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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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Of Eloquence “Manly” and “Monstrous”

Of Eloquence “Manly” and “Monstrous”

The Henpecked Husband in Revolutionary Political Debate, 1774–1775

(p.195) 10 Of Eloquence “Manly” and “Monstrous”
New Men

Benjamin H. Irvin

NYU Press

This chapter examines the figure of the henpecked husband in two satirical publications. The first is A Dialogue Between a Southern Delegate and His Spouse on His Return from the Grand Continental Congress—a romping verse printed as an octavo pamphlet in the late fall of 1774, presumably by the New York newspaperman James Rivington—which invited readers to eavesdrop on one congressman's querulous homecoming. The second is “Arabella's Complaint of the Congress,” a short letter published in the Pennsylvania Magazine, or American Monthly Museum in September 1775, which artfully utilized henpeckery to promote the cause of liberty. Both publications help to illuminate the mobilizing power of gender in political debate—that is, the power of gendered rhetoric to rally individuals in support of, or in opposition to, political leaders and their platforms, in this case the Continental Congress and its Articles of Association.

Keywords:   masculinity, manliness, henpecked husband, satire, political debate, gender, Continental Congress

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