By K. Kippola

Exploring the functionality of masculinity off and on the nineteenth-century American degree, this e-book appears on the shift from the passionate muscularity to highbrow restraint as no longer a linear trip towards nationwide refinement; but a multitude of masculinities battling concurrently for dominance and popularity.

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Extra info for Acts of Manhood: The Performance of Masculinity on the American Stage, 1828–1865

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All legislation, all government, all society is founded upon the principle of mutual concession, politeness, comity, courtesy; upon these everything is based. . ”37 32 Acts of Manhood Clay, “The Great Compromiser,” exerted significant political influence on key issues—as a “War Hawk” encouraging America into the War of 1812, as creator of the “American System” that supported manufacturing, and as principal player in the Missouri Compromise, the nullification crisis, and the Compromise of 1850.

Not all people, of course, delighted in Beecher’s powers of persuasion and the overtly performative nature of his religious character. Sinclair Lewis posthumously crowned him “a combination of St. ”68 The theatricalization and commodification of social improvement suggests a connection to the temperance dramas that were so popular midcentury. Dramatic, moral allegories like William H. Smith’s The Drunkard; or, The Fallen Saved (1844) and William W. Pratt’s Ten Nights in a Barroom (1858) presented fallen heroes who had returned to sobriety and social respectability.

Neither Macready, Garrick, nor Jenny Lind, nor Rachel, nor Gough, nor Clay, nor Choate has done it. 66 Imagine Fowler’s amazement if he had known that this passionate following would continued unabated for another 30 years. Melding dramatic genius, melodious voice, and popular eloquence—not to mention humble economic beginnings and a nonthreatening Gospel of Love—created a seductive masculine attraction. Comparing Beecher’s “star power,” not only to the principal speakers of his time but also to the greatest actors, acknowledges his overpowering charisma in (and as) performance.

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