Over the last two centuries, learning disability has become an organizing concept that has radically transformed our sense of what it means to be – or not to be – a person. This chapter employs a historiographic methodology to explore a metanarrative which is so powerful and pervasive that it envelops people both with and without learning disabilities. The authors draw on archival evidence, their own perspectives, and those of learning-disabled co-researchers to illuminate three tropes which persist through the metanarrative: that people with learning disabilities are vulnerable, unworthy, and in need of control.