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The Amazing Dr. Rush: Medicine in Colonial and Early America

 More than one of the most accomplished physicians and medical teachers of his generation, Dr. Benjamin Rush was also a staunch patriot, advocate for the poor, avid abolitionist, progressive for prison reform, and the father of American psychiatry. His philosophies on medicine would guide the profession through to the Civil War. We will delve into the incredible life of this riveting figure, a man who was hailed for routinely poisoning, bleeding, purging, burning and blistering patients.  Learn about the cultural and technological limits of the 18th and early 19th centuries and why extreme therapies were the trademarks of the time.  You may be surprised by ways in which modern treatments are based upon our nation’s early history.



Essential Questions:

How did communicable diseases contribute to European success in conquering the New World?
What can I learn from the past?
How am I connected to people and events from the past?
How did the decades of the 18th  and 19th centuries change and shape American culture?
What causes change, and what stays the same?
What patterns develop in the course of history?
How are cause and effect shown throughout history?
How is history interpreted to relate the past to the present?
How do the concepts of family, education, leisure, government, economics, religion, and communication define a culture?

History Standards:  8.1 A,B,C,D   8.2.6 A,B,C    8.3.3 A,B,C,D   8.3.6 A,B,C,D8.3.9 A,B,C  

Reading Standards
: 1.1.5.A,G  1.2.A  1.3.A,F 1.6.A,B,D,E


“I really like it when you come to our classes. The teachers don’t get to give us this hands-on experience, but when you come in it makes learning fun. One thing I really liked learning about was the role the women played. In the units we’ve studied, it was all about the men doing interesting things. But when you came in and told us the roles they played, I was really relieved that the women finally got to do something important. I hope I get the chance to see you again.”
         Asha B.