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Political Manhood: Red Bloods, Mollycoddles, and the Politics of Progressive Era Reform


In a 1907 lecture to Harvard undergraduates, Theodore Roosevelt claimed that colleges should never "turn out mollycoddles instead of vigorous men," warning that "the weakling and the coward are out of place in a strong and free community." A paradigm of ineffectuality and weakness, the mollycoddle was "all inner life," whereas his opposite, the "red blood," was a man of action. Kevin P. Murphy reveals how the popular ideals of American masculinity coalesced around these two distinct categories. Because of its similarity to ...

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