Speech by William Crafts at the laying of the cornerstones for the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, July 1822

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In 1810, Colonel Samuel Farrow and Major William Crafts petitioned the South Carolina legislature to fund a lunatic asylum.  In 1821 the state government assumed responsibility for the state’s mentally ill and agreed to fund the asylum.  At the laying of the cornerstones, William Crafts gave this speech, which outlines the religious and political reasons for the building of an asylum, helping to show the relationship between the state government and the citizens of antebellum South Carolina. The asylum, designed by Robert Mills, was only the third mental health facility built in the United States.


Crafts, William.  Oration on the occasion of laying the corner stone of the Lunatic Asylum, at Columbia, S.C., July, 1822.  Charleston, S.C., 1822. Published Materials Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards and Literacy Elements:


A. Distinguish between past, present, and future time
B. Establish chronological order in constructing one’s own historical narratives
D. Create and interpret data on time lines
J. Demonstrate responsible citizenship within the school community and the local and national communities
L. Interpret calendars, time lines, maps, charts, tables, graphs, flow charts, diagrams, photographs, paintings, cartoons, architectural drawings, documents, letters, censuses, and other artifacts
Note: Although this document was originally posted as part of a lesson specifically designed to teach the above standard(s), other Social Studies Standards may apply.

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Lessons Using This Document:

Too Large to be a Lunatic Asylum: South Carolina’s Mental Health

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