The independent man

Citizenship and gender politics in Georgian England

By Matthew McCormack

The independent man

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7055-6
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £14.99
  • Published Date: January 2012
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Men's Studies, Modern History, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Gender studies, gender groups, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, European history, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: men, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Society & social sciences / Gender studies, gender groups
  • Series: Gender in History


'Independence' was an important ideal for men in Georgian England. In this period, however, the word meant much more than simply the virtues of self-sufficiency and impartiality. Most people believed that obligations absolutely compromised freedom and conscience, whereas 'independence' was associated with manly virtue and physical vigour. Fundamentally, the political world was thought to consist of 'independent men', exercising their consciences and standing up for the general good. As such, Georgians thought about political action and masculine virtue very differently to the ways in which we do today.

In this study, newly available in paperback, Matthew McCormack establishes the links between the histories of masculinity and politics, highlighting the centrality of 'manly' ideals in the political world and - conversely - the role of politics in the operation of gender ideology.


'In exploring the relationship between gendered ideas of masculine behaviour and concepts of the political individual, this important book fills a yawning gap in both political history and gender history of the eighteenth century.'
Karen Harvey, Reviews in History

'To say that this book on masculinity and Georgian politics in long overdue does not take away from Matthew McCormack's achievement... It has been left to McCormack to re-conceptualize the history of political subjectivity through gender's powerful organizing frame.'
Timothy Jenks, Canadian Review of History

'This is a very thoughtful and thought-provoking study of the meaning of the term 'independent' in Georgian England. McCormack moves beyond high politics and social history to combine the two in a fascinating discussion of electoral history.'
Emma McLeod, University of Stirling (History - the journal of the Historical Association)


List of figures
1. Gender, obligation and political virtue
2. Act the part of honest independent men
3. From the Civil War to the Seven Years War
4. Declarations of Independence, 1760-76
5. Rethinking the independent Englishman, 1770-97
6. Anti-Jacobinism and citizenship, 1789-1815
7. Independence versus Old Corruption, 1815-29
8. Independence and the Reform debates, 1830-2


Matthew McCormack is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton.

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout