Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, many prominent Christians and political leaders saw a degenerative influence in industrializing America. For them, urban culture had eroded gender roles, personal strength, and moral fiber. So-called “Muscular Christians” prescribed physical exertion and wilderness experience to cure these ills. I argue that these values were embodied in idealized characters such as Theodore Roosevelt, Jesus, and the Boy Scout to give a form to cultural remedies. In the process, they became the terms upon which proper Americanism, and proper Christianity, were constructed.


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