The Making of the Self-Made Man, 1750–1850

David Kuchta

in The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520214934
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921399 | DOI:
The Making of the Self-Made Man, 1750–1850

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines how middle-class reformers reappropriated ideals of masculinity for their own political and economic ends. It focuses on how middle-class men came into existence as a social category—how the self-made man was made. It notes that understanding the making of the self-made man will help understand the links between political, economic, and cultural changes in early Victorian England. It further notes that historians have often characterized this period as a struggle between an “entreprenueurial ideal” and “aristocratic ideal”, or as a struggle between thrusting self-made men and feudal aristocrats disdainful of capitalism.

Keywords: middle-class reformers; masculinity; self-made man; early Victorian England; entrepreneurial ideal; aristocratic ideal; capitalism

Chapter.  14337 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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