In the years following the American Revolution, independent artisans embodied the ideal of virtuous, republican manhood. By the nineteenth century, however, the market revolution and industrialization made it increasingly unlikely that a craftsman could become a property-owning artisan. Although artisanal manhood remained a prominent ideal in American culture throughout the nineteenth century, it faded during the twentieth century as manhood ceased to be defined by the combination of skilled labor, control of production, and property ownership.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, artisanal manhood was embodied in the daily process of work itself, which reinforced the association between craftsmanship, property ownership, production, manual labor, and self-control. As property owners, artisans labored with their own tools in their own shops, which were usually located on ...

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