The Taming Of American ‘State Medicine’: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice In The Progressive Era

Lewis Grossman, LAPA Fellow; American University Washington College Of Law

Mon, 12/11/2017 - 4:30pm
301 Marx Hall
Event Category: 

LAPA’s seminar format assumes that seminar participants have familiarized themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator opens the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.

Abstract: "I will present a chapter from my forthcoming book, Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in American History and Law. The book explores struggles throughout our country’s history over whether people have a right to use their medical treatments of choice. The chapter we will discuss concerns successful efforts by proponents of therapeutic choice to limit federal health regulation during the Progressive Era. A series of U.S. Supreme Court cases—starting with the fascinating landmark opinion in American School of Magnetic Healing v. McAnnulty (1902)—severely constrained the government’s authority to regulate the efficacy of medical procedures and drugs. A group called the National League for Medical Freedom conducted a victorious campaign against a 1910 proposal to create a new National Department of Health. The medical freedom rhetoric used in these disputes continues to shape parallel debates today."

Lewis Grossman
LAPA Fellow
American University Washington College Of Law

Lewis A. Grossman specializes in the areas of food and drug law, health law, American legal history, and civil procedure.  His recent scholarship focuses on the role of patients, consumers, and social movements in food and drug law and medical practice regulation.  In 2015, he was a Visiting Professor of Law at Cornell Law School.  Professor Grossman has published widely and co-authored the text, Food and Drug Law: Cases and Materials (with Peter Barton Hutt and Richard A. Merrill). He has served as a member or consultant on three committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Prior to entering academia, he clerked for Chief Judge Abner Mikva of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced as a regulatory attorney at a Washington, D.C. law firm. Professor Grossman earned his Ph.D. in History from Yale University, where he was awarded the George Washington Egleston Historical Prize for best dissertation in the field of American history; his J.D. from Harvard Law School; and a B.A. from Yale University.  At LAPA, he will work on his book-in-progress, entitled Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in American Law and History.



Angela N. H. Creager
Thomas M. Siebel Professor in the History of Science;
Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center

Angela Creager studies the history of 20th-century biomedical research. Professor Creager graduated from Rice University with a double major in biochemistry and English (1985) and completed a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1991) at the University of California, Berkeley, where she developed an interest in the history of biology. Supported by postdoctoral awards, she retrained as a historian of science at Harvard University and MIT, and joined the Princeton History Department in 1994. Her first book, The Life of a Virus: Tobacco Mosaic Virus as an Experimental Model, 1930-1965 (2002), shows how a virus that attacks tobacco plants came to play a central role in the development of virology and molecular biology. Her second book, Life Atomic: A History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine (2013), traces how and why artificial radioisotopes were taken up by biologists and physicians, and examines the consequences for knowledge and radiation exposure. She is also the coeditor of three volumes, most recently Science without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives (2007). She currently directs the Shelby Cullom Davis Center on the theme "Risk and Fortune."