In the 1830s there was no such thing as insane asylums! Everyone including children were being thrown into jail for crimes such as murder to spitting on the street.  The poor insane people were also being thrown into jail for crimes they didn't even know they were committing.  The jails were very dirty and not fit for anyone to live in.  Finally, a women by the name of Dorothea Dix, a Massachusetts school teacher, brought these unhealthy living conditions and ways of the insane into the view of the legislature. She protested that the insane would stay insane if they continued to be punished for crimes they didn't even know they were committing.  She persuaded the legislature to get the insane out of the prisons and put them into insane asylums.   Here they can receive help and rehabilitation. After the 1840s, many new insane asylums started opening up around America to help the insane.

“Man is not made better by being degraded; he is seldom restrained from crime by harsh measures, except the principle of fear predominates in his character; and then he is never made radically better for its influence.”-Dorothea Dix
Dorothea Dix was against mentally ill people being sent to prisons, and like in the quote above she believed the prisons degraded the insane.

The first insane asylum was the McLean Asylum for the Insane,founded in 1826 in Charleston Massachusetts.

Before insane asylums patients were kept in a general Hospital, poorhouses, and almshouses.

What were the boundaries between helping the insane or being cruel?
What difficulties took place while establishing insane asylums?
Was the general public opposed of for insane asylums?
How did they determine if someone was insane?
Where the insane asylums ever overpopulated?

Comment Stream