Democratic Manhood

Between 1815 and the 1840s, a concept of democratic manhood emerged in the United States, marking a conscious rejection of European (especially British) notions of ascribed social status. Strongly associated with Democratic president Andrew Jackson, democratic manhood was defined as political equality and broadened political participation among white men—and by the exclusion of women and nonwhites from the privileges of citizenship. It emphasized physical prowess and boisterous patriotism, expressed by the popularity of such frontiersmen as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Furthermore, the concept informed a developing urban counterculture that resisted the aristocratic pretensions and bourgeois morality of an emerging middle class.

Several developments of the early to mid–nineteenth century contributed to the emergence of democratic manhood. First, urbanization and industrialization drew increasing numbers of transient ...

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