Trial of the Assassin Guiteau by Charles E. Rosenberg
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Trial of the Assassin Guiteau
By Charles E. Rosenberg

The Trial of the Assassin Guiteau

Psychiatry and the Law in the Gilded Age New edition

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Format: Paperback

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Trial of the Assassin Guiteau by Charles E. Rosenberg

Book Description

This study uses the celebrated American trial of Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President James A. Garfield in 1881, to explore attitudes towards insanity and criminal responsibility in the the late-19th century. The author reconstructs the courtroom battle waged by 24 expert witnesses who represented the two major schools of psychiatric thought of the generation immediately preceding Freud. Although the role of genetics in behaviour was widely accepted, these psychiatrists debated whether heredity had predisposed Guiteau to assassinate Garfield. Rosenberg's account allows the reader to consider one of the earliest cases in the controversy over the criminal responsibility of the insane, a debate that has continued through to modern times.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226727172
ISBN-10: 0226727173
Format: Paperback
(220mm x 150mm x 18mm)
Pages: 290
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 16-Apr-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Charles E. Rosenberg

Short History of Medicine by Charles E. Rosenberg Short History of Medicine, Paperback (April 2016)

A new bibliographic essay by Lisa Haushofer explores recent scholarship in the history of medicine.

Our Present Complaint by Charles E. Rosenberg Our Present Complaint, Paperback (January 2008)

At a time when clinical care and biomedical research generate as much angst as they offer cures, this volume provides valuable insight into how the practice of medicine has evolved, where it is going, and how lessons from history can improve its prognosis.

Spreading Germs by Charles E. Rosenberg Spreading Germs, Paperback (December 2006)

Spreading Germs discusses how modern ideas on the bacterial causes diseases were constructed and spread within the British medical profession.

Bilharzia by Charles E. Rosenberg Bilharzia, Paperback (December 2003)

Professor Farley describes how governments and organizations faced one particular tropical disease, bilharzia or schistosomiasis.

» View all books by Charles E. Rosenberg

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » The trial of Charles Julius Guiteau for the murder of President Garfield in 1881 is today almost forgotten. In this carefully documented book, subtitled Psychiatry and Law in the Gilded Age, a medical historian writes of crime and trial, and contrasts American psychiatry of the time with today's ideas. The murder stemmed from a split in the Republican party which the president, Garfield, a stout, bearded nonentity of "average probity" was unable to heal. Guiteau, his assassin, a fanatical Republican, believed that God wanted him to reunite the Republicans by killing Garfield, which he did on July 2, 1881, shooting the president in the back in a Washington railway station: surrendering at once, he declared he had committed no crime as his action was dictated by God. On September 19 Garfield died. Guiteau, termed a monster of vice, would today be considered a paranoid schizophrenic and never brought to trial, but in 1881 the country demanded that he hang and the Washington district attorney was happy to oblige. The trial turned into a tourist attraction. Witnesses for the prosecution, insane asylum super-intendents, quoted the "McNaughten Rule" as proof of Guiteau's sanity and guilt; doctors of a new school called "neurologists" testified that as a victim of heredity insanity Guiteau was insane and without "criminal responsibility." With this statement Guiteau, his own assistant counsel, disagreed violently, contending that he was sane and guided only by God, lecturing everyone and disrupting the proceedings.... A solid, factual book, primarily for doctors, medical and legal historians, rather than the average reader and fully substantiated with notes and index. (Kirkus Reviews)


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