Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Author: Maurizio Valsania

George Washington and eighteenth century masculinity

We want George Washington—the President of all Presidents, the Man of all Men—to be a certain way. We want him to be an unalloyed male outdoing, singlehandedly, all the other competitors. We want him strong and rude, rough and rugged, athletic and hypersexualized, a chiseled torso, a Teddy Roosevelt, a Tarzan, and a John Wayne: “a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”

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French hovels, slave cabins, and the limits of Jefferson’s eyes

Thomas Jefferson was a deliberate man and nothing escaped his attention. Jefferson’s eyes were powerful, lively, and penetrating. Testimonies swore that his eyes were nothing short of “the eye of an eagle.” He wore spectacles occasionally, especially for reading, but his eyes stood the test of time despite physiological decline.

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