Fighting for American Manhood

How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars
Hoganson, Kristin L.
Date published: 
November 1998

This groundbreaking book blends international relations and gender history to provide a new understanding of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. Kristin L. Hoganson shows how gendered ideas about citizenship and political leadership influenced jingoist political leaders' desire to wage these conflicts and she traces how they manipulated ideas about gender to embroil the nation in war. She argues that racial beliefs were only part of the cultural framework that undergirded U.S. martial policies at the turn of the century - gender beliefs also affected the rise and fall of the nation's imperialist impulse. Drawing on an extensive range of sources, Hoganson discusses how concerns about manhood affected debates over war and empire. She demonstrates that jingoist political leaders, distressed by the passing of the Civil War generation and by women's incursions into electoral politics, embraced war as an opportunity to promote a political vision in which soldiers were venerated as model citizens and women remained on the fringes of political life. These gender concerns have echoes in later time periods, says the author, and recognising their significance has powerful ramifications for the way we view international relations. Kristin L. Hoganson is Assistant Professor of History and of History and Literature at Harvard University.