Opposition to muscular Christianity in America never completely disappeared. But it did weaken in the aftermath of the Civil War, when changes in American society placed health and manliness uppermost in the minds of many male white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. These men, who included Social Gospel leaders such as Josiah Strong and politicians such as Theodore Roosevelt, viewed factors such as urbanization, sedentary office jobs, and non-Protestant immigration as threats not only to their health and manhood but also to their privileged social standing. To maintain that standing, they urged "old stock" Americans to revitalize themselves by embracing a "strenuous life" replete with athleticism and aggressive male behavior. They also called loudly upon their churches to abandon the supposedly enervating tenets of "feminized" Protestantism.


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