At the time of his death, Dr. Benjamin Rush — along with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin — was arguably one of America’s three most notable men. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, helped found five colleges, served under three presidents, and personally trained more than 3,000 medical students. He is also the founder of the Sunday School movement in America as well as the first Bible society in America. He published the first American textbook on chemistry. He was active in the Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia.

In June 1776, he was elected to attend the provincial conference to send delegates to the Continental Congress and was appointed to represent Philadelphia. In 1777, he became physician-general in the Continental Army but became critical of the administration of the army medical service and Dr. William Shippen, who was in charge of it. He complained directly to General George Washington who deferred to Congress. Congress supported Dr. Shippen, and Dr. Rush resigned. As the war continued, he tried repeatedly to get Washington removed as commander-in-chief. He even went so far as to write an anonymous letter to Virginia’s governor, Patrick Henry. He was confronted by General Washington, and that confrontation caused him to remove himself from all war activities.
In 1789, he wrote in newspapers of Philadelphia advocating the adoption of the federal Constitution. He was elected to the Pennsylvania convention and had a hand in adopting it. From 1797 to 1813, he was treasurer of the US Mint.

On March 28, 1787, he wrote an open letter “To the citizens of Philadelphia: A Plan for Free Schools”.

“Let the children…be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.”

He continued in the same letter:

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty.”

7 Responses to “Dr. Benjamin Rush”


  1. 1 Cathy H. December 5, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Thank you so much regarding the quote by Benjamin Rush regarding education. “The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty.”

    As I read this I realize how far we have drifted from our founding fathers deep and abiding faith in the scriptures. And how much they realized religion has an important part in education.

    How can we ever begin to get back what we Americans have lost. We have become a secular nation and we are facing the consequences, just as Benjamin Rush had predicted if we are to leave religion out of education.

  2. 2 John Smith October 23, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Benjamin Rush was a very influential figure during colonial Philadelphia times.

  3. 3 Sammy Kerr December 9, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I believe that religion is a very personnal matter and everyone should decide if he wants to be laity or religious. Iran country is islamist at 97.5% and Somaly is at 99.0%. who would like to live in a country where the president decides for you in every situation of your life. We are men not poppets.


  1. 1 John Adams: God Damn America « Friends of the American Revolution Trackback on March 22, 2008 at 10:27 am
  2. 2 John Adams: God Damn America « Suzie-Q Trackback on March 22, 2008 at 10:29 am
  3. 3 John Adams: God Damn America « Fallen Creature Trackback on March 22, 2008 at 11:05 am
  4. 4 Pages « Friends of the American Revolution Trackback on July 22, 2008 at 10:27 am

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