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Madness need not be all breakdown It may also be break-through It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death--Fiorello La Guardia Politics of ExperienceWhat a weak barrier truth is when it stands in the way of a hypothesis--Mary Wollstoncraft A Vindication of the Rights of WomenWhom the Gods destroy they first make madTo the ancient mind madness was assigned by the Gods as punishment for human weakness vice and transgression Cassandra daughter of King Priam was punished by the god Apollo her foresight and accurate predictions were considered by the inhabitants of Troy to be no more than the ludicrous rantings of a madwoman This notion of insanity prevailed throughout the Western world well into the nineteenth century where madness was thought to result from various biological and spiritual improprieties With the birth of modern psychology male institutions of government law and literature found an important ally Following the first Womens Rights Convention in Seneca Falls New York in 1848 and the subsequent growth of the universal suffrage movement women across the country began to push the limits of the cultural constraints in which they had been bound disregarding the austere Victorian rhetoric of the times Insanity madness neurosis and other mental emotional and psychological disorders became the overwhelming response to their independence intelligence and resignation Men in general wrote Mary Wollstoncraft in 1792 seem to employ their reason to justify prejudicesrather then to root them out The number of cases of hysteria and other nervous disorders reached its peak in turn of the century England and America By the year President McKinley was shot hysteria and other disorders of the brain were affecting women at nearly epidemic levels Given the rapid changes and modernization of the 1800s the second industrial revolution in American and Europe the creation of the telegraph in 1844 and the telephone 32 years later in 1876 early-psychology spread with tremendous speed An increasingly literate educated
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