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Manliness and Militarism

Manliness and Militarism: Educating Young Boys in Ontario for War

Mark Moss
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 227
  • Book Info
    Manliness and Militarism
    Book Description:

    By examining the cult of manliness as it developed in Victorian and Edwardian Ontario, Moss reveals a number of factors that made young men eager to prove their mettle on the battlefields of Europe.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2339-2
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    The above comment was made during the Boer War, by a superintendent of the Dominion Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. It captures with perfect clarity the sentiments unleashed with the short South African War, which was fought from 1899 to 1901 and included only a small Canadian contingent. Yet the deluge of passion and enthusiasm for this war was remarkable in a number of ways. It seemed to express a feeling in Canada, and especially Ontario, that war, or at least the chance for the adventure of war, was a desirable thing. As well, it rallied Canadians around a particular set...

  5. 2 Historical Context: Imperialism and Militarism
    (pp. 21-35)

    Both manliness and militarism wove their way into the fabric of Ontario society in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first decade and a half of the twentieth. Intertwined with the various ‘isms’ and ideologies characteristic of an emerging society, they were arguably the dominant themes of the province’s social, political, and cultural discourse.

    ‘The cult of manliness’ was one of ‘the principal features of Victorian Canada’. This cult had its origins in the social vision according to which the prospective tamers of the land—all descendants of British stock, of course—required both a certain ‘temper’...

  6. 3 Ideas, Myths, and the ‘Modern’ State
    (pp. 36-60)

    Many young men have gone to war for the same reasons as Larry Nelson and Bert Remington. Yet the desire for adventure and the chance to become a hero took on added potency in the late Edwardian era as a result of several concurrences. Foremost, perhaps, was the advent of modern industrialism, which made many jobs little more than routine drudgery and subjected workers to the regime of the clock. For most men, the traditional outdoor life had become an unattainable ideal.²

    War offered the hope of social and personal regeneration through the sorts of experiences no longer available in...

  7. 4 The Culture of Reading
    (pp. 61-89)

    In late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ontario, numerous facets of society were anxious to rear youngsters with the values and attitudes that opinion-makers and educators thought were proper and upstanding. Patriotism and nationalism were pervasive ideologies ingrained into the minds of the young. There was also a specific concern to create militarists willing to defend the country should the need arise. A survey of boys’ literature of the time reveals that it was saturated with examples of heroic endeavour and military conquest. Encouraged from above in the hegemonic sense, this body of literature was designed to provoke specific responses. If...

  8. 5 The Politicization of Schooling
    (pp. 90-109)

    In most Western countries the introduction of formal schooling¹ served a number of purposes. Getting children off the streets was one. Another was to ensure that citizens had the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic—skills that became increasingly important in the age of industrialism. Perhaps the most important purpose of formal, institutionalized schooling, however, was to create functional citizens.² A barometer of Ontario’s success in this project was the enormous number of former students who answered the call of their country in 1914. Formal schooling for citizenship emphasized two interrelated goals. The first was to stimulate patriotic loyalty...

  9. 6 Making Boys into Men
    (pp. 110-121)

    Between 1867 and 1914, modernization, urbanization, and an increasingly visible and vociferous women’s movement accentuated masculine self-doubt. With the separation of the public and the private spheres, as a result of industrialization, men no longer spent much time with their sons. With women in both the home and the school taking control of the socializing process, many men worried that women were instructing boys on how to become men.¹

    Concern over how children were to be raised was common among parents, educators, and the loose coalition of individuals who might be called ‘progressives’. In many cases, the worry was as...

  10. 7 At Play in the Fields of the Empire
    (pp. 122-139)

    One of the more interesting and objective observers of late nineteenth-century culture, the social scientist and economist Thorstein Veblen, had much to say about the combative qualities that the Boy Scouts, sports, and other agencies of masculine socialization sought to instil in young boys. For example, ‘These manifestations of the predatory temperament are all to be classified under the head of exploit. … A strong proclivity to adventuresome exploit and to the infliction of damage is especially pronounced in those employments which are in colloquial usage specifically called sportsmanship.’¹ Similarly, John Hobson, an influential early twentieth-century critic of imperialism, recognized...

  11. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 140-146)

    Most accounts of Canadian history talk about the euphoria that came with the outbreak of World War I. Some accounts are more restrained, yet all suggest that there was enthusiasm and a marked willingness to defend Britain.

    This enthusiasm evaporated as the war dragged on. Expectations of a short war gave way to the reality of a long, horror-filled nightmare. By 1916, maintaining a steady supply of volunteers had become so difficult that conscription was forced onto the Canadian people. As news of what was happening in France and Belgium reached Canada, the once unflinching support began to disappear. As...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 147-209)
  13. Index
    (pp. 210-216)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-218)