The Return of the Loving Father: Masculinity, Legitimacy and the French and Dutch Restoration
Historians of gender often see the construction of hegemonic images of masculinity as the result of long-term cultural processes. In this article we investigate the influence of short-term political events on the shaping of dominant political masculinities by comparing the representations of the early French and Dutch Restoration monarchies. The events of the political transition of 1813-1815 greatly influenced the competition of different models of masculinity existing in the early nineteenth century.
In both countries the newly established monarchs aimed to legitimate their insecure rule by presenting themselves as 'loving fathers' returning to their despairing children after the dark years of exile. The Dutch monarchy differed from the French case with regards to the role of women in the monarchical representation and the duality of the representation of William I as father and hero. Unlike Louis XVIII, William could present his fatherly rule as a return to the national tradition of domesticity (huiselijkheid).
This article is part of the special issue 'Low Countries Histories of Masculinity'.
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Copyright (c) 2012 Matthijs Lok, Natalie Scholz
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