By K. Kippola
Exploring the functionality of masculinity off and on the nineteenth-century American level, this booklet appears on the shift from the passionate muscularity to highbrow restraint as no longer a linear trip towards nationwide refinement; but a multitude of masculinities battling concurrently for dominance and popularity.
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Additional resources for Acts of Manhood: The Performance of Masculinity on the American Stage, 1828–1865
Although patriots of the revolution may have preferred acting to talking, the words they used to establish their independence and their unique identity influenced the newly American man. In his study of eighteenthcentury rhetoric, Jay Fliegelman examines the implementation of vernacular speech: Preoccupied with the spectacle of sincerity and an intensified scrutiny of the body as an instrument of expression, the quest for a natural language led paradoxically to a greater theatricalization of public speaking, to a new social dramaturgy, and to a performative understanding of selfhood.
Rivals could ape superficial physical and vocal traits but not the passion, charisma, and (at least perceived) flashes of inspiration that attracted public devotion. JACKSONIAN ALTERNATIVES: COMPETING MASCULINITIES OF THE GREAT TRIUMVIRATE As the viability of Adams’s masculine model faded, political performers and audiences in (political or philosophical) opposition to Jackson adjusted their behavior and expectations to find alternative manly possibilities. The Great Triumvirate of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C.
In his first inaugural address, Lincoln’s conciliatory tone absolved men of the South from responsibility for the seemingly inevitable conflict, placing blame on events and institutions rather than on individuals: We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. 55 In comparison to Clay’s earlier quoted plea for compromise, Lincoln’s straightforward brevity combined with an affecting plea communicated a similar message, but Lincoln appealed more than Clay both to logic and to emotion.