Reconsidering Dr. Rush: What the “Lost” Founding Father Benjamin Rush Can Teach Us About the Revolution and America Today

An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom

November 21, 2019
Poster for Stephen Fried lecture on Benjamin Rush

Stephen FriedJournalist; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania

By the time he was thirty, Dr. Benjamin Rush had signed the Declaration of Independence, edited Common Sense, toured Europe as Benjamin Franklin’s protégé, and become John Adams’s confidant, and was soon to be appointed Washington’s surgeon general. And as with the greatest Revolutionary minds, Rush was only just beginning his role in 1776 in the American experiment. As the new republic coalesced, he became a visionary writer and reformer; a medical pioneer whose insights and reforms revolutionized the treatment of mental illness; an opponent of slavery and prejudice by race, religion, or gender; an adviser to, and often the physician of, America’s first leaders; and “the American Hippocrates.” Rush reveals his singular life and towering legacy, installing him in the pantheon of our wisest and boldest Founding Fathers.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author who teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Fried is the author of six nonfiction books including the biographies Appetite For America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West—One Meal at a Timeand Thing Of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia; investigative books Bitter Pillsand The New Rabbi; and the essay collection Husbandry. He is co-author with Patrick Kennedy of A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction. His latest book, Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father, was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize, and one of the American Library Association’s twelve notable nonfiction books of the year. A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, he has been a staff writer for Vanity FairGQGlamour and Philadelphia magazine.Mr. Fried and his wife, author Diane Ayres, live in Philadelphia, a few blocks from where Dr. Rush lived and the nation was born. Mr. Fried received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. 

A book sale and signing will follow the lecture. 

Location:

Frist Campus Center 302