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Gentlemen RevolutionariesPower and Justice in the New American Republic$
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Tom Cutterham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172668

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172668.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Gentlemen Revolutionaries

Tom Cutterham

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of American gentlemen. Before the American Revolution, the idea of the gentleman was already in flux. American gentlemen could not rely on maintaining their status without effort. The performance of gentility involved more than buying and wearing the right things. It also required adherence to the gentlemanly code of honor. While the expectations and behaviors that made up the code were slightly different in different parts of the colonies, there were some things that were supposed to characterize gentlemen everywhere. Most important, a gentleman was someone who could be trusted—who always dealt honestly and kept his word. If he was accused of breaking this code, it was expected that a gentleman would defend his honor, by fighting a duel if necessary. Maintaining the status of a gentleman could end up costing not just one's fortune, but one's life.

Keywords:   American gentlemen, American Revolution, gentility, gentlemanly, code of honor, duel

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