The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy

By Mark E. Kann | Go to book overview
other gentlemen's sons) into social relationships and employment opportunities that were advantageous to privileged young men's economic, social, and political prospects.The founders did not provide gentlewomen access to citizenship status or leadership positions. They held out to white family men the promise of weak citizenship and government by gentleman legislators. They opened avenues of political opportunity to talented young white males but they also continued to privilege their own sons by networking them into the gentleman elite and giving them exceptional access to the nation's power brokers and positions of political power.
CONCLUSION
The founders supported weak citizenship and gentleman legislators for the following reasons.
1. Family men could be trusted with citizenship because they would defend liberty, devote themselves to the public good, obey laws, and trust other family men who served as leaders.
2. However, family men were prone to lapse from orderly behavior. At best, they merited a weak citizenship limited mainly to military service and voting for representatives.
3. Public officials were expected to come from the ranks of gentlemen who excelled at the manly independence necessary for leadership and the manly civility essential to ensuring order among citizens.
4. Every (male) citizen had an opportunity to rise into the ranks of gentleman legislators, but young men with elite family connections were privileged in the competition for social acceptance and political power.

Few founders imagined building a republic in which the majority of men ruled themselves; some founders fantasized about a republic ruled by a few heroic leaders; but most founders promoted among white family men a version of weak citizenship that limited participation and fostered obedience to gentleman legislators.

-134-

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The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction - Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers xi
  • PART ONE Remember the Ladies 1
  • CHAPTER 1 - Women's Exclusion from Politics 22
  • CHAPTER 2 - The Case for Women's Inclusion 45
  • CHAPTER 3 - The Doctrine of Republican Womanhood 64
  • PART TWO - The Ranks of Men 69
  • CHAPTER 4 - Disorderly Men 89
  • CHAPTER 5 - A Small Governing Elite 110
  • CHAPTER 6 - Weak Citizens and Gentleman Legislators 134
  • Conclusion - The Founder's Legacy 137
  • Chapter 7 - America's Gendered Politics 139
  • Notes 165
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 191
  • About the Author 195
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