Manhood and the US Republican Empire

TitleManhood and the US Republican Empire
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDitz, Toby L.
EditorHartigan-O'Connor, Ellen, and Lisa G. Materson
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of American Women's and Gender History
PublisherOxford University Press

This chapter shows how republican and imperial grammars of manhood defined boundaries of civic and political inclusion in three areas of United States law and policy: the military, land and labor, and immigration. In each, specific models of labor, marriage, and domestic life defined manliness, conferring full privileges of citizenship on some men but denying it to others. Even as they generated racial and class distinctions, grammars of manhood also created openings for challenges by subordinate and marginal men. These dynamics included bids to create an egalitarian interracial republic followed by racist backlash, competition between yeoman ideals and liberal political economy’s manly wage-earning domestic provider, and alternative marriage practices among immigrants and their policing—all in the context of the nation’s colonial past, its aggressive territorial expansionism, and patterns of global labor migration shared with other former slave-based regimes.

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