A gripping, often startling biography of the Founding Father of an America that other Founding Fathers forgot–an America of women, African Americans, Jews, Roman Catholics, Quakers, indentured workers, the poor, the mentally ill, and war veterans
Ninety percent of Americans could not vote and did not enjoy rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness when our Founding Fathers proclaimed, “all men are created equal.” Alone among those who signed the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush heard the cries of those other, deprived Americans and stepped forth as the nation’s first great humanitarian and social reformer.
Remembered primarily as America’s leading, most influential physician, Rush led the Founding Fathers in calling for abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, improved medical care for injured troops, free health care for the poor, slum clearance, citywide sanitation, an end to child labor, free universal public education, humane treatment and therapy for the mentally ill, prison reform, and an end to capital punishment.
Using archival material from Edinburgh, London, Paris, and Philadelphia, as well as significant new materials from Rush’s descendants and historical societies, Harlow Giles Unger’s new biography restores Benjamin Rush to his rightful place in American history as the Founding Father of modern American medical care and psychiatry.
Acclaimed historian Harlow Giles Unger is a former Distinguished Visiting Fellow at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He is the author of twenty-six previous books, including twelve biographies of America’s Founding Fathers and three histories of the early Republic. He lives in New York City.