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Cow Boys and Cattle MenClass and Masculinities on the Texas Frontier, 1865-1900$
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Jacqueline M. Moore

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814757390

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814757390.001.0001

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The West, the Man, and the Myth

(p.1) Introduction
Cow Boys and Cattle Men

Jacqueline M. Moore

NYU Press

This introductory chapter describes the interplay of masculinity, myth, and manhood in the figure of the cowboy—and their more genteel counterparts, the cattlemen. The iconic cowboy is independent; free to go where he wants, when he wants; and answers to no man but himself. The early Texas cattlemen, particularly the so-called Cattle Kings, on the other hand, have also earned a somewhat iconic status as the down-to-earth builders of Texas. The language that cowboys, cattlemen, and townspeople used makes it clear that they saw the differences between them partly in terms of manhood. A cowboy was always a boy; a cattleman was always a man. Real men restrained themselves, boys acted without restraint. These contrasting ideas of proper manly behavior correspond with the differing ideals of manliness that middle- and working-class men have historically described for themselves.

Keywords:   cowboys, cattlemen, Texas, Cattle Kings, middle-class men, working-class men, masculinity, manhood

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