Throughout U.S. history, war has carried a special meaning for the status of men in American society. Wartime military service has long been regarded both as an obligation of male citizenship and as a rite of passage to manhood. Wartime emergencies have also created opportunities for social and cultural change, and have frequently threatened basic assumptions concerning gender, race, and class, but cultural myths defining war as a white masculine undertaking have historically served to limit opportunities for minorities and to preserve gender distinctions by prescribing different wartime duties for men and women. Historically, men have been expected to protect their women, homes, and families through military service, while women have had indirect roles, such as maintaining homes and raising and supporting strong men. Instances ...

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