Masculinity, Race and Citizenship: Soldiers' Memories of the American Revolution

TitleMasculinity, Race and Citizenship: Soldiers' Memories of the American Revolution
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsKnouff, Gregory T.
EditorHagemann, Karen, Gisela Mettele, and Jane Rendall
Book TitleGender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK; New York

This chapter explores the interrelationsship of masculinity, race and citizenship in soldiers memories of the American Revolutionary Wars (1775-83). In the aftermath of the American Revolution, two divergent memories of the conflict developed among its North American veterans. Loyalist and Revolutionary soldiers created recollections that revealed distinctive concepts of political manhood emerging among them. Revolutionary veterans told stories in their nineteenth-century pension applications that emphasized their identity as politically empowered white men. This image related to the steady post-Revolutionary progression towards universal white-male suffrage and the formation of an ideology that linked white-male status with citizenship in the United States. As eligibility for citizenship expanded, Revolutionary veterans created democratized recollections. Additionally, they remembered their military service in ways that emphasized their roles as white prosecutors of race war against Native Americans. Such memories paralleled popular notions of independent, democratic white-male citizenship in the early United States.

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