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New MenManliness in Early America$
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Thomas A. Foster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814727805

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814727805.001.0001

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Gentlemen and Soldiers

Gentlemen and Soldiers

Competing Visions of Manhood in Early Jamestown

(p.9) 1 Gentlemen and Soldiers
New Men

John Gilbert Mccurdy

NYU Press

On May 14, 1607, 104 men and boys landed on a small peninsula in the Chesapeake and established Jamestown. The colonists sailed not for themselves but for the Virginia Company, whose shareholders were financing this foray into the New World. The colony was established as a military outpost. The Virginia Company purposely outfitted the early colony like an army unit due to concerns over the extraction of resources and fears of a hostile native population. At the moment when Jamestown was settled, the English military was undergoing a profound transition. Dubbed the “military revolution” by scholars, the change reordered the weapons, organization, and ideas of war. The constructions of manhood in early Jamestown reflected these changing ideas. This chapter explores how conflicting ideas of manhood arising from changes in the military led to conflict among the settlers. It argues that Anglo-American masculinity was being defined on the ground at the same time that definitions of masculinity were threatening the cohesion of the fledgling colony.

Keywords:   English colonists, manhood, masculinity, Jamestown, early America, Virginia Company, gender, English colony, English military, military revolution

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