600? BC Anaximandros is generally acknowledged to be the first on record to articulate a theory of evolution.
490-430 BC Empedocles explains evolution through survival of the fittest.
480-411 BC Protagoras Theorizes the idea that man is in essence a physical entity, with thought being somehow the result of physical processes, as opposed to the view of man as a spirit, divine and deathless.
1487 Malleus Maleficarius (Hammer of Witches) is published in Germany by two Dominican Monks, subverting the Christian humanitarian approach, and legitimizing and fueling the witch-hunt craze. The Pope, the King of Rome and the University of Colgne all approve the text. Many thousands are burned and otherwise executed throughout Europe as mentally ill and other undesirables are accused of being under the influence of the devil.
1676 A law is drafted concerning madmen in Massachusetts, ordering "selectmen" to care for such persons so they "doe not Damnify others."
1694 Massachusetts law drafted called "An Act for the Relief of Ideots and Distracted Persons." Such people, in the absence of families to care for them, became the responsibility of the community. The state had the authority to dispose of their property and make them work. By the end of the century, laws were adopted which allowed commitment to a house of correction any person considered dangerous to the "peace or safety of the good people."
1715-1780 Etienne de Condillac, French philosopher, reduces all knowledge to experience and all experience to sensation, thus reducing all perception to a physiological basis. This approach views psychology and philosophy as natural sciences. (Precursor to eugenics.)
1735 Carolus Linnaeus of Sweden (physician and botanist) classifies plant and animal life into genus and species and includes man in this Order, putting him under "primates" as "homo sapiens" and as an animal.
1744-1829 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposes a theory of organic evolution based on "inheritance of acquired characteristics" (structural changes due to environmental influences passed on to progeny). Suggests there is an inherent tendency in living things toward greater complexity.
1774 Under Leopolo of Tuscany, Italy, medical treatment for the insane becomes law.
1788 First law in the US for commitment of the insane, in New York.
1798 Thomas Malthus (English economist and historian) publishes An Essay on the Principal of Population wherein he theorizes that social unrest, crime, etc., are unavoidable because population will always exceed food production and that war, famine and disease exist to check population growth. He suggests that the "lower classes" refrain from breeding to solve this problem. (This lays groundwork for Eugenics.)