The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 2, March 1996
Slapping a medical label ? such as ADD ? on unruly children and other social "deviants" might seem a peculiarly 20th-century fad. Not so. In 1851, Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright, respected Louisiana physician and member of the American Medical Association, reported discovering a disease, drapetomania, that caused slaves to flee their owners. (Drapeto, runaway slave; mania, craze.) "With...proper medical advice," he wrote, "this troublesome practice that many negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented."
Drapetomania miraculously vanished from the land when slavery was ended, though such an obvious cure probably didn't occur to the good doctor. Wouldn't it be marvelous to discover that all that was needed to cure ADD, LD, etc., was to end state schooling?
This article is copyrighted by the Alliance for the Separation of School & State. Permission is granted to freely distribute this article as long as this copyright notice is included in its entirety.