'Let Us Live for Those Who Love Us': Faith, Family, and the Contours of Manhood Among the Knights of Columbus in Late Nineteenth-Century Connecticut.
In Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America, Mark Carnes contends that the popularity of fraternal secret societies in the late 19th century was a response to the extreme gender divide within Victorian society. Carnes posits that all but the highest fraternal rituals further perpetuated a gendered bifurcation of society, constructing male identities that were predicated upon men's alienation from both women in the household and from religious spheres that also carried the taint of femaleness in Victorian culture. This article explores the ideals of manhood articulated in the records and publications of the first generation of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, arguing that the commitments that followed from being immigrant Catholics muddied the supposed "separateness" of Victorian separate spheres for early Knights, embedding powerful evocations of faith and family in their fraternal rituals and rhetoric. The Knights advocated sensitive and nurturing fatherhood, sentimentalized men's emotional ties to women, and assumed a harmonious relationship between fraternalism and family. Thus, men did not escape bonds of religious and domestic attachment in Columbian fraternity, rather, they gained from it rites, rhetoric, and heroic figures that legitimated and valorized the embedded reality of their lives.
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|Publication:||Journal of Social History|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Dec 22, 2004|
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