Muscular Christianity, Eugenics, War, Football, and Imperialism
In the late nineteenth century, a fear about the softness of American society raised doubts about the capacity of the United States to carry out its imperial destiny. This problem was associated with the final settlement of the frontier. As important as the development of open space was to the expansion of the territory of the United States, the completion of the continental expansion brought an attendant fear that traditional masculinity was on the wane and would bring about a withering of the individual and the national body. This fear spread to the church as well, where the result was thought to be a moral softening (Miller 2011, p. 38). To make matters worse, waves of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were flooding American cities with foreign cultures. This concern became so pressing that talk of “race suicide” became common.
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