the common necessaries o lie, neglected to protect them, or right-ened them by a blustering manner o approach.But the most evenhanded treatment would not prevent all cases, and orthose whose illness was “without cause,” Cartwright had a prescription:“whipping the devil out o them.”Lest anyone doubt that drapetomania was a real disease—and, evi-dently, some Northern doctors did—Cartwright oered proo. First o all, he said, we know that Negroes are descended rom the people o Canaan, a name that means “submissive knee-bender,” so it’s clear whatGod had in mind or the race. And in case a reader subscribed to thenotion, taught in the “northern hornbooks in Medicine,” that “the Ne-gro is only a lampblacked white man . . . requiring nothing but liberty and equality—social and political—to wash him white,” Cartwrightcalled as witnesses the prominent European doctors who had “demon-strated, by dissection, so great a dierence between the Negro and thewhite man as to induce the majority o naturalists to reer him to a di-erent species.” Aricans’ blood was darker, he said, and “the mem-branes, tendons, and aponeuroses, so brilliantly white in the Caucasianrace, have a livid cloudiness in the Arican.” Tis historical and biologi-cal evidence, Cartwright concluded, proved that running away is nei-ther willulness nor the normal human striving or reedom, but illnessplain and simple.Drapetomania was never considered or the
Diagnostic and Statisti‑cal Manual o Mental Disorders
American Psychiatric Association’scompendium o mental illnesses, but that may be only because therewas no such book in 1850. (Indeed, the Association o Superintendentso American Institutions or the Insane, the organization that eventu-ally became the APA, was only six years old at the time, and the word
had just come into use.) Certainly it met many o the criteriaor inclusion. It was a condition that caused distress or a certain groupo people. It had a known and predictable onset, course, and outcome.