World War I

When the United States joined its European allies and declared war against Germany in 1917, the nation was experiencing profound social and economic transformations that challenged traditional understandings of manhood and generated new concepts of masculinity. In particular, urbanization and the growth of industrial capitalism had created a middle class that emphasized moral purity and self-control, while also prompting concerns that white-collar managerial and bureaucratic work had demasculinized men by removing them from physical labor. Growing immigration and the influence of Darwinism, meanwhile, had left many middle-class men harboring racialized anxieties that white Anglo-Saxon manhood in the United States was being endangered by alien men perceived as physically and sexually hypermasculine. These changes led to the emergence of the ideals of Progressive manhood, with many ...

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