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Publication information
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Source: Developmental Pathology
Source type: book
Document type: essay
Document title: “Degeneracy and Political Assassination”
Author(s): Talbot, Eugene S.
Publisher:
none given
Place of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Year of publication:
1905
Pagination: 1-24 (excerpt below includes only pages 21-24)

 
Citation
Talbot, Eugene S. “Degeneracy and Political Assassination.” Developmental Pathology. Chicago: [n.p.], 1905: pp. 1-24.
 
Transcription
excerpt of essay
 
Keywords
Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (mental health); Leon Czolgosz (psychiatric examination: criticism); assassinations (comparison).
 
Named persons
Antoni Berezowski; Antonio Cánovas del Castillo; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Sante Geronimo Caserio [identified as Santos below]; Jacques Clément; Floyd S. Crego; Leon Czolgosz; Giuseppe Fieschi; Cayetano Galeote Cotilla; Charles J. Guiteau; Carter H. Harrison, Sr.; William McKinley; Karl Nobiling [misspelled below]; Patrick Eugene Prendergast; James W. Putnam; Edward A. Spitzka; Jean-Louis Verger; Victoria.
 
Notes
This essay is accompanied on page 22 by an enhanced photograph of Czolgosz (labeled “Fig. 22”).

This book features non-continuous pagination. Each of the facsimile reprints (previously published works by the author) retains its original pagination.

From page 1 of article: By Eugene S. Talbot, M.D., D.D.S., Fellow of the Chicago Academy of Medicine; Professor of Stomatology, Woman’s Medical Department, Northwestern University.

From title page: Eugene S. Talbot, M.S., D.D.S., M.D., LL.D., Professor of Stomatology, Illinois Medical College; Honorary President, Dental Section, Tenth (Berlin, 1890) and the Twelfth (Moscow, 1897) International Medical Congress; Honorary President Lewis and Clark Dental Congress, Portland, 1905; Vice-Pres. American Medical Association, 1906; Member of the Thirteenth (Paris, 1900) and the Fourteenth (Madrid, 1903) International Medical Congress; Honorary Secretary Pan-American Medical Congress, Washington, 1893, and Havana, 1901; Fellow of the Chicago Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Dental Science, Boston; Member of the Chicago Medical Society, Chicago Pathological Society, Chicago Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Secretary of the Section on Stomatology of the American Medical Association; Honorary Member of the Odontologischen Gesellschaft (Berlin), Association Generale des Dentistes des France, Sociedad Odontologia Espanola, and the Stomatological Society of Hungary; Corresponding Member of the Dansk-Tandlægeforening; Author of “Irregularities of the Teeth and Their Treatment,” “Chart Typical Forms of Constitutional Irregularities of the Teeth;” “Quiz Compend Irregularities of the Teeth;” “Etiology of Osseous Deformities of the Head, Face, Jaws, and Teeth;” “Degeneracy: Its Causes, Signs, and Results;” “Interstitial Gingivitis: or So-Called Pyorrhœa Alveolaris,” Etc.
 
Document

 

Degeneracy and Political Assassination [excerpt]

     Czolgosz (Fig. 22), the assassin of President McKinley, was the son of a Polish laborer imported under contract, born in Michigan and educated in a Polish Catholic school until the age of six. At this age he was taken from school, put to work in a foundry, and forced by his stepmother to cook his meals. The utmost efforts of government detectives do not show any violation of major or minor morality until the assassination. He was a worker in the mills of the steel trust, and lost his place through one of the mills being shut up by the trust to limit production. During the campaign of 1896 he supported the doctrine of protection as an [21][22] expression of state socialism. He accepted the statement that the mills would be opened on the election of McKinley in good faith. During 1900 he became affiliated with the extreme state socialists. While studying anarchistic literature and proclaiming himself an anarchist, he still retained a belief in state socialism. He made a demand upon McKiuley for work, which he says was refused. According to the statements made to Drs. Putnam and Crego, he had always enjoyed good health. This, however, is no evidence pro or con the existence of mental disorder based on cerebral deformities. Indeed, paranoiacs and degenerates are often not only noted for their good health, but many of them for longevity. The crime bears no evidence of mental disorder on the one hand, nor is it contradictory thereto on the other. A Pole trained in Polish history in schools where American doctrines were not taught might have committed just such a crime. As a product of the man’s environment, it would not have the morbid significance the like crimes have among the English and the American of the Northern United States. While the brain has been pronounced healthy, still it is a significant fact that no microscopic examination worthy the name has been made. It is admitted by E. A. Spitzka that the brain presented anomalies. The trial was purely formal. The prisoner’s attorneys, yielding to popular prejudice against their client, did not secure the delay which a case of such importance required. As in the Prendergast case, the warden of the prison pandered to superstitions anent the dead and refused to allow the removal of the brain for microscopic study.
     The best attainable photograph of the assassin reveals suggestive stigmata. A line drawn through the face at the median line reveals marked lateal asymmetry. The left ear is considerably higher than the right. The left eye is higher and larger than the right. There [22][23] is decided difference between the size and shape of the two orbits. The left is large, round, and full; the right is small, with the outer angle much contracted. The inner border of the eyelid drops considerably. The most marked asymmetry occurs in the cheek bones; the left is much larger and more prominent than the right. The lower part of the face is fairly normal. The skull has kephalonoid tendencies.
     The examination of his mental condition was simply negative and valueless for scientific purposes. It is perfectly easy to destroy all expressions of insanity by arousing suspicion. Sane or insane, Czolgosz, suspicious of all legal procedures, would be an exceedingly difficult subject with which to deal. The course of the court in refusing to accept his plea of guilty and forcing him to accept counsel is justifiable only on the ground of assumed insanity. There is no reason to believe him insane, but the logic employed to prove his sanity was not altogether scientific.
     The first feature that strikes one on analysis of these cases is that with the exception of Clement, Guiteau, and possibly but not certainly Fieschi, the moral imbecile element is not specially prominent. In both Clement and Guiteau the salacity vicaration of religion was evident. Both displayed a tendency to confidence operations. In the others, the conception leading to the assassination was, except in the case of the English assailants of Queen Victoria, altruistic in nature. The notoriety element which is so prominent in puberty lunatics was especially dominant in the English cases, and to a certain extent in Guiteau. The use of a socialistic cry to cover other designs was evident not only in the case of Nobeling, but also in the case of Berezowski, who shot at the Czar during the 1867 Exposition. In both cases Polish projects rather than socialism was the inspiration. In Verger and Galeote religious reform within the church was attempted by devout though insane priests. They, however, had forgotten their oath of obedience to constituted authorities. In the case of the assassin of Canovas, a desire to end illegal methods employed against anarchists prompted the crime. The assassination of Carter Harrison forced track elevation to the front, and thus indirectly saved many lives.
     The frequency of facial asymmetry and allied arrests of development among assassins whose crimes seem the direct outcome of their environment, and hence not abnormal, is rather striking. This is peculiarly impressive in the case of Fieschi, whose crime from his training in Corsica would seem perfectly justifiable. The frequency of kephalonic and allied types of skull is also rather striking when [23][24] the fact is remembered that this is often due to healed hydrocephalus. The claim that the insane do not have accomplices is shown to be erroneous; indeed, the existence of the clinical type, transformed insanity, negatives this claim. The uselessness of capital punishment as a deterrent is evident in the fact that the assassination of Carnot was followed by several other anarchistic attempts despite the execution of Santos in the teeth of the evidence of his insanity.

 

 


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