smithsonian Institution and at least two abolitionists.

Old West was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol.

The Dawn of a New Century

Old West was designed by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the United States Capitol. As the college grew in population and prominence, Nisbet and the other college leaders decided to construct a new "edifice" to serve as the center of campus&mdashand to allow Dickinson to move out of the old grammar school that had been its home since its founding. Called "New College," the building was constructed slowly, over a period of four years. In 1803, as the college prepared to settle into New College, a blustery snowstorm pushed through the Cumberland Valley, stirring some smoldering ashes in the building's basement. The ashes began to flame, and before long the building had burned to the ground.

Despite the initial despair (Col. John Montgomery, a U.S. Congressman and longtime Dickinson trustee, wrote to inform Rush of the fire, lamenting that all of their hopes "were Blasted in a few minutes"), hints of good fortune soon began to ameliorate the situation. For instance, Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol, offered to draw up plans for a new college hall. And private donations from individuals such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison ensured the reconstruction of Dickinson College in swift fashion. Though Charles Nisbet would not live to see its completion, West College&mdashor Old West, as it's commonly called&mdashhosted its first classes in November 1805.

After his death, Nisbet was remembered as one of the most successful college presidents of his day. It's not surprising, then, that his standards of excellence held strong after his passing. His sensibilities remained integral in the life of the college. In 1812, for example, the college trustees authorized the purchase of Joseph Priestley's scientific equipment, which gave Dickinson state-of-the-art research capabilities in the sciences. (One of the pieces, a lens, is believed to have been used by Priestley in the discovery of oxygen.) It was this dedication to excellence and innovation in education that enticed the world-renowned chemist and social reformer Thomas Cooper to join the faculty as Dickinson's first chemistry professor. Thomas Jefferson, a contemporary, remarked that Cooper was "the greatest man in America in the powers of the mind and in acquired information, and that without exception."

Academic prowess, however, was not necessarily aligned with economic and political prosperity. A combination of financial straits and faculty dissention led to a college closing from 1816 to 1821. Over the period of several years, the trustees managed to overcome both of these hurdles. Barely a decade later, however, strife hit the college again. In the midst of the ongoing financial pressures of the early 19th century, Dickinson's faculty launched into a heated, often bitter, debate about the shape of the college's curriculum. In 1832, when the trustees were unable to resolve the issue, they ordered Dickinson's temporary closure.

Spencer Fullerton Baird, class of 1840, was a professor of natural history and science at the college. He became assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institute in 1850 and was later promoted to secretary of that institution.

Shortly after doors closed at Dickinson, the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal (now United Methodist) Church approached Dickinson&rsquos trustees about reopening as a Methodist-affiliated college. Seeing the opportunity to continue operations, the existing Board of Trustees agreed to dissolve during its June 1833 meeting and handed over the keys to a newly constituted board. On June 7, 1833, the new board elected John Price Durbin as president of the college and chairman of the Board of Trustees.

In 1835, the Baltimore Conference began making an annual contribution to the college, which continues today and helps support the Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice .

Under the leadership of John Price Durbin, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Dickinson College was revitalized. Teaching innovations, like Spencer Fullerton Baird's natural-science field trips (Baird, an alumnus and professor, later helped establish the Smithsonian Institution) and Charles Francis Himes' use of photography to teach chemistry, continued to enhance and distinguish the college's curriculum. Dickinson's law department, which was established in 1833, became the Dickinson School of Law in 1890 (and since 1917 has been independent of the college).

This track record of innovation has continued into Dickinson's modern history&mdashfor instance, in the 1980s Dickinson physics professor Priscilla Laws worked with colleagues to develop the widely used "workshop science" curriculum, in which hands-on learning and experimentation (rather than a steady diet of lectures) is at the core of classroom activity. And these innovations know no boundaries. In 1965, for example, Dickinson established a college-run study-abroad program in Bologna, Italy. Since then, Dickinson has sculpted one of the nation's most extensive global education programs, currently consisting of 39 programs in 24 countries on six continents.

Since its early years, the college has emphasized the importance of learning&mdashacademically and socially&mdashbeyond the classroom. Nineteenth-century students were involved in athletic clubs, social clubs and Greek letter societies. In fact, the first Pennsylvania chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was started at Dickinson in 1886. The college's first Greek fraternity was chartered in 1852. The college's student newspaper, The Dickinsonian, was founded 1872, placing it among the oldest ongoing newspapers in Pennsylvania. And the college's first intercollegiate football game was played against Gettysburg in 1879.

The Growth of a College

During the first half of the 20th century, Dickinson College weathered&mdashwith firm resolve&mdashthe difficulties posed by World Wars I and II and the Great Depression. Through curricular changes, the faculty found new ways to challenge its students, including one professor who began teaching a course on World War II a year before the United States even entered the conflict&mdasha risky enterprise, considering the national sentiment, led by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that America would not get involved in the war. In the midst of the cultural maelstrom, the college trustees found the means to help Dickinson grow, more than doubling the size of the campus and increasing the student enrollment fourfold. During these years of international caution and isolationism, Dickinson developed exchange programs to bring foreign students to Carlisle, and likewise the college began to send Dickinsonians abroad.

In the latter part of the 20th century, Dickinson College continued to enhance its liberal arts curriculum, diversifying traditional disciplines to allow a wide variety of interdisciplinary and area studies opportunities. The college is home, for example, to one of the only community studies centers in the nation, where students can perform field research and take oral histories in local communities from different academic perspectives. Also, Dickinson houses the national headquarters of the Oral History Association and is home to the preeminent study-abroad journal Frontiers.

The college's cross-disciplinary approach has led to strengths in international education, the natural and mathematical sciences, the arts and pre-professional preparation. The curriculum has been further enriched by First-Year Seminars, internships/externships and student-faculty research and publishing. Over the past 10 years, 61 percent of all student-faculty research at Dickinson has resulted in published papers in professional journals, and 28 percent of those findings were presented at national and international conferences.

An Eye on the Past, a Foot in the Future

Proud of its heritage and true to the vision of its founders, Dickinson College remains committed to its historic mission: to prepare young people, by means of a useful and progressive education in the liberal arts and sciences, for engaged lives of citizenship and leadership in the service of society. As it looks toward the future, Dickinson is ever mindful of its revolutionary roots: unafraid to take risks, to speak out on important issues, to remain decisive, competitive and committed to its own brand of the liberal arts&mdashacademically rigorous, useful and unapologetically engaged with the world.

Learn more about the history of Dickinson on the Archives & Special Collections website.


Benjamin Rush and Leslie Keeley’s work and many other doctors and scientists in the United States represented an increasing dissatisfaction with alcohol’s role, effect on the population and the importance of rehab facilities. With the introduction of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, the temperance movement achieved its most tremendous success, making the manufacture, selling, and public binge drinking illegal. Restriction, which was supposed to “reduce violence and injustice, fix social problems, and enhance health and sanitation through rehab facilities in America,” ended up being a monumental disappointment.

Prohibition’s planners refused to realize how much average Americans enjoyed their drinking. Citizens resorted to making their own beer for rehab facilities by distilling dangerously impure spirits in their bathtubs, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of cases of blindness and paralysis. The continuing manufacture and selling of alcohol in clandestine bars known as speakeasies were enticed and implemented by organized crime syndicates. Because of the thriving black market for beer, police officers, prosecutors, and politicians may often be paid off. It’s no coincidence that Prohibition lasted the whole decade known as the “Road to Prohibition.” This highlights the importance of rehab facilities and the factor that without rehab facilities there is no future for addicts.

The 21st Amendment to the Constitution legalized the manufacture and selling of beer to be consumed in the public places 13 years after Restriction was repealed, prompting the federal government to enact restrictions to seize power from violent crime gangs and free up a good income source in the way.

'Rush': The Other Founding Father From Philadelphia Named Benjamin

Benjamin Rush, the medical doctor and Founding Father, took after the Renaissance-man civic participation of his mentor, Benjamin Franklin.

Charles Willson Peale/Courtesy of Crown

He is the lesser-known Founding Father from Philadelphia named Benjamin — the one whose face does not grace the $100 bill.

Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was also a doctor — arguably the most famous doctor in America — who became known as the American Hippocrates. During the Revolutionary War, Rush was alongside Gen. George Washington when he crossed the Delaware he treated battlefield casualties behind enemy lines and later, became a pioneer in the field of mental health.

He was also a bold abolitionist, an advocate for public education — for women's education, in particular — and a prolific writer.

Stephen Fried tells the story of the man who became "a footnoted founder, a second-tier signer" in his new biography Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father.

Interview Highlights

On how Rush's medical training shaped his later political views

Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father

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Rush was a blacksmith's son he did not have a lot of money. So he was the young star of that era, and tried to make a living as a doctor, which was hard. The good thing about him trying to make a living as a doctor is he had to treat poor patients — he had to treat patients of all races. So it's not surprising that he became the Founding Father most interested in diversity issues, because he was astonished at racial prejudice he was astonished at religious prejudice. And so he really paid attention to these things pretty early on, writing a paper that was not only against slavery, but he specifically talked about being against prejudice.

On how Rush's work in Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the country, shaped his views on mental illness

It was one of the first places that people with mental illness were treated away from their homes, and sadly, they had no idea how to treat people — they warehoused them, they locked them, they chained them to the floor, they slept on straw. It was believed then that people with mental illness were impervious to cold or heat, and actually after the Revolution — when he actually started taking control of what was going on here, both has a university professor and as a staff member here at the hospital — we can see him trying to get funding for better care, trying to get people to understand that both mental illness and addiction, which at that time was mostly alcoholism, were medical problems. This was a pretty new idea. And tried to destigmatize them and tried to get people in here for treatment. And I would argue that the history of modern mental health care starts here in this building with Rush.

On Rush signing the Declaration of Independence in what is now known as Independence Hall

As a young doctor, he gave inoculations here. And several years after that, he was in the Continental Congress signing the Declaration of Independence. He considered it to be a very solemn moment, a very scary moment. They were very cognizant, at least he was, that they were signing something that was treasonous and they could be taking their life in their hands. Rush really believed in equality, so I think that informed his decision to be in favor of independence. He was on line with independence very early on, even though this was dangerous for his career here in Philadelphia. Philadelphia had the largest percentage of Loyalists because they had the most to lose if in fact there was independence.

On the fact that Benjamin Rush, who called slavery a crime, owned a slave named William Grubber

We don't know why he bought a slave. It was in the later years of the War, and he had a slave for a number of years. And he freed him before the [Pennsylvania] Abolition Society became active again after Franklin came home [from Europe]. He didn't write about it, except to write about his freedom. And when William Grubber died, Rush had him treated at Pennsylvania Hospital and paid for his funeral he wrote about their relationship a little bit. So not every story is a straight-through story. It's not my place to apologize for anything he did, but just to show this was a very complicated man who made an enormous contribution to America.

On Benjamin Rush's death in 1813, at the age of 67

The funeral of Benjamin Rush is something that almost every civic group sent people to. It was described in the newspapers as being second only to [George] Washington's burial and [Benjamin] Franklin's burial. So Rush was not only one of the last of the signers of the Declaration who was still alive, but he was the most important doctor in America. So this was a very big thing.

Franklin's [grave] is the one that's probably visited the most, but I think that Rush's grave is the one that really, it provides the most thought. I do think that you can come here [Christ Church Burial Ground, in Philadelphia] and think about mental health advocacy and advocacy for addiction. You can come here and talk about public education because Rush was really one of the first people to talk about that. You can talk about religious freedom. So, there's a lot here to think about when you sit here thinking about Benjamin Rush.

On John Adams' appraisal of his good friend Benjamin Rush after Rush's death, when he wrote:

Dr Rush was a greater and better Man than Dr Franklin: Yet Rush was always persecuted and Franklin always adored. . Rush has done infinitely more good to America than Franklin. Both had deserved a high Rank among Benefactors to their Country and Mankind but Rush by far the highest.

I would of course agree with John Adams. John Adams was upset that Rush hadn't gotten his due. And Adams watched him grow into a patriot, into an incredibly important scientist and doctor. He was very close with Rush and very sad that Rush, he felt, would not get his due.

But this isn't a scorecard here. All I would ever ask is that the two Benjamins be seen in their own importance. I think that Benjamin Franklin is seen as the most important figure in American history. He is unbelievably important. If Benjamin Rush was here, he would say, "You're going to question whether Benjamin Franklin was important?" Rush was Franklin's protégé he adored Franklin, and in Franklin's later years, Rush made sure that people paid attention to Franklin when he seemed too old and sick. He wasn't going to be a signer of the Constitution Rush insisted that the Pennsylvania delegation add him. So he was respectful to Franklin, but Franklin died in 1790, and Rush very much wanted, I think, to be the next Benjamin, and be the person who carried on the traditions of Franklin into the next century. And I think he did, as a scientist, as a teacher, as a writer. And I think Franklin would admit that.

Denise Guerra and Evie Stone produced and edited this interview for broadcast.

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813)

Benjamin Rush was born to John and Susanna Harvey Rush on December 24, 1745. The family, which included seven children, lived on a plantation in Byberry, near Philadelphia. When Benjamin was five his father died, leaving his mother to care for the large family. At age eight the young boy was sent to live with an aunt and uncle so as to receive a proper education he went on to study at the University of New Jersey (now Princeton) and received his bachelor's degree from that institution in 1760. Upon returning to Philadelphia, Rush studied medicine under Dr. John Redman from 1761 until 1766, at which time he departed for Scotland to finish his studies at the University of Edinburgh. Receiving his medical degree in June 1768, Rush traveled on to London to further his training at St. Thomas's Hospital it was in London that Rush first encountered Benjamin Franklin.

Rush returned to Philadelphia in 1769 and started practicing medicine while also serving as the professor of chemistry at the College of Philadelphia. He wrote treatises on medical procedure, politics, and abolition, helping to found the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. His writings on the crisis brewing between the colonies and Britain brought him into associations with such leaders as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine. At the outbreak of war, Rush joined the continental army as a surgeon and physician.

In June 1776, he was appointed to the Provincial Conference and then to the Continental Congress a month later and signed the Declaration of Independence. Returning to the war effort, Rush was appointed Surgeon-General of the continental army in April 1777 he did not remain so for long, however. He was appalled by the deplorable conditions in which he found the medical service, and consequently became embroiled with George Washington and one of his old teachers, Dr. William Shippen, in accusations of poor management. When Washington and Congress sided with the older Shippen, Rush resigned his commission in protest the incident led him to express his doubts about the commander-in-chief in a letter to Patrick Henry, which found its way back to Washington, thus ending Rush's military career.

Rush returned to his practice in Philadelphia in 1778. Two years later he began to lecture at the new University of the State of Pennsylvania. He continued to write prolifically on the subject of medicine and medical practice, developing a reputation as a man of literature as well as medicine. In 1783, Rush joined the staff of the Pennsylvania Hospital and actively served until his death. While teaching at the University and serving at the Hospital, Rush furthered his republican ideas regarding universal education and health care he advocated prison reform, the abolition of slavery and capital punishment, temperance, and better treatment of mental illness. He also believed in creating a better system of schools on every level so that all children, girls as well as boys, could receive the benefits of a proper education that consisted of lower schools as well as colleges his dream included a national university. It was this idealistic view of education that prompted Rush to envision a college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then the edge of the frontier, as the first building block of this great system. Learning of the trustees' plan to expand the Carlisle Grammar School into an academy, Rush gained the confidence of one of them, Colonel John Montgomery, and proceeded to convince the other eight trustees that a college was the better idea. Rush succeeded in garnering support from John Dickinson, then president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania as a tribute to Dickinson's accomplishments (and donations), the college was named in honor of the great statesman. Rush served as one of the most influential trustees of the College from its founding until his death.

Through his medical practice, lectures, and various writings, Rush gained the reputation as one of the leading physicians and medical theorists in the new nation he was a pioneer in physiology and psychiatry. For better or for worse, Rush solidified this reputation through his role in the terrible yellow fever epidemic that swept Philadelphia in 1793. He remained in the city and tended to the thousands stricken with the disease, utilizing his practice of "depleting" (i.e. bleeding, purging). Although thoroughly schooled in "nosology," the principle that humors and solids controlled the health of a person, Rush firmly believed that diseases resulted from over- or under-stimulation of the nervous system, to which remedies of depletion or stimulation were to be applied accordingly. Unfortunately for Rush (and for his patients as well), depletion more often than not removed too much blood from the body, ending in death. As a consequence, his theories were condemned by his critics as dangerous and overzealous although Rush's procedures did sometimes seem to work, he had not gathered enough solid data to justify his practice, and his critics had the mortality statistics to prove their claims. Undaunted, he would continue to write and lecture passionately on his system for the rest of his life.

He had briefly reentered the realm of politics in 1787 to advocate the ratification of the federal constitution his actions led to an appointment to the ratifying convention for the state. Two years later, along with fellow Dickinson trustee James Wilson he helped to secure a less radical and more effective constitution. As a result of Rush's lifelong patriotism and commitment to the American cause, President John Adams appointed him treasurer of the United States Mint, a post he occupied from 1797 until his death. Meanwhile in 1803 he had become president of the abolition society he had helped to establish, as well as joining the Philadelphia College of Physicians.

On January 11, 1776, Rush married Julia Stockton, the eldest daughter of Richard Stockton of Princeton (and fellow signer of the Declaration). The couple had thirteen children, nine of whom would survive their father. Benjamin Rush died rather suddenly at his home on April 19, 1813 at the age of 67 and was buried at Christ's Church in Philadelphia.

Image Source: Thomas Sully's portrait of Benjamin Rush. Photograph by Carl Sander Socolow

Benjamin Rush

Wife – Julia Stockton
Daughter of Signer Richard Stockton.

Philadelphia PA (Lost in 1969)

Benjamin Rush was born December 24, 1745 near Philadelphia. His great-great-grandfather John Rush was an officer in Cromwell’s army. In 1683 at the age of 63 he became a Quaker and emigrated from England bringing his children and grandchildren to Pennsylvania. Benjamin Rush was the fourth of seven children born to John and Susanna Rush. John Rush was a farmer turned gunsmith who died when Benjamin was only six. After his fathers death his mother Susanna was the sole support of the family. She opened a grocery that was so successful that she soon opened another shop selling chinaware. At the age of 9 Benjamin was sent to Nottingham Academy in Md. run by his uncle Samuel Finley who later became president of the College of New Jersey (Now Princeton University). Rush graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1760 at the age of 15. Rush studied under Dr. John Redman in Philadelphia for six years and in 1766 he traveled to Scotland to attend the University of Edinburgh. While in Edinburgh he helped his friend Richard Stockton convince Dr. John Witherspoon to accept the presidency of the College of New Jersey. He received a degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1768 and traveled to hospitals in London and Paris.

In the summer of 1769 Dr. Benjamin Rush returned to Philadelphia were he opened a medical practice and was appointed professor of chemistry at the College (now University) of Philadelphia. He wrote the first American textbook on chemistry. In 1773 he contributed editorial essays to the papers about the patriot cause. He was active in the Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia and recommended the title “Common Sense” to his friend Thomas Paine for a pamphlet that became popular among patriots.

On January 11, 1776 Dr. Benjamin Rush married Julia Stockton the 17 year old daughter of his good friend Richard Stockton of Princeton. The minister that married them was Dr. John Witherspoon whom he had helped bring to America ten years earlier. Six months later they would all sign the Declaration of Independence.

On July 22, 1776 Rush took his seat in Congress serving Pennsylvania. He was not yet elected on July 4 when independence was declared but he did proudly sign the Declaration with the other delegates on August 2, 1776. Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote in letter to John Adams in 1811 “ The pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants. The silence and gloom of the morning was interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by Benjamin Harrison of Virginia, who said to Elbridge Gerry at the table, I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead. This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted.”

Dr. Benjamin Rush was the only signer to travel with the Continental Army as a Doctor. Rush experienced first hand the real war while engaged in battle and treating the horrible wounds inflicted on the soldiers. He was with the army at Trenton on December 24, 1776 and spent time with General George Washington. Rush wrote: “I spent a night at a farmhouse near to him and the next morning passed near an hour with him in private. He appeared much depressed, and lamented the ragged and dissolving state of his army in affecting terms. I gave him assurance of the disposition of Congress to support him, and while I was talking to him, I observed him to play with his pen and ink upon several small pieces of paper. One fell upon the floor near my feet. I was struck with the inscription upon it it was ‘Victory or Death’. The next day I had reason to believe, that in my interview with Washington that he had been meditating his attack on the Hessians for I found that the countersign of his troops at Trenton was Victory or Death.”

When Dr. Benjamin Rush learned of the capture and brutal prison treatment his father-in-law Richard Stockton had received at the hands of the Loyalists and British, he was incensed. He wrote to Richard Henry Lee: “ every particle of my blood is electrified with revenge, and if justice cannot be done him in any other way, I declare I will, in defiance of the authority of Congress… drive the first rascally Tory I meet a hundred miles, barefooted, through the first deep snow that falls in our country.”

Julia Stockton Rush and other wives of Philadelphia went door to door to raise money for the Continental army, and in a matter of weeks raised a large amount of money. Gen. George Washington instructed the women to use the money for shirts. The women of Philadelphia sewed 2,200 linen shirts and personalized each one with the name of the woman who made it. Benjamin Rush paid tribute to his wife: “Let me here bear testimony to the worth of this excellent woman. She fulfilled every duty as wife, and mother with fidelity and integrity. To me she was always a sincere and honest friend had I yielded to her advice upon many occasions, I should have known less distress from various causes in my journey through life.”

In April 1777 he was appointed Surgeon General of the Continental Army and in July 1777 he was made Physician General, for which he would take no pay. He was with the army at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and Brandywine and cared for the wounded. In 1778 Rush was critical of the administration of the Army Medical service under Dr. William Shippen. Rush felt conditions were deplorable and complained to General George Washington, who deferred to Congress. Congress ultimately upheld Shippen, and Rush resigned his appointments in disgust.

After his term in Congress he resumed the practice of medicine and was a founder of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Rush became president of the Philadelphia medical society, established the first free medical clinic for the poor, and continued to teach medicine at the College (now University) of Pennsylvania. Dr. Benjamin Rush had become the leading American physician of his time. When Rush began teaching medicine at the University he had a class of twenty students when he delivered his last lectures in l813, he had more than four hundred students.

He was beloved in his city, where he set an example for other doctors in caring for the poor and became world famous because of his dedication to duty during Philadelphia’s two great yellow fever epidemics that killed nearly 8,000. He himself had a severe attack of yellow fever. He was honored for his contributions to medical science by medals and presents from the King of Prussia, Queen of Italy, and Czar of Russia.

Rush was a social activist, a prominent advocate for the abolition of slavery, and advocate for education for the masses, including women, and for public clinics to treat the poor. He believed in providing treatment for the mentally ill, treating them with compassion and was known as the father of psychiatry.

In 1789 Benjamin Rush wrote in Philadelphia newspapers in favor of adopting the Federal constitution. He was then elected to the Pennsylvania convention which adopted that constitution. He was appointed treasurer of the US Mint under President John Adams and served from 1797 to 1813. In 1808, the Philadelphia Mint struck two medals in his honor. Rush helped found Dickinson College and served as a trustee. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and was cofounder and vice president of the Philadelphia Bible Society.

Rush was responsible for bringing John Adams and Thomas Jefferson back together after their bitter election, and was always a good friend and correspondent to both. Adams characterized Rush after their first meeting as “An elegant, ingenious body, a sprightly, pretty fellow,” and “Too much of a talker to be a deep thinker, elegant, not great.” But when Rush died Thomas Jefferson wrote John Adams that “a better man than Rush could not have left us, more benevolent, more learned, of finer genius, or more honest,” to which Adams replied “he knew of no character living or dead, who has done more real good in America.” Adams wrote Rush’s widow Julia, “there is no one outside my own family whose friendship was so essential to my happiness.”

Serving the people of Philadelphia during a typhus epidemic Dr. Benjamin Rush died April 19, 1813 at the age of 68 of typhus fever. They resided at “Sydenham” now Fifteenth Street and Columbus Ave., in Philadelphia. Julia Stockton Rush died at the age of eighty-nine on July 7, 1848 and is buried with her husband in Christ Church Cemetery in Philadelphia. Benjamin and Julia had thirteen children but four died in infancy. Richard Rush, the second son, served as Attorney-General of the United States, Minister to Great Britain, Secretary of the Treasury, Minister to France and was a candidate for the vice-presidency. James Rush, the third son was a medical authority and writer, and endowed the “Ridgeway” branch of the Philadelphia library. James’ wife was Phebe Ridgeway Rush, a leader of Philadelphia society and one of the most famous women in America at the time.

Watch the video: Benjamin Rush: The most important Founding Father youve never heard of (August 2022).