American slavery began in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. They were brought to help the production of crops like tobacco. After 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans ashore, slavery started to spread throughout the American colonies and became widely known. Even though some information is not completely accurate, a few historians have found that six to seven million slaves were forced into the New World just during the 18th century, leaving the continent of Africa without some of its healthiest and ablest men and women.
In the early 1800s, more opinions were being voiced about the treatment of the African-Americans. An educated African-American by the name of David Walker voiced his opinion about his communities need for equal liberties and all of the hypocrisy that was being ignored by others. For instance, in a paper, it was said, “‘The Turks are the most by bears people in the world – they treat the Greeks more like brute than human beings.’ And in the same paper was an advertisement, which said: ‘Eight well-built Virginia and Maryland Negro fellows and for wenches will positively be sold this day, to the highest bidder’” (Walker, 1829, p.177).
Although mental illness has not always been a subject of social importance, it has always been an issue in America. In the early years of this country, mentally disabled people were considered morally unclean and were social outcasts. At this time in history there were not places for these people to go to any sort of treatment so they were cared for by their families. Since it was socially unacceptable to have a mental illness at the time, there were some cases where people lived in poorhouses or were sent to jail (Ozarin). The necessity to treat the mentally ill increased as America continued to grow and advance.
Today, the amount of coverage and treatment that mentally ill individuals are provided with may depend on what type of insurance they have. However, as shown above, there is a variation in the amount of coverage for mental health services as opposed to physical health services (McLaughlin, 2004). There are many reasons why private and public health care programs have claimed for providing inadequate insurance coverage for mental versus physical health, including claiming that "… that mental health care is costlier and less efficacious than physical health care," (Tovino, 2012). This, however, completely ignores the differences between mental and physical health care and needs. Mental health care is certainly viewed in a more positive light today than in previous years, however, poor insurance coverages show that many do not take it as seriously as they must.
How patients with mental disabilities’ treatment has changed over the years is drastic, and deserves to be noted. In the past, the patients were treated very poorly. According the Szasz, it was once believed that mental illness was caused by demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god. For example, in medieval times, odd behaviors were a sign that the person was possessed by demons. From the 1400s to the 1600s, a common belief sustained by religious organizations was that some people made pacts with the devil and committed terrible acts, such as eating babies.
During the disturbance caused by the transition from Spanish to English rule in 1655, many of the West African slaves escaped. These escaped slaves developed their own separate culture based on their West African roots. These people were known as the Maroons. The British were never able to recapture them. They were granted political independence in 1739.
During the period of the 19th century Africans Americans were held captive because their rights as citizens had always been out of there possession. Freedom was no option until Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 which declared that “all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” (Archives.org, 1999). The 13th amendment was passed by the U.S. Senate on April 8, 1864, but unfortunately it died because the House of Representatives rallied for States rights. The ratification of the amendment came about 8 months after the civil war, but it represented the highest of the struggle against slavery.
In retrospect, the history of the antebellum America is quite fascinating. During this period, the young republic faced several challenges. One of the most serious ones was the slavery issue. Reading the related materials, people might understand that the Founding Fathers had actually pondered about the solution to the issue; however, they did not pursue it because they foresaw possible turmoil in American politics. Unfortunately, the issue kept simmering until it reached the boiling point which resulted in the disastrous Civil War.
So, how should society view persons judged to be mentally ill? In my opinion, I believe that society should judge and treat mentally ill persons just as they would any other sick person. While there are some differences between a physically ill and a mentally ill person, that does not discredit the fact that both are ill. The same goes for how much a mentally ill person is responsible for their condition.
The mass incarceration of the mentally ill can be reduced by reverting to institutionalization Researchers and activists alike are concerned about the rate at which individuals with mental illness are incarcerated in the United States. Many consider that the increase in incarceration is a direct result of deinstitutionalization. In this essay, I will discuss how the solutions to the prevention of the incarceration of the mentally ill but ultimately lead to the common goal of improving the care of the mentally ill. This will be done by comparing and contrasting the key points of Knoll, Etter et al and Kincaid.