Benjamin Rush

U.S. Congressperson

1745 – 1813

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Who was Benjamin Rush?

Benjamin Rush was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Rush signed the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. He served as Surgeon General in the Continental army, and was blamed for criticising George Washington. Later in life, Rush became a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rush was a leader of the American Enlightenment, and an enthusiastic supporter of the American Revolution. He signed the Declaration of Independence, and was a leader in Pennsylvania's ratification of the Constitution in 1788. He was prominent in many reforms, especially in the areas of medicine and education. He opposed slavery, advocated free public schools, and sought improved education for women and a more enlightened penal system. As a leading physician, Rush had a major impact on the emerging medical profession. As an Enlightenment intellectual, he was committed to organizing all medical knowledge around explanatory theories, rather than rely on empirical methods. Rush argued that illness was the result of imbalances in the body's physical system and was caused by malfunctions in the brain. His approach prepared the way for later medical research, but Rush himself undertook none of it. He promoted public health by advocating clean environment and stressing the importance of personal and military hygiene. His study of mental disorder made him one of the founders of American psychiatry.

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Born
Dec 24, 1745
Byberry
Parents
Spouses
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Princeton University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • West Nottingham Academy
Lived in
  • Philadelphia
Died
Apr 19, 1813
Philadelphia

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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