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Dorothea Dix’s Effects On Asylum Reform, The Civil War, And Adolescent Minds

1143 words - 5 pages

Dorothea Lynde Dix is a famous woman in history that has been commemorated for her many helpful contributions to the world. Throughout her life span, she singlehandedly bestowed her assistance to individuals, states, and even full countries. She is known for many small, well-rounded triumphs but when summed up, all equate to a large portion of kind, beneficial deeds and charitable works. Dorothea Dix left an impact on the world through her efforts of sharing her teachings with others, the treatment and care of the mentally ill, and with her nursing in the Union army.
When Dix was at the young age of fourteen in 1821, through the encouragement of her family, she created an academy for wealthy adolescent children. In order to make her teaching even more privileged, Dix studied astronomy, mineralogy, and the natural sciences for two years (Buckmaster 5). Once her first school took off, she created another. The second school that Dix conducted was for poor children who could not afford to go to anywhere else. Because of her strict ways of teaching and her passion for her work, both of Dix’s schools became very popular and victorious (“Dorothea Lynde Dix”, Encyclopedia of World Biography). Her ways of teaching helped many students benefit intellectually. When Dix’s poor health became distracting to her instructional career, she was forced to take breaks from teaching. During these breaks, Dix spent her time writing books (“Dorothea Lynde Dix”, History.com).
Since Dix began finding it tough to teach, due to her health issues, she started to write books in the mid-1820s. Her books consisted of her own morals and basic principles. These reads were written to edify the minds of adolescents, and they did just that. Dix’s words sold widely and quickly, benefitting those who read them with Dix’s slightly superior knowledge (“Dorothea Lynde Dix”, History.com).
In the 1830s, after Dix established her role as a phenomenal writer and likewise teacher, she volunteered to teach at Sunday school in the East Cambridge, Massachusetts jail. Upon visiting, Dix learned that the jail was imprisoning people of mental illness. When she explored a little more, it became very apparent to her that their conditions were deplorable (“Dorothea Lynde Dix”, Encyclopedia of World Biography). Dix, quite shocked, began to venture throughout Massachusetts to the jails, hospitals, workhouses, and almshouses. She indicatively recorded everything that she found with brutal honesty (“Dorothea Lynde Dix”, Encyclopedia of World Biography). Her extensive work paid off when she captured multiple witness-accounts of mental patients being mistreated and harmed (Stille 18).
Dix took it into her own hands to change the unregulated, chaotic conditions that the mentally ill inmates were being subjected to. Once Dix had found enough evidence to back up her requests, she presented her findings to the legislature of Massachusetts. She requested that “officials take action towards reform”...

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