Dr. Benjamin Rush

 

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was considered by John Adams to be one of America’s three most notable Founding Fathers, ranking alongside George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. [1] But his contributions to America were not purely political, even though those were very significant. [2]

For example, he is also known as the “Father of American Medicine.” [3] He was a founding member of America’s first Bible Society [4] and is credited with helping begin the American Sunday School movement. [5]  He helped organize America’s first Anti-Slavery society [6] and was a leader in the national abolition movement. [7] He held multiple university professorships, [8] and is properly titled “The Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution,” being an advocate for free public schools for all youth. [9]

As families across the nation prepare to send their fifty-five million children back to school [10] in the next few weeks, it is a good time to review the intent behind America’s original educational system: for students to receive a sound academic education based on God’s Word. [11] In fact, in 1791, Dr. Rush wrote a lengthy piece providing a dozen or so reasons why America would continue teaching the Bible in our public schools. (To see a portion of the letter as it was printed by the American Tract society in 1830, visit our website.)

Take the Benjamin Rush Quiz!

    1. Which two former Presidents did Benjamin Rush help reconcile?

 

    1. What was the name of the society that Benjamin Rush helped form to start Sunday Schools?

 

    1. What other Founding Father helped Benjamin Rush found America’s first anti-slavery society?

 

    1. How many colleges and universities did Benjamin Rush help establish?

 

    1. What was the name of the colonial law requiring children to know how to read, and establishing public schools for that purpose?

 


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See How you did!

  1. Which two former Presidents did Benjamin Rush help reconcile?
    John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (To see the story behind the reconciliation, read the article on the WallBuilders website.)
  2. What was the name of the society that Benjamin Rush helped form to start Sunday Schools?
    First Day Schools (For additional information, see Benjamin Rush.)
  3. What other Founding Father helped Benjamin Rush found America’s first anti-slavery society?
    Benjamin Franklin (To see what the Founding Fathers thought of slavery, visit our website.)
  4. How many colleges and universities did Benjamin Rush help establish?
    Five (The College of Philadelphia, the University of the State of Pennsylvania, the Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia, Dickinson College, and Franklin College)
  5. What was the name of the colonial law requiring children to know how to read, and establishing public schools for that purpose?
    The Old Deluder Satan Act (For additional information, check out Four Centuries of American Education.)

 


[1] John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (Philadelphia: R. W. Pomeroy, 1823), Vol. IV p. 283. See also, L. H. Butterfield, “The Reputation of Benjamin Rush,” Pennsylvania History, January 1950, Vol. XVII, No. 1, p. 9, John Adams to Richard Rush on May 5, 1813.

 

[2] For example, Dr. Rush pushed for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, as well as adoption of the 1790 Pennsylvania State Constitution. He was appointed Treasurer of the U.S. Mint by President John Adams, a position which he held under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

 

[3] Thomas D. Mitchell, The Character of Rush (Philadelphia: Published by the Class, John H. Gihon, Printer, 1848), p. 4.

 

[4] The First Report of the Bible Society Established at Philadelphia; Read before the Society at their Annual Meeting, May 1, 1809 (Philadelphia: Printed by Order of the Society; Fry and Kammerer, Printers, 1809). See also, Dictionary of American Biography, “Rush, Benjamin.”

 

[5] Edwin Wilber Rice, The Sunday-School Movement and the American Sunday-School Union (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1917 ), p. 44-45.

 

 

 

[8]Benjamin Rush,” University of Pennsylvania (accessed August 13, 2013).

 

[9] David Ramsay, An Eulogium upon Benjamin Rush, M. D. (Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1813), p. 107. See also Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and Samuel F. Bradford, 1798), pp. 6-20, “Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic.”

 

[11] Alexis de Tocqueville, The Republic of the United States of America and Its Political Institutions, Reviewed and Examined, Henry Reeves, translator (Garden City, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1851), p. 41. See also, Edward Kendall, Travels through the Northern Parts of the United States, in the Years 1807 and 1808 (New York: I. Riley, 1809) Vol. I, pp. 270-271.
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By |2017-07-05T13:08:53+00:00January 4th, 2017|Categories: Updates|0 Comments