A key element in the construction of gender identity throughout U.S. history has been the almost exclusive male monopoly on the role of warrior and soldier. This role grew from a belief in superior male physical strength, stamina, and courage that has deep roots in Western civilization. The forces that originally defined American culture established a strong tie between masculinity and military service in time of war and conflict.

Throughout American military history, government leaders and the military establishment have used this traditional notion of gender identity and obligations of male citizenship to persuade men to join the armed services and participate in the country's defense in wartime. This process has drawn large numbers of young men into uniform with minimal formal coercion. It has helped ...

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