The Past Is Another Country
And you don't have to spend much time reading through books about early America to realize how different it was. I was reading James W. North, The History of Augusta, From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time… (Augusta, Me.: Clapp & North, 1870), and I found an account at pp. 493-5 of a Henry McCausland who became insane in 1793, with religious delusions. He became convinced that he needed to beg God's pardon with a burnt offering and a human sacrifice. So he burnt down a church, and stabbed a woman to death. He pleaded guilty at trial, but was found not guilty reason of insanity. He then the next thirty-six years in jail (until his death), where he became a tourist attraction. Thousands came to look at him, and hear him tell the tale of how he killed a “wicked woman” and burned down a church. Admission fees helped to cover his costs of confinement.