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April 6th, 2010

Dr. Benjamin Rush

A lesser known Founding Father made an interesting statement that read today and not knowing its source may lead you to believe it describes our current state of affairs in the United States. Read on.

Benjamin Rush (1745–1813) was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian and a devout Christian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rush was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. [1]

Upon his return to America [from finishing his education overseas], Benjamin Rush engaged early in pre-Revolutionary movements, and wrote constantly for the press on colonial rights. He was a member of the provincial conference of Pennsylvania, and chairman of the committee that reported that it had become expedient for congress to declare independence. He manifested his enthusiasm for the colonial cause by riding out to meet the Massachusetts delegates to the first Continental Congress in 1774. He established during the next few years the deepest and most cherished of his friendships with John Adams.

He was also a staunch opponent of Gen. George Washington and worked tirelessly to have him removed as the Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army.[2] Later in life, he became a professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Despite having a wide influence on the development of American government, he is not as widely known as many of his American contemporaries. Rush was also an early opponent of slavery and capital punishment.

Despite his great contributions to early American society, Rush may be more famous today as the man who, in 1812, helped reconcile the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by encouraging the two former Presidents to resume writing to each other.[3][4]

Famed physician, signer of the Declaration of Indepedence, friend to several of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Rush pronounced,

“The American War is over, but that is far from the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the great drama is closed. Some today would say that our republic has run its course, that our respect around the world is in decline, that our military power is not what it once was, and that our commerce is challenged by several other countries. Others would contend that we are the only super power left and that our influence is second to none. Does the American Revolution continue? In what ways? [5]

Benjamin Rush was a Presbyterian and devout Christian. He was a cofounder and vice president of the Philadelphia Bible Society, which advocated the use of scripture in public schools. A typhus epidemic claimed Rush’s life at the age of 67 in 1813. Surviving him were six sons and three daughters of the 13 children he had fathered. His grave is in Christ Church Burial Ground at Philadelphia. [6]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Rush
[2] George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Regnery. 2006. pp. 264–265, 282.
[3] “”Two Pieces of Homespun” (Memory): American Treasures of the Library of Congress”. The Library of Congress. 2002-11-22. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
[4] McCullough, David (2001). John Adams. Simon and Schuster. pp. 599–603. ISBN 0684813637.
[5] Dr. Benjamin Rush (American Museum, Jan. 1787)
[6] http://www.adherents.com/people/pr/Benjamin_Rush.html