Dorothea Dix Accomplishments

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Dorothea Dix played a huge role in acquiring equal rights for the mentally ill in the 1800s. In this time, the mentally ill had little to no rights. There wasn’t care and support available to them, and instead they were thrown in prisons. Dorothea Dix was born on April 4, 1802 in Hampden, Maine. She was the oldest of three children, and raised her younger siblings. Her father was a religious fanatic and an abusive alcoholic, and her mother struggled with depression and other mental illness and was not able to care for her children. At the age of 12, Dorothea went to live with her grandmother in Boston. Her grandmother was very wealthy and proper, and expected Dorothea to act the same way. A dance instructor and seamstress were both …show more content…

Horrified by the results of her research, she took this to court and secured an order that said they need to have heat, and other basic living requirements. She started traveling to find out what conditions were like in other prisons, and in poorhouses. Dorothea crafted a document that was presented to the Massachusetts Legislature that increased the budget to expand the state mental hospital at Worcester. She still wanted to do more, so she toured the country and documented the conditions and treatments of patients in mental hospitals. She founded or added to asylums in: Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, and North …show more content…

At this time, nursing was seen as a job only men could do. Women were seen as weak, and people assumed they would pass out at the sight of blood, or cry when they saw people in pain. Dorothea knew that there would be a great need for nurses and planned to start a female Army Nursing Corps. These women would all be volunteers. However, when she presented this to the Surgeon General, she was refused, partly because she was a woman and wanted a female staff, and partly because everyone thought the war would last three months or less, and the General didn’t believe they would need that many

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