In the United States politics has traditionally been the province of men. The public sphere of politics has historically been conceived in opposition to the private (and feminine) sphere of the home, and it is one of the central arenas in which American masculinity has been experienced and enacted. From the early colonial settlers to the most recent immigrants of the late twentieth century, engaging in political activity has been a way of becoming a man. However, the gradual emancipation and enfranchisement of women, alongside the inexorable democratization of access to political office, has transformed American politics over the centuries from a privileged bastion of wealthy white men to a far more complex arena in which many models of manhood—and womanhood—compete.

The Colonial Era

In the ...

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