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November 12, 1887

THE MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE OF MENTAL AND NERVOUS DISEASES.Read in the Section on Medical Jurisprudence, at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association, June, 1887,

JAMA. 1887;IX(20):612-614. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02400190004001a

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Abstract

Insanity may be regarded from three prominent standpoints: the philosophical, the medical, and the legal. How soon there shall be consonance of views depends upon when there shall be general recognition of what is known about mental diseases.

Were the modern philosophical conclusions to prevail there would be no distinction between crime and insanity; society would simply adopt measures to protect itself against both as equally dependent upon faulty organization or function and more attention would be paid to circumventing the higher grade of criminals who seldom figure as such: the demagogue, the social hypocrite, and the unscrupulous millionaire gambler. It will be long before the populace comprehends that unjust judges, a Senate crowded with Neros and a feeble array of intelligence in the lower house can work more disaster than Bedlams and jails let loose; but the trend of enlightenment is toward mercy to the weak and protection against

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