This chapter sketches one historian's view of the relationship between medical history and bioethics. Some of the most exciting work in medical history today focuses on the changing cultural construction or framing of disease. Feminist historians and historians of mental illness pioneered such studies, but many others now argue that history reveals the value-laden nature of all disease categories. Practitioners' histories of bioethics promote and display the maturation of the field as an autonomous, self-defining, self-reflective discipline, whereas nonpractitioners emphasize that the discipline was shaped by larger social forces and that it often ironically depended on medical power. Modern bioethicists use history to demonstrate the newness of their approach to medical ethics in contrast with the long tradition of doctor-dominated medical ethics before 1960. Even more fundamental than the internal-external distinction is the difference between past and present goals for studying the history of medical ethics.