LCP Fireside Chats Logo

Fireside Chat: Liberty and Insanity in the Age of the American Revolution (Sarah L. Swedberg)

In Liberty and Insanity in the Age of the American Revolution, Sarah L. Swedberg examines how conceptions of mental illness intersected with American society, law, and politics during the early American Republic. Swedberg illustrates how concerns about insanity raised difficult questions about the nature of governance. Revolutionaries built the American government based on rational principles, but could not protect it from irrational actors that they feared could cause the body politic to grow mentally or physically ill. This book is recommended for students and scholars of history, political science, legal studies, sociology, literature, psychology, and public health.

Sarah Swedberg is a Professor of History at Colorado Mesa University where she has taught since 1999. She is a regular writer for Nursing Clio. Her book, Liberty and Insanity in the Age of the American Revolution (Lexington, 2020) began with a 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Professors on the problem of governance in the early American Republic houses at the Library Company.

Talking in the Library will serve as an audio platform for researchers to share the incredible work they’re pursuing using the rich collections at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Talking in the Library is hosted by Will Fenton, the Director of Scholarly Innovation, and produced by Ann McShane, the Project Digital Asset Librarian at Emory University.

Logo design by Nicole Graham. Theme music by Krestovsky (“Terrible Art”).

Talking in the Library is also available on these platforms: