Chapter

Fleeing the Nest

in Restless Nation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780226394787
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226394732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226394732.003.0009
Fleeing the Nest

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The world of American restlessness, escape, and movement is a world defined by men. The goals of individual material success and deep inner searching, as well as the means of detachment and flight, are those of the men who have dominated American institutions and ideas throughout its history. In addition to being written out of history, women were in fact relatively absent from many of the key places and times when American character was being defined and set into symbols. It is young men, not women, who flock to boomtowns and frontiers. The influence of respectable women, as opposed to prostitutes, would have made boomtowns less violent, brutal, and unhealthy. It's no accident that women's reform movements (like the Woman's Christian Temperance Union) have regularly attacked gambling, drinking, and prostitution, the three big boomtown vices.

Keywords: material success; restlessness; reform movements; boomtown vices; flight; American institutions

Chapter.  9401 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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