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March 19, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXX(12):674-675. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02440640042008

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The public care of the insane is now recognized in all civilized countries as an essential in some form or other, and the ideal system has been generally accepted as that in which the State at large assumes this duty. The State hospital or asylum of the present is an outgrowth of the humanitarian public spirit which revolted at the conditions under which the unfortunate lunatics formerly were kept in ill furnished and worse managed jails and poorhouses in which, in misery and filth, they dragged out an actively abbreviated existence. Undoubtedly the pendulum has swung to the other extreme in some instances; reformers are rarely conservative, and often are not broad-minded enough to see that by extravagance in their demands for a part they defeat their object as regards the whole; that a few of the insane are often thus housed in comparative luxury, while the great mass are

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