Half-baked men: doughface masculinity and the antebellum politics of household Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Lynn, Joshua A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • In the antebellum politics of household, political legitimacy stemmed from domestic life. As white northern families and southern plantation households constituted distinct domesticities, northern Doughface Democrats betrayed the northern home by catering to southern planters. Doughfaces argued that they demonstrated a manly independence in treating all families equally. In reality, however, their doctrine of popular sovereignty unfairly benefited southern households in the federal territories in the late 1840s and 1850s. Antislavery northerners responded with accusations of unmasculine servility. In the 1856 presidential election, Democrats portrayed James Buchanan, a Doughface and a bachelor, as a man who transcended competing conceptions of the household. At the same time, they offered him to southern voters as a fellow paternalist. Northerners subsequently charged Buchanan with treason against the northern home and against the concept of household itself. Doughfacism illustrates the intersection of politics, gender, and domesticity, and how political culture began at home.
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  • In Copyright
  • Watson, Harry L.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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