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.
About the Author
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.
"A valuable introduction to a man justifiably characterized as 'the founding father of an America that other founding fathers forgot-an America of women, slaves, indentured workers, laborers, prisoners, the poor, the indigent sick and injured.'"—Publishers Weekly
"A highly readable account of a humanitarian who cared for others more than for himself. A hero of his era."—Washington Times
"[Unger] delivers Rush from his inexplicable obscurity in this fine biography...If you love biography, you're in for some pleasant reading. If you love early American history, you're going to wonder how you've missed Dr. Rush for so long."—The Reagan Review
"In an age of towering literary, political and military giants such as Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington, and others, it is indeed surprising that Rush should be as little remembered as he is by most Americans. Perhaps this biography can right this and return him to the pantheon of our greatest Founding Fathers."—New York Journal of Books
"Sympathetic and readable...Reveal[s] a dedicated humanitarian with an enduring influence upon American medicine."—Wall Street Journal
"Unger has added another major contribution to his collection of profiles of America's Founding Fathers...[His] biography of Rush exposes the important work of a medical, political and social pioneer."—Roanoke Times
"Restores Dr. Benjamin Rush to his rightful place in American history as the Founding Father of American civil rights, medical care and psychiatry...Impressively informative, exceptional in scope and execution...An extraordinary and deftly written biography." —Midwest Book Review
"[An] enjoyable read...Successfully present[s] a man who never quit, even in the face of failure or public humiliation."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"A 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."—Taft Bulletin