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New Men Manliness in Early America by Mary Beth Norton, Toby L. Ditz


New Men Manliness in Early America by Mary Beth Norton, Toby L. Ditz

In 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur wrote, What then, is the American, this new man? He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced. In casting aside their European mores, these pioneers, de Crevecoeur implied, were the very embodiment of a new culture, society, economy, and political system. But to what extent did manliness shape early America's character and institutions? And what roles did race, ethnicity, and class play in forming masculinity? Thomas A. Foster and his contributors grapple with these questions in New Men, showcasing how colonial and Revolutionary conditions gave rise to new standards of British American manliness. Focusing on Indian, African, and European masculinities in British America from earliest Jamestown through the Revolutionary era, and addressing such topics that range from slavery to philanthropy, and from satire to warfare, the essays in this anthology collectively demonstrate how the economic, political, social, cultural, and religious conditions of early America shaped and were shaped by ideals of masculinity. Contributors: Susan Abram, Tyler Boulware, Kathleen Brown, Trevor Burnard, Toby L. Ditz, Carolyn Eastman, Benjamin Irvin, Janet Moore Lindman, John Gilbert McCurdy, Mary Beth Norton, Ann Marie Plane, Jessica Choppin Roney, and Natalie A. Zacek.


With New Men, Foster ushers in a new era in masculinity studies. Both historically precise and analytically astute, these essays provide multiple meditations on masculinity before the birth of the nation.

-Michael Kimmel,author of Manhood in America In this collection of essays, the editor seeks to answer to what extent manliness in early America shaped the nation's character and institutions and what roles race, ethnicity, and class played in forming masculinity. -Steve Goddard's History Wire, The essays published here provide fresh perspectives on time-honored topics from the settlement of Jamestown to revolutionary political rhetoric along with provocative insights from new topics such as dreams, desire, and dangerous men in the early modern world. Some essays will provoke wonderful classroom discussions, while others offer important points of departure for future scholarship. All of them are worth reading.

-Anne Lombard,author of Making Manhood: Growing Up Male in Early New England In lucid prose, the contributors map the contours of early American manhood from first encounters through the Revolution, and from the marriage bed to the battlefield. The results demonstrate the continuing vitality of gender as a category of analysis as well as the fascinating, sometimes terrifying dynamism of the colonial Atlantic world.

-Jane Kamensky,Harry S. Truman Professor of American Civilization, Brandeis University These essays show the diverse approaches to masculinity studies...a welcome addition to early American social, cultural, and gender scholarship.

-The Journal of American History New Men brings to life the many ways by which gender shaped early American relationships, interracial encounters, and political authority. -Mark. E. Kann,The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society This impressive collection of essays is one of the best books in print on the history of manliness. It covers a broad range of times, places and topics, and it does so at a consistently high level of interest and insight. As a result, New Men will make a great choice for courses on masculinity or early America.

-E. Anthony Rotundo,author of American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era New Men: Manliness in Early America, a collection of essays edited by Thomas A. Foster, examines various conceptions of masculinity from the founding of Jamestown in the early seventeenth century through the American Revolution. Indeed, Foster stresses the impossibility of identifying a single gendered American masculinity given its contingent relationship to status, race, sexuality, and regional identity. Accordingly, the dozens of essays in New Men range in time and place in order to 'address the variety of standards and ideals of manliness in early America and highlight the breadth of differences among them

. -Carl Robert Keyes,Early American Literature

About the Author

Thomas A. Foster is Professor of History at DePaul University, in Chicago, and author of Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America, and Sex and the Founding Fathers: The American Quest for a Relatable Past. He is also editor of Long Before Stonewall: Histories of Same-Sex Sexuality (NYU Press, 2007), New Men: Manliness in Early America (NYU Press, 2011), and Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America. Foster tweets at @ThomasAFoster.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th January 2011


Mary Beth Norton, Toby L. Ditz

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New York University Press


292 pages


History of the Americas



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