IV. The Rise of the Institutions 1800 - 1950 B. 1850 - 1880: Make the Deviant Undeviant
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Grubb 1857
Grubb, an inmate at the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children, ca. 1857

Also during this time, the U.S. Government made its first attempt to determine the number of persons with intellectual deficiency. Although these efforts may have been flawed by confusing mental illness with intellectual deficiency, there was a reported increase in the number of persons with disabilities during the 19th century:

Census Results for Mental Retardation

1850 15,706 .07%
1860 18,865 .06%
1870 24,527 .06%
1880 76,895 .15%
1890 95,571 .15%

Some believed that this increase was due to the large number of "defective" immigrants, and argued for the construction of more and larger institutions. However, there was a significant rise in the entire U.S. population during this time.