Hey, did you catch the ultimate fighting match last week, you know the one where they gouged each other’s eyes out? Um, no, you probably didn’t, because that doesn’t happen today. But it did happen in the 19th century.

What did it mean to be a man in the era of the Civil War? To be a man – an American man – was to be independent, and this was displayed by control over your own body up to and including risking getting your eyes gouged out in a brawl. But that meant different things for different people. What did it mean for Southern as opposed to Northern men? Working class vs. middle class? Or White and Black?

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