Fighting for American Manhood
Kristin Hoganson has a very interesting idea, which she defends very well with a lot of evidence. Hoganson argues that gender politics played a major role in forcing American into the Spanish American and Philippine wars. She makes many great points throughout her book, Fighting for American Manhood, which perfectly back up her main argument.
Hoganson believes that the majority of America felt a need to be masculine. They could not back down from a fight. America, as a whole, was too proud of a nation. These views that the public, and many politicians, expressed led to McKinley declaring war and fighting back for the Maine explosion. McKinley wanted to avoid going to war but the Jingoes were too large a group and eventually McKinley had no choice. They argued that allowing the Maine explosion to happen without punishment would make a joke out of America. We had to fight to show our authority. America needed to show that it was an honorable nation that would not back down, that it would come together and take action. People did not just say that America needs to show off its manhood, they were even attacking McKinley’s manhood. Hoganson’s best evidence for her argument is in the political cartoons that she includes throughout the book. They show the views of the people at the time. An example would be the one where Uncle Sam is holding McKinley up and telling him all he needs is a backbone. All of these cartoons help back up Hoganson’s thesis. These were drawn by people who experienced first hand what America was going through. As for the Philippine –American war, Hoganson shows very well how manliness came into play. First of all, our war with the Spanish is what originally got us involved with the Philippines. Hoganson argues that Americans viewed the Philippine people as unmanly. This allowed them to say it was right for the United States to control them. Americans said they were “lacking the manly character seen as...
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