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Abstract

Building on recent cultural histories, this article explores the changing role of public masculinities in British politics during the early decades of the twentieth century. Drawing largely on newspapers and election ephemera, it argues that the Conservative party's success in appealing to Britain's greatly expanded electorate after 1918 can be explained, in part, by its ability to adapt to, and shape, models of expected masculine behaviour. Conservatives claimed that they represented orderly politics and the interests of the ex-serviceman's family, both of which were supposedly threatened by Labour.