Throughout the history of the Western world, and of the United States, insanity has been recognized as a mental illness that prevents its victims from conforming to societal definitions of rational behavior and judgment. Physicians and psychiatrists have studied insanity since the eighteenth century. Its association with weakness and childlike behavior has been understood to undermine masculine identity, thus contributing to the shame experienced by its male sufferers.

Insanity in the Early Republic

Insanity became an important public concern at the time of the nation's founding. After the American colonies declared their independence by separating from England, a new nation was established based on Enlightenment concepts of science and reason and republican ideals grounded in a patriarchal government and a citizenship of rational, independent white males. But ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles