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Taming Passion for the Public Good – Policing Sex in the Early Republic - NYU Press Scholarship Online
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Taming Passion for the Public Good: Policing Sex in the Early Republic

Mark E. Kann


The American Revolution was fought in the name of liberty. In popular imagination, the Revolution stands for the triumph of populism and the death of patriarchal elites. But this is not the case, argues this book. Rather, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America developed a society and system of laws that kept patriarchal authority alive and well—especially when it came to the sex lives of citizens. The book contends that despite the rhetoric of classical liberalism, the founding generation did not trust ordinary citizens with extensive liberty. Through the policing of sex, elites sought to ... More

Keywords: liberty, American Revolution, patriarchal authority, liberalism, paternalism, social control, sex, elites, resilient patriarchy, sexuality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780814770191
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814770191.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mark E. Kann, author