Dorothea Dix Essay Research Paper Dorothea DixBorn

Dorothea Dix Essay, Research Paper

Dorothea Dix

Born in 1802, Dorothea Dix played an of import function in altering the ways people thought about patients who were mentally-ill and handicapped, originally cast-off as? being punished by God, ? every bit good as the manner installations handled and treated them. She believed that that people of such standing would make better by being treated with love and caring instead than being put aside. As a societal reformist, altruist, instructor, author, author, nurse, and human-centered, Dorothea Dix devoted devoted her life to the public assistance of the mentally-ill and handicapped. She accomplished many mileposts throughout her life, which changed the manner patients are cared for, even today. She was a innovator in her clip, taking on challenges that no other adult females would make bold dream of undertaking.

Born in Maine, of April, 1802, Dorothea Dix was brought up in a filthy, and poverty-ridden family ( Thinkquest, 2 ) . Her male parent came from a comfortable Massachusetts household and was sent to Harvard. While at that place, he dropped out of school, and married a adult female twenty old ages his senior ( Thinkquest, 1 ) . Populating with two younger brothers, Dix dreamed of being sent off to populate with her grandparents in Massachusetts. Her dream came true. After having a missive from her grandma, bespeaking that she come and populate with her, she was sent off at the age of 12 ( Thinkquest, 4 ) . She lived with her grandma and gramps for two old ages, until her grandma realized that she wasn? T physically and mentally able to manage a miss at such a immature age. She so moved to Worcester, Massachusetts to populate with her aunt and her cousin ( Thinkquest, 5 ) .

The idea of her brothers still being in her former place environment in Maine hurt her. She tried to believe of a manner to acquire at least one of her brothers, the sallow one, to come and be with her. She knew that her drawn-out household was financially able to take in another kid, and if she showed duty, there would be no job ( Wilson, 40 ) . She found a vacant shop, furnished it, and turned it into a school for kids ( Thinkquest, 5 ) . At the age of 17, her grandma sent her a correspondence, and requested her to come back to Boston with her brother ( Thinkquest, 6 ) .

When she returned to Boston, she asked her grandma if she could get down another school in her grandma? s dining room. After a spot of resistance, her grandma agreed ( Compton? s, 1 ) . There, she taught until 1835, when unwellness from Tuberculosis and exhaustion set in. After she was ailment, she closed the school ( Compton? s, 2 ) . She so traveled to Europe to recover, under the advice of friends and household ( Thinkquest, 7 ) . After returning to Boston, months subsequently, she found herself with a really big heritage that would let her to love comfortably for the remainder of her life ( Reader? s Companion to American History, 1 ) .

After recognizing that she was non the type to sit back and make nil, she accepted an invitation to learn at a Sunday school at the East Cambridge Jail in East Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1941 (,1 ) . That? s when her quest began. She was shocked when she saw that mentally sick patients were being put into the gaols, and even more aghast at the conditions they were put in.

She foremost appealed to the local tribunals. Although the charges were denied, the conditions were mildly improved (, 2 ) . Not satisfied with the result of the local tribunals, she traveled the province of Massachusetts for two old ages, documenting the conditions she found ( McHenry, 1 ) . She, with the aid of a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature, Samual Gridley Howe, presented her studies from her visits to the gaols, work houses, and infirmaries in January of 1843 ( Thinkquest, 10 ) . Her studies consisted of narratives such as this, the relation of a Salem County? s hapless house keeper of his brush with a patient on twenty-four hours:

? I knew I must get the hang him now or ne’er: I caught a stick of wood & # 8230 ; and laid upon him until he cried for quarters ; I beat him long plenty until he knew I was his maestro, and now he is excessively much afraid of a walloping to assail me ; but you had better base off, Ma? am, for he won? t fright you. ? ( Wilson, 1 ) .

At foremost, the Massachusetts Legislature ignored her petitions for better conditions and support (, 1 ) . Some of the assemblymen thought that it was excessively expensive ( Mappen, 2 ) . One of the assemblymen said that the proposed refuge was, ? excessively excessive an Egyptian Coliseum, ? ( Mappen, 3 ) . Despite financially-based statements with the Legislature, she was at a loss because of the fact that she was a adult female ( Thinkquest, 9 ) . Peoples were besides at the belief that the mentally insane were being punished by God, and that they deserved the intervention they were having ( Thinkquest, 11 ) . Finally, a member of the Legislation went to personally analyze the conditions at a selected infirmary, and reported the conditions as even worse than what Dorothea Dix described them ( ) . As a consequence, the Legi

slature passed a measure, dividing the mentally sick from the felons, and giving them better conditions (, 2 ) . $ 200,000 was besides authorized for the hard-on of a new installation in East Cambridge (, 3 ) .

After suppressing Massachusetts, she traveled over 3,000 stat mis in three old ages of non-stop travelling, sing and documenting assorted conditions and pleading with the province authoritiess to break the constitutions (, 1 ) . While on circuit of gaols, poorhouses, and work houses, she saw weaponries and legs pinioned, organic structures cut by whip-lashes, and cervixs bowed by fedders (, 1 ) . Throughout the old ages of 1845-1852, her work inspired the creative activity of a school for the blind ( The Reader? s Companion to American History, 3 ) and the persuasion of nine southern provinces to put up public infirmaries for the insane (, 2 ) . Dix told the province Legislature of North Carolina:

? I am the hope of the hapless deranged existences who pine in cells and stables and coops and waste-rooms & # 8230 ; of 100s of bawling, enduring animals hidden in your private homes and in pens and in cabins, ? (, 4 ) .

Finally tired of state-by-state runs, she worked on Federal reform ( The Reader? s Companion to American History, 4 ) . In 1948, she appealed to the Federal Government for 10 million estates for the usage by the insane, deaf and dumb. The measure was passed in February of 1851 by the Senate. Congress so adjourned, so they voted on it once more and it passed. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by President Pierce ( Thinkquest, 13 ) .

Dorothea Dix started volunteering as a nurse for the Union ground forces after the onslaught on Fort Sumter and was placed in charge of all adult females nurses working in ground forces infirmaries (, 3 ) . At the clip of the Civil War, Dorothea had spent more than twenty old ages caring for the mentally sick (, 2 ) . She finally became the Union Superintendent of female nurses during the Civil War (, 1 ) . She tribunal marshaled every physician she found rummy or disorderly ( Thinkquest, 14 ) . And Dix merely accepted nursing appliers between the ages of 30 and 50 who were plain-looking, didn? t wear basketballs or jewellery, and wore apparent black or brown skirts (, 4 ) . She was known as? Dragon Dix, ? because of her changeless clangs with military bureaucratism and on occasion disregarding administrative item (, 5 ) . A sum of over 3,000 adult females nurses served in the Union ground forces (, 6 ) .

In 1843, there were 13 mental infirmaries in the state ; by 1880, there were 123. Dix played a direct function in raising thirty-two of them and bettering 100s of other infirmaries (, 5 ) . Just before her decease, Dorothea Dix, besides known as? The Voice of the Mad, ? wrote to friend and poet, John Greenleaf Whittier:

? I have a impression to see a fountain for animate beings set up in Boston on Milk Street, where I have frequently seen the tired bill of exchange Equus caballuss drawing heavy tonss to the dock and holding no topographic point to imbibe, ? (, 5 ) .

The fountain was created after her decease in 1887, at the age of 85. In response to her fountain, Whittier had a verse form engraved at the fountain:

? Stranger and Traveler!

Drink freely and confer

A kindly thought on her

Who bade this fountain flow ;

Yet hath for it no claim

Save as the curate

Of blessing in God? s name. ?

( Wilson, Pg.330 ) .

Dorothea Dix spent her last old ages in the guest quarters of a province infirmary she had helped found 35 old ages earlier in New Jersey. A good friend of hers, Dr. Nichols, besides wrote, to Mr. Daniel Hake Tuke, after Dorothea? s Death:

? Thus had died and been laid to rest in the most quiet, unpretentious manner the most utile and distinguished adult female America had yet produced, ? ( Wilson, Pg. 342 ) .

This statement is besides considered her epitaph ( Thinkquest, 16 ) .


1. Dorothea Dix:

2. Dorothea Dix: Biography

3. Mappen, Mare ; Dorothea Dix & A ; the State? s First Lunatic Asylum

4. National Women? s Hall of Fame: The Women of the Hall: Dorothea Dix

5. Naythons, Matthew, M.D. ; The Face of Mercy: A Photographic History of Medicine at War?

U.S. News & A ; World Report, 10-11-93, pp.72-79

6. The Reader? s Guide to American History: Dorothea Dix

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1991

7. McHenry, Robert: Dorothea Dix: Her Heritage: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Celebrated American Women Pilgrim New Media, Inc. , 1995, 1.00 Ed.

8. Compton? s Encyclopedia: Dorothea Dix

9. Three Inspiring Womans: Dorothea Dix

10. The Asylum Warden: Dorothea Dix

11. Dorothea Lynde Dix

12. Wilson, Dorothy Clarke: Stranger and Traveler

Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1975


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