The Genteel Patriarch
During the late 18th century and early 19th century the model of American masculinity was defined. The three archetypes of the American Man are the Genteel Patriarch, Heroic Artisan and the Self-Made Man. Both the Genteel Patriarch and the Heroic Artisan were imported from Europe and they provided a solid male identity to the New World
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were Genteel Patriarchs.The Genteel Patriarch was a typical upper-class European man who brought with him his refined tastes in food and wine, impeccable etiquette and his aristocratic value of landownership.
He governed his vast estate with his own brand of benevolence and kindness. He spent much time train his children by teaching them his accepted point of view of morality,thus molding them as active participants in the New World.
Farming was the only honorable occupation for a man of his stature. He was able to make independence and self-reliance supporting his virtues of honor, self-autonomy and hospitality.Genteel benevolence was the ticket to feel superior to all sub-classes, especially the black man. Any man who was not a landowner was not a man at all. This belief introduced the class modality in America, imported from Europe. In this class system, a person could not move up a class or even associate with the upper class because they were considered as sub-standard. This rule of tyranny did not adapt well to American individuality.
While he occupied his time with the pursuit of philosophy, literature, and art; he portrayed the air of nobility which was racist, discriminatory and tyranny. Though his occupation was that of a farmer he rarely did any type of labor, instead he owned black men and used them as the means to support his Genteel and cultured lifestyle.
The Genteel Patriarch was a strong influence on the ideal of American manliness. His influence was short-lived due to the American Spirit of independence and the opening of the new frontier.
The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) was a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 Colonies. The New World formed its own character and dignity, distancing itself from European influence.
The Genteel Patriarch’s found they were out of favor, being considered falling short of the ideals of democracy and American independence.They were soon seen as the effeminate, dandy with strong ties to Europe.
Their values and traditions did not transfer well to the changing face of America as it moved from an agricultural to an industrial society.
The Civil War was the last stand of the Genteel Patriarch’s.