The New Militia: War, Politics and Gender in 1750s Britain

TitleThe New Militia: War, Politics and Gender in 1750s Britain
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMcCormack, Matthew
JournalGender & History
Date Published07/2007

This article explores the role of gender in the debates around the creation of a ‘New Militia’ at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. The humiliating military defeats of 1756 had precipitated a cultural crisis that focused upon gender distinctions, as the ‘effeminacy’ of men and the ‘boldness’ of women threatened to collapse the social order. In this context, militia service was presented as a cure for the nation's moral, social, political and sexual ills. This article therefore examines a range of textual and visual sources in order to suggest that certain mid-Georgian political worldviews were fundamentally gendered, since they were predicated upon martial masculine virtues of the citizenry.

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