From the Fangs of Monsters: Gender, Empire, and Civilization in the Pacific, 1800-1850

Michael David Chavez, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

As the nineteenth century commenced, contact between Pacific Islanders and Anglo-Americans increased as did the concern for what resulted from those interactions. In the United States, antebellum restrained men––those who upheld their Protestant faith, self-reliance, and familial values––used ideals of gender to combat the perceived “savagery” of Pacific Islanders and the corruption of American sailors among them. In the mission field, restrained men consciously sought after Anglo-American women’s influence often believing them to be the moral authority of a softer form of empire. This particular form of empire was not government led; nor did it entail the immediate conquest of Pacific Islander’s territory. Instead, it was a gendered alliance between Anglo-American manhood and Anglo-American womanhood that guided their version of conquest as they sought to instill civilization and Christianity at home and across the Great Ocean.^

Subject Area

American history|History of Oceania|Pacific Rim studies|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Chavez, Michael David, "From the Fangs of Monsters: Gender, Empire, and Civilization in the Pacific, 1800-1850" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10688822.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI10688822

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