By K. Kippola
Exploring the functionality of masculinity off and on the nineteenth-century American level, this publication seems to be on the shift from the passionate muscularity to highbrow restraint as now not a linear trip towards nationwide refinement; but a multitude of masculinities battling concurrently for dominance and popularity.
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Additional info for Acts of Manhood: The Performance of Masculinity on the American Stage, 1828–1865
60 Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), the most famous minister of the Great Awakening that peaked in the 1740s, represented the quintessential doctrine of punishment and retribution that dominated Puritan ideology. It provided an anchor for colonial America and demanded an inflexible moral code—with horrific, eternal damnation awaiting those who failed to live up to religious or societal expectations. After the Revolution, religion became increasingly sentimental and emotional as was reflected in the revival frenzies of the Second Great Awakening (beginning in the 1790s and continuing at least through the late 1830s).
Andre (1798) portrayed Washington as a staunch and inflexible defender of the nation’s honor: I likewise am A soldier; entrusted by my country. 48 Only showing emotion or uncertainty when alone, Dunlap’s Washington exuded a somewhat cold, forbidding presence in his unwavering resolve to execute the condemned titular British spy for his role in Benedict Arnold’s treasonous plan. Most dramatists of the early Republic focused entirely on citizenship as the ultimate goal of masculine behavior. Through the character of George Washington, Dunlap argued that no matter how charismatic or compelling the individual, nothing was more important than the state.
32 The inflexible position established in Jackson’s concise and simple toast contrasted both in opinion and in mode of expression to Calhoun’s more nuanced appeal. Calhoun adjusted his political position on key issues, which included a change from championing a strong national government and protective tariffs to states’ rights, nullification, and free trade. ”33 When politically expedient, though, Calhoun moderated his proslavery stance: “I am no panegyrist of slavery. ”34 His skill in arguing both sides of these political extremes, which was necessitated by sectional tensions, suggested political expediency.