America's athletic missionaries: The Olympic Games and the creation of a national culture, 1896-1936.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/184706
Title:
America's athletic missionaries: The Olympic Games and the creation of a national culture, 1896-1936.
Author:
Dyreson, Mark Sanford
Issue Date:
1989
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
During the late nineteenth century American reformers crafted a physical culture designed to help adjust their nation to the social changes fostered by industrialization, urbanization and immigration. The creators of modern sport considered athletics a "technology" for building a modern liberal civilization. Their "sporting republic" quickly gained a prominent place in American life. America's Athletic Missionaries examines the impact that United States participation in the Olympic Games, from 1896 to 1936, had on American culture. The idea of the sporting republic united politics and the strenuous life. In the Olympics Americans discovered a particularly rich environment for both athletic and political demonstrations. The architects of the sporting republic thought that sport could create livable urban environments, fight crime, promote democracy, Americanize the recently acquired empire, and assimilate immigrant populations. American Olympic teams earned the moniker of "America's athletic missionaries" for their performances at the first five Olympic Games. American Olympians enjoyed the active support of the political, business and academic elite. Lionized by the press and showered with public acclaim, the Olympians became symbols of the power of sport in channeling human energy in socially productive directions. During the 1920s the role of the sporting republic underwent a transformation. Sport, as had many other facets of Progressive reform, had been accepted as part of the orthodoxy of American values. But the political nature of sport changed. Abandoned by intellectuals who associated it with middle-class materialism, sport was increasingly cast as a form of escapism and disassociated from political action. The new version of sport became one of the totems of consumer culture. The press depicted the Olympic Games of the 1920s as sensational spectacles, without any significant political overtones. By the 1930s Americans had rediscovered the political uses of sport. Much of the world had come to view the Olympic Games as tests of national strength and many countries devoted great resources in the pursuit of athletic conquest. This study examines the relationship between political and physical culture, the uses of athletic ideology in the construction of American civilization, and the function of sport as a cultural tool.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Olympics -- History.; Sports and state -- United States -- History.; Sports -- United States -- History.; Sports -- Social aspects -- United States -- History.; Sports and state -- History.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
History; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Carter, Paul

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleAmerica's athletic missionaries: The Olympic Games and the creation of a national culture, 1896-1936.en_US
dc.creatorDyreson, Mark Sanforden_US
dc.contributor.authorDyreson, Mark Sanforden_US
dc.date.issued1989en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractDuring the late nineteenth century American reformers crafted a physical culture designed to help adjust their nation to the social changes fostered by industrialization, urbanization and immigration. The creators of modern sport considered athletics a "technology" for building a modern liberal civilization. Their "sporting republic" quickly gained a prominent place in American life. America's Athletic Missionaries examines the impact that United States participation in the Olympic Games, from 1896 to 1936, had on American culture. The idea of the sporting republic united politics and the strenuous life. In the Olympics Americans discovered a particularly rich environment for both athletic and political demonstrations. The architects of the sporting republic thought that sport could create livable urban environments, fight crime, promote democracy, Americanize the recently acquired empire, and assimilate immigrant populations. American Olympic teams earned the moniker of "America's athletic missionaries" for their performances at the first five Olympic Games. American Olympians enjoyed the active support of the political, business and academic elite. Lionized by the press and showered with public acclaim, the Olympians became symbols of the power of sport in channeling human energy in socially productive directions. During the 1920s the role of the sporting republic underwent a transformation. Sport, as had many other facets of Progressive reform, had been accepted as part of the orthodoxy of American values. But the political nature of sport changed. Abandoned by intellectuals who associated it with middle-class materialism, sport was increasingly cast as a form of escapism and disassociated from political action. The new version of sport became one of the totems of consumer culture. The press depicted the Olympic Games of the 1920s as sensational spectacles, without any significant political overtones. By the 1930s Americans had rediscovered the political uses of sport. Much of the world had come to view the Olympic Games as tests of national strength and many countries devoted great resources in the pursuit of athletic conquest. This study examines the relationship between political and physical culture, the uses of athletic ideology in the construction of American civilization, and the function of sport as a cultural tool.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectOlympics -- History.en_US
dc.subjectSports and state -- United States -- History.en_US
dc.subjectSports -- United States -- History.en_US
dc.subjectSports -- Social aspects -- United States -- History.en_US
dc.subjectSports and state -- History.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHistoryen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorCarter, Paulen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGarcia, Juanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCosgrove, Richarden_US
dc.identifier.proquest8919029en_US
dc.identifier.oclc702127767en_US
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