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Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930

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In this illuminating look at gender and Scouting in the United States, Benjamin Rene Jordan examines how in its founding and early rise, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) integrated traditional Victorian manhood with modern, corporate-industrial values and skills. While showing how the BSA Americanized the original British Scouting program, Jordan finds that the organization In this illuminating look at gender and Scouting in the United States, Benjamin Rene Jordan examines how in its founding and early rise, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) integrated traditional Victorian manhood with modern, corporate-industrial values and skills. While showing how the BSA Americanized the original British Scouting program, Jordan finds that the organization's community-based activities signaled a shift in men's social norms, away from rugged agricultural individualism or martial primitivism and toward productive employment in offices and factories, stressing scientific cooperation and a pragmatic approach to the responsibilities of citizenship. By examining the BSA's national reach and influence, Jordan demonstrates surprising ethnic diversity and religious inclusiveness in the organization's founding decades. For example, Scouting officials' preferred urban Catholic and Jewish working-class immigrants and "modernizable" African Americans and Native Americans over rural whites and other traditional farmers, who were seen as too "backward" to lead an increasingly urban-industrial society. In looking at the revered organization's past, Jordan finds that Scouting helped to broaden mainstream American manhood by modernizing traditional Victorian values to better suit a changing nation.


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In this illuminating look at gender and Scouting in the United States, Benjamin Rene Jordan examines how in its founding and early rise, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) integrated traditional Victorian manhood with modern, corporate-industrial values and skills. While showing how the BSA Americanized the original British Scouting program, Jordan finds that the organization In this illuminating look at gender and Scouting in the United States, Benjamin Rene Jordan examines how in its founding and early rise, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) integrated traditional Victorian manhood with modern, corporate-industrial values and skills. While showing how the BSA Americanized the original British Scouting program, Jordan finds that the organization's community-based activities signaled a shift in men's social norms, away from rugged agricultural individualism or martial primitivism and toward productive employment in offices and factories, stressing scientific cooperation and a pragmatic approach to the responsibilities of citizenship. By examining the BSA's national reach and influence, Jordan demonstrates surprising ethnic diversity and religious inclusiveness in the organization's founding decades. For example, Scouting officials' preferred urban Catholic and Jewish working-class immigrants and "modernizable" African Americans and Native Americans over rural whites and other traditional farmers, who were seen as too "backward" to lead an increasingly urban-industrial society. In looking at the revered organization's past, Jordan finds that Scouting helped to broaden mainstream American manhood by modernizing traditional Victorian values to better suit a changing nation.

22 review for Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America: Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esther Baar

    interesting (if at times a bit dense) read about the identity that the BSA constructed in the 1910s in response to diverse cultural anxieties related to the declining influence of white men... top-down history, where Jordan scrutinized the discourse/rhetoric of BSA leadership and placed it in a historical context.. attempts to bring in the Boy Scout POV by incorporating surveys and memoirs

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Invited review forthcoming in The Journal of Southern History.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Cook

    I read this book for my History of Gender, Women, and Sexuality course. Jordan explores how the Boy Scouts came along around the time when the standards for masculinity were transitioning from the hero artisan and the individual self-made man to the self-sufficient man and the corporate businessman/skilled laborer. The character traits they emphasized were a perfect fit for teaching skills and character traits for the modern man of the twentieth century. As a proud daughter, wife, sister, and mo I read this book for my History of Gender, Women, and Sexuality course. Jordan explores how the Boy Scouts came along around the time when the standards for masculinity were transitioning from the hero artisan and the individual self-made man to the self-sufficient man and the corporate businessman/skilled laborer. The character traits they emphasized were a perfect fit for teaching skills and character traits for the modern man of the twentieth century. As a proud daughter, wife, sister, and mother of Eagle Scouts, I really enjoyed this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dale Degirolamo

  5. 5 out of 5

    D Dalton

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Nash

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael- Berry

  8. 5 out of 5

    Denise Stacks

  9. 5 out of 5

    MaryAnn Venable

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Chitty

  11. 4 out of 5

    Theaardvark01

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Nickens

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Xavier

  14. 5 out of 5

    William C Wilson

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tabsira Archives

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mahrukh Ahmed

  17. 4 out of 5

    rêveur d'art

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phil Newman

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Rohn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nj

  21. 5 out of 5

    harrie kd

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Johnson

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