A Republic of Men: The American Founders, Gendered Language, by Mark E. Kann

By Mark E. Kann

What function did manhood play in early American Politics? In A Republic of Men, Mark E. Kann argues that the yank founders aspired to create a "republic of fellows" yet feared that "disorderly males" threatened its start, healthiness, and toughness. Kann demonstrates how hegemonic norms of manhood–exemplified by way of "the family members Man," for instance--were deployed as a way of stigmatizing unworthy males, lucrative in charge males with citizenship, and empowering unprecedented males with positions of management and authority, whereas aside from ladies from public life.

Kann means that the founders devoted themselves in idea to the democratic proposition that each one males have been created unfastened and equivalent and will no longer be ruled with out their very own consent, yet that they under no circumstances believed that "all males" should be relied on with equivalent liberty, equivalent citizenship, or equivalent authority. The founders built a "grammar of manhood" to handle a few tricky questions on public order. have been America's disorderly males certified for citizenship? have been they prone to realize manly leaders, consent to their authority, and defer to their knowledge? A Republic of Men compellingly analyzes the ways that the founders used a rhetoric of manhood to stabilize American politics.

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Additional info for A Republic of Men: The American Founders, Gendered Language, and Patriarchal Politics

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Seventeenth-century Englishmen idealized male fecundity. 5 The American founders reaffirmed myths of male procreativity each time they invoked the state of nature to justify their claims to liberty. Reflecting the misogynist fantasies of Thomas Jefferson and Joel Barlow as well as Richard Ames, they constructed all-male states of nature which assumed that men could reproduce the species without women. John Leland was unusual because he was explicit. His state of nature began, “Suppose a man to remove to a desolate island and take a peaceable possession of it.

Historical possibilities for democratizing family life did not translate into enhanced prospects for political equality. Women were mostly eliminated from political discourse and politics—but they were not forgotten. Some founders sensed that women’s exclusion fortified fraternal unity among otherwise disorderly males. Carole Pateman explains that men’s monopoly of citizenship and leadership provided them “a common interest as men” in sharing power over women. Meanwhile, most founders believed that men were more apt to defend liberty and exercise it with self-restraint when courting, betrothed, or wed to respectable women.

43 Often, Americans defined manhood in opposition to boyhood. A mature man was a self-supporting adult who defended liberty, fulfilled family responsibilities, and governed women. His opposite was the “boy,” “libertine,” The Culture of Manhood |  or “bachelor of age” who was lustful, impulsive, and avaricious rather than disciplined; self-centered instead of family-oriented; and socially destructive, not politically constructive. This contrast was standard fare in political discourse. ”44 The idiom of male rivalry was potent because Americans believed that a “man” deserved the rights of men, but a “boy” needed to be governed.

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