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Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush

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Benjamin Rush

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  1. Benjamin Rush By: Frank Hennessy

  2. Overview of Rush’s Life • Parents • Born in Pennsylvania on January 4, 1746, to John Rush and Susanna Harvey • His father died in 1751 and his mother moved to Philadelphia to run a grocery store • At 8, Rush was sent to live with his uncle, Dr. Samuel Finley, pastor and headmaster of Nottingham Academy

  3. Overview of Rush’s Life (cont.) • Education • He attended a country school in Nottingham a few years after his father’s death • Rush entered the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1759 and received an A.B. in 1760 • Started studying medicine in February of 1761 and continued in his master’s family and shop until July 1766 and then continued his studies at the University of Edinburgh, receiving an M.D. in 1768

  4. Edinburgh College • Rush said that the two years he spent at Edinburgh were the most important in their influence on his character and conduct of any period of his life • The lectures and conversations he had with the Professors gave him new ideas and opened his mind to enable him to profit by reading and observation • The friendly communication he had with his fellow students was a constant excitement to his mind

  5. Situation in Colonies • Lead up to Revolution • In 1775, the Second Continental Congress was formed and the Continental Army was also created • No taxation without representation and the Stamp Act are key points in the start of the Revolutionary War • No taxation without representation-Citizens want representation by colony-elected members instead of Parliament, whom they have never met • Stamp Act-Unites colonies in protest, first direct tax inflicted upon the colonies • Boston Massacre-5 colonists killed • Boston Tea Party-342 tea chests thrown into Boston harbor

  6. Rush’s View of Tories and Whigs • Rush observed that the Tories and Whigs were actuated by very different motives in their conduct, or by the same motives acting in different degrees of force • There was a third class that had no fixed principles and accommodated their conduct to their interests • The Whigs were the largest class of the three

  7. Conflicts Between Tories+Whigs • Five types of Tories • From an attachment to power and office • From and attachment to the British commerce which the war was interrupted or annihilated • From an attachment to kingly government • From an attachment to the hierarchy of the Church of England, which it was supposed would be abolished in America by her separation from Great Britain • From a dread of the power of the country being transferred into the hands of the Presbyterians

  8. Conflicts Between Tories+Whigs (cont.) • Five types of Whigs • From a desire of possessing, or at least sharing, in the power of America • From an expectation that a war with Great Britain would cancel all British debts • From the facility with which the tender laws enabled debtors to pay their creditors in deprecated paper money • From ancient or hereditary hostility to persons, or families who were Tories • From a sincere and disinherited love to liberty and justice (majority)

  9. Creation of Continental Congress • Leading up to Congress • Battles of Lexington and Concord cause the creation of the Continental Congress on May 10, 1776 • Congress decides to break away completely from Great Britain • Congress decided to improve the militia in the colonies, and therefore appointed George Washington as commander-in-chief • Congress issues the Declaration of Independence

  10. Rush’s Political Life • Involvement in Revolutionary Politics • Member of Second Continental Congress • Signer of the Declaration of Independence • Took part in 1787 fight in Pennsylvania to ratify the new constitution

  11. Rush at Continental Congress • His role in Congress • Rush represented Pennsylvania in the Congress when he signed the Declaration • In June 1776, he was elected to attend the provincial conference to send delegates to the Continental Congress • In 1777 he was appointed surgeon-general of the middle department of the Continental Army

  12. Rush at Continental Congress (cont.) • Relationship with Congress members • Friendships with John and Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson • Also conversed with other members of Congress from New England • Regularly dined with Jefferson, Washington (commander-in-chief), Franklin, James Wilson, John Langdon and a dozen more • Talks to Thomas Paine (author of Common Sense) about the independence of the American colonies from Great Britain. Paine considered the measure necessary to bring the war to a speedy and successful

  13. Rush’s Speech on Declaring Independence • Rush makes a speech in Congress about declaring independence from Great Britain • Rush states that America is in no state to put themselves in the same category as Britain • This means that if the colonies are to break apart from British rule, they would be putting themselves as a world power, like Britain • He also says America is bound to cherish the honor of our country which is now committed to our care • This states they should remain loyal to Britain because is Britain is dishonored, so are they

  14. Rush’s Changed View • The battle of Lexington gave Rush a new tone to his feelings, and he had burdens about the Revolution • He considered the separation of the colonies from Great Britain as inevitable • “The first gun that was fired at an American cut the cord that had tied the two countries together.”

  15. Rush-Observer and recorder • Rush was constantly taking notes on speeches given at the Continental Congress and most likely brought up a point about the matter • This enabled Rush to see all sides of the viewpoint of Declaring Independence from Great Britain and helped his decision making

  16. Lead up to July 2 • All Members of Congress insisted that American remained loyal to British, but that they would not endure violations of their most sacred rights and privileges. • May 10, 1776-Continental Congress recommends to “the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs has been established” and that they adopt a government best for the people of the colonies.-John Adams, Richard Henry Lee and Edward Rutledge set to compose a preface for this resolution • Draft submitted by Adams three days later

  17. Lead up to July 2 (cont.) • Powerful charges brought up by Congress against Britain • 132 British ships sail from Halifax to attack New York • Hancock sends word to New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York militias to prepare and help • 53 British ships outside Charleston, South Carolina and American army had to leave Canada • Delegates to Lee’s Resolution vote again after voters chose no independence and all colonies vote for independence

  18. Rush’s Feelings, Post Declaration • There was no one that signed the Declaration with more satisfaction than Rush • Rush would accept any duty to lead America to independence • “America is the only vivid principle in the whole world.”

  19. Rush’s Role in Revolution • Rush was appointed surgeon-general of the Continental Army in 1777 • He served in this position until January 1778, when he resigned in protest • He soon became angry after taking the post at the disorganization and corruption plaguing army hospitals • The final reason he resigned was that a letter was sent in which Rush was said to be disloyal

  20. Accomplishments after resigning until death • In 1780, he began lecturing at the University of Pennsylvania • Served as the surgeon at the Pennsylvania Hospital from 1784 until he died • Set up Philadelphia Dispensary to provide medical care for the poor, which was the first such institution in the U.S. • Founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1783 and Franklin College at Lancaster in 1787 • Helped found the College of Physicians in 1787 • Helped establish and finance oldest Negro church in the country • Proposed a national system of public education with a federal university to train public servants and he also favored the education of women • Elected to the Pennsylvania ratifying convention for the new federal Constitution, in which he and James Wilson led the movement for adoption

  21. Accomplishments after resigning until death (cont.) • Elected Professor of Theory and Practice of Theory in 1789 • Held chair of the Institutes of Medicine and Clinical Practice in 1791 • Found the cure of the Yellow Fever epidemic, in which he fell ill twice but applied the cure twice to himself while other physicians fled town • Resigned from College of Physicians and moved to New York • From 1797 to 1813, he served as Treasurer of the U.S. Mint. • Rush was given the title, “Father of American psychiatry” when he published his book Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind • Rush was one of the first to promote the study of veterinary medicine in the U.S. • His work against slavery freed many slaves and his outspoken opposition to capital punishment helped Pennsylvania’s decision in abolishing the death penalty for everything except first-degree murder

  22. Reconciling the Jefferson and Adams (John) Friendship • Jefferson and Adams frequently argued in Congress, being complete opposites as Adams was talkative short and stalky, Jefferson, tall, thin, and quiet but intelligent • Jefferson wrote in 1811 (to Rush) that the different views of himself and Adams on the same subject are the results of the difference of Congress’ organization and experience • Adams (a Federalist) and Jefferson (a Republican) argued their political views constantly in their presidential campaigns and Adams ended up becoming the second president by three votes • When Jefferson was made president, Adams had to be carried out of the new Capitol city because he refused to leave • Rush was the barrier in between the two and reconciled their relationship before the two died, which happened to be on the same day, which was the fifty year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. (July 4th, 1826.)

  23. Death of a Scholar • In spring of 1813, Rush fell ill with a fever and died five days later in Philadelphia, at age 67 • He was eulogized by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

  24. Bibliography • • • • • The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush • American Scripture by Pauline Maier