Reproduction, as both a biological and social function, has been a salient element in defining masculinity and the lives of men in the United States. For men, reproduction has represented the continuation of a genealogical line, the establishment of social position as a household head, the demonstration of virility through fertility, and the assumption of the role and responsibilities of fatherhood. Historically, American men have more consistently defined their identities apart from their reproductive capacities and accomplishments than women have. But with the rise, spread, and then decline of the traditional two-parent nuclear family in industrial and postindustrial America, both biological and social reproduction have come to play more central roles in defining masculinity.

Reproduction in the Colonies: 1640–1800

Reproduction in the colonial and early post-Revolutionary ...

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