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Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America"Citizenship, Race, and the Environment, 1910-1930"$
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Benjamin René Jordan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627656

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627656.001.0001

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Rural Manhood and Lone Scouting on the Margins of a Modernizing Society

Rural Manhood and Lone Scouting on the Margins of a Modernizing Society

(p.178) 6 Rural Manhood and Lone Scouting on the Margins of a Modernizing Society
Modern Manhood and the Boy Scouts of America

Benjamin René Jordan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter argues that early Boy Scouting’s emphasis on scientific efficiency and interdependent, adult-led troops to prepare adolescent boys for an urban-industrial society conflicted with the values and needs of farm boys, few of which joined the organization. Boy Scouts of America founder William D. Boyce felt compelled in 1915 to create a separate Lone Scouts of America organization stressing primitive Indian lore and boy self-reliance that better reflected rural manhood and the traditional virtues of the yeoman farmer. Lone Scouting, along with other rural programs such as the 4-H Club, attracted far more members than did Boy Scouting. To reinforce Boy Scouting's claim that it offered the universal character development program for all American boys and to protect the royalty income it received from consumer items containing the word Scout, Boy Scouts of America national leaders absorbed the Lone Scouts organization in the mid-1920s. However, the rural division promptly lost the allegiance of most farm boys and former Lone Scout members by trying to force them into the adult-led Boy Scout troop mold with its emphasis on modern manhood’s corporate work and interdependent social values.

Keywords:   Lone Scouts, Farm boys, Rural manhood, Yeoman, William D. Boyce, 4-H Club, Modern manhood

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