Politician, physician, philosopher, educator, one of the founding fathers of the United States in the broadest sense of the term
Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States who signed the United States Declaration of Independence, and a civic leader in Philadelphia, where he was a physician, politician, social reformer, humanitarian, and educator and the founder of Dickinson College. Rush attended the Continental Congress. His later self-description there was: "He aimed right." He served as Surgeon General of the Continental Army and 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 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. In 1965, the American Psychiatric Association recognized Rush as the "father of American psychiatry".
HappinessA belief in God's universal love to all his creatures, and that he will finally restore all of them that are miserable to happiness, is a polar truth. . . It establishes the equality of [humanity]. . .
HappinessNow if the study of the Scriptures be necessary to our happiness at any time in our life, the sooner we begin to read them, the more we shall be attached to them.
HealthFreedomArtUnless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.
WarThe American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.
WarAs the War Office of the United States was established in a time of peace, it is equally reasonable that a Peace Office should be established in a time of War.
WarThe American war is over, but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution.
FreedomFreedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights.
Beer is a wholesome liquor.....it abounds with nourishment
I shall be better satisfied if the same can be said of me as was said of the prophet of old, "That I walked in the fear of the Lord, and begat sons and daughters" [Genesis 5:22], than if it were inscribed on my tombstone that I governed the councils or commanded the arms of the whole continent of America.
Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us.
There is but one method of rendering a republican form of government durable, and that is by disseminating the seeds of virtue and knowledge through every part of the state by means of proper places and modes of education and this can be done effectively only by the aid of the legislature.
I grant this mode of secluding boys from the intercourse of private families has a tendency to make them scholars, but our business is to make them men, citizens, and Christians. The vices of young people are generally learned from each other. The vices of adults seldom infect them. By separating them from each other, therefore, in their hours of relaxation from study, we secure their morals from a principal source of corruption, while we improve their manners by subjecting them to those restraints which the difference of age and sex naturally produce in private families.
While the business of education in Europe consists in lectures upon the ruins of Palmyra and the antiquities of Herculaneum , or in disputes about Hebrew points, Greek particles, or the accent and quantity of the Roman language, the youth of America will be employed in acquiring those branches of knowledge which increase the conveniences of life.
Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property. Let him be taught to love his family, but let him be taught at the same time that he must forsake and even forget them when the welfare of his country requires it.
I anticipate the Day when to command Respect in the remotest Regions it will be sufficient to say I am an American.
In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful "whether morals can exist without it," but by asserting that without religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons.
A pioneer is generally a man who has outlived his credit or fortune in the cultivated parts.
Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and... in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts, they will be wise and happy.
Terror acts powerfully upon the body, through the medium of the mind, and should be employed in the cure of madness.
If we were to remove the Bible from public schools we would be wasting so much time punishing crimes and taking so little pains to prevent them.
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.
The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.
Let the children...be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.
Without the restraints of religion and social worship, men become savages much sooner than savages become civilized by means of religion and civil government.
Dissections daily convince us of our ignorance of the seats of diseases, and cause us to blush at our prescriptions. How often are we disappointed in our expectation from the most certain and powerful of our remedies, by the negligence or obstinacy of our patients! What mischief have we done under the belief of false facts and false theories! We have assisted in multiplying diseases. We have done more — we have increased their mortality.
We have not only multiplied diseases, but we have made them more fatal.
The gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation in life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations!
By renouncing the Bible, philosophers swing from their moorings upon all moral subjects..It is the only correct map of the human heart that ever has been published.
Controversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error.
[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community.
I have always considered Christianity as the strong ground of republicanism. The spirit is opposed, not only to the splendor, but even to the very forms of monarchy, and many of its precepts have for their objects republican liberty and equality as well as simplicity, integrity, and economy in government. It is only necessary for republicanism to ally itself to the Christian religion to overturn all the corrupted political and religious institutions of the world.
Christianity is the only true and perfect religion.
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constitute the soul of republicanism.
I have always considered Christianity as the strong ground of republicanism.
Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.
Dreams are nothing but incoherent ideas, occasioned by partial or imperfect sleep.
Scandal dies sooner of itself, than we could kill it.
Mirth, and even cheerfulness, when employed as remedies in low spirits, are like hot water to a frozen limb.
In Macbeth a lady is restrained from the murder of a king by his resemblance of her father as he slept. Should not all men be restrained from acts of violence and even of unkindness against their fellow men by observing in them something which resembles the Savior of the World? If nothing else certainly, a human figure?
The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
A Christian cannot fail of being a republican.
Were I disposed to consider the comparative merit of each of them [facts or theories in medical practice], I should derive most of the evils of medicine from supposed facts, and ascribe all the remedies which have been uniformly and extensively useful, to such theories as are true. Facts are combined and rendered useful only by means of theories, and the more disposed men are to reason, the more minute and extensive they become in their observations
Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mahomed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.
'Tis done. We have become a nation.
The business of education has lay[ed] the foundations for nurseries of wise and good men, to adapt our modes of teaching to the peculiar form of our government . . . . He must be taught to love his fellow creatures in every part of the world, but he must cherish with a more intense and peculiar affection the citizens of Pennsylvania and of the United States.
Mania's premonitory signs are unusual acts of extravagance, manifested by the purchase of houses, and certain expensive and unnecessary articles of furniture.
Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property ... He must be taught to amass wealth, but it must be only to increase his power of contributing to the wants and demands of the state... [Education] can be done effectually only by the interference and aid of the Legislature.
It would seem from this fact, that man is naturally a wild animal, and that when taken from the woods, he is never happy in his natural state, 'till he returns to them again.
Temperate, sincere, and intelligent inquiry and discussion are only to be dreaded by the advocates of error. The truth need not fear them.
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.
Without Virtue there can be no liberty
The Bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state than any other book in the world.
I have alternately been called an Aristocrat and a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat.
The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.
The Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life...The Bible...should be read in our schools in preference to all other books because it contains the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public happiness.
A simple democracy is the devil's own government.
Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriae love of ones country is both a moral duty and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters of history.
Upon my return from the army to Baltimore in the winter of 1777, I sat next to John Adams in Congress, and upon my whispering to him and asking him if he thought we should succeed in our struggle with Great Britain, he answered me, "Yes-if we fear God and repent of our sins."
Mothers and schools plant the seeds of nearly all the good and evil which exists in the world.
...This large and expensive stock of drugs will be unnecessary. By...doses of...medicines...multiplying...combining them properly, 20 to 30 articles, aided by the common resources of the lancet, a garden, a kitchen, fresh air, cool water, exercise, will be sufficient to cure all the diseases that are at present under the power of medicine.
Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.
By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.
If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.
Let us show the world that a difference of opinion upon medical subjects is not incompatible with medical friendships; and in so doing, let us throw the whole odium of the hostility of physicians to each other upon their competition for business and money.