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October 25, 1890


JAMA. 1890;XV(17):612. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410430020005

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In the evolution of organic types we notice a constant reversion to preëxistent forms. So strong is this atavistic tendency that a six-toed ancestor will send through many generations his acquired deformity, and we shall find it appearing again and again even though it skip one or more generations. So in the development of political and social institutions, there is a constant tendency to revert to a primordial type, and the patriot cries out, " Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

The humane and scientific care of the insane has been achieved after a struggle extending over one hundred years, in which, more than once, the tide of superstition and ignorance threatened to overwhelm the small but heroic band battling for the rights of these unfortunates. One would suppose that this question had been definitely settled, but now and again the reversion type shows its deformed head. We refer especially

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