Benjamin Rush

Essay by sreddinger94College, UndergraduateB, July 2014

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Shaina Reddinger

History 1320


Benjamin Rush was many things: a physician, professor, writer, humanitarian, member of the Second Continental Congress, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Surgeon General for the Middle Department of the Continental Army, and Treasurer of the U.S. Mint. Overall, he was a well-developed character who made many contributions to society and played a very important role in the history of the United States. He was a descendent of a very religious family who held a strong Christian faith. This faith was expressed throughout his life in each of the roles that he took on. To get a better understanding of his life, understanding how he came to America is very important.

The great-great-grandfather of Benjamin Rush, John Rush, was a farmer in Oxfordshire, England. He was well known for commanding a horse troop in Cromwell's army during England's Civil War.

John and his seventeen-year-old wife Susanna were supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War and after refusing to conform to the Church of England, they moved to America with their seven children (one daughter and six sons) and several grandchildren. They arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683, during the second year of William Penn's "Holy Experiment" for settlement in America where they were free to be Quakers. They settled in Byberry Township, a farming community made up of predominantly Quakers near Philadelphia. Five generations of Rushes went on to live in this community. [1: Alyn Brodsky, Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician (New York: Truman Talley Books, 2004), 17.][2: Carl Binger, Revolutionary Dotor: Benamin Rush, 1746-1813 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1966), 19.]

John's eldest son was named William Rush. William was Benjamin's great-grandfather, who died in 1688 at the age of thirty-six after living in America...