Publication Date

April 2007


College of Arts and Sciences



Primary Subject Area

History, United States


Muscular Christianity, Men and Religion Forward Movement, Boy Scouts, YMCA, Social Gospel, Progressive Era, church, masculinity


Around the turn of the 20th century a movement called Muscular Christianity was extremely influential in The United States. Despite the name, there was a very strong secular aspect to this movement. A portion of this movement was dedicated to more closely uniting masculinity with the church and Christianity. This group consisted of various personalities and groups that supported a similar message for men and the church at large. The most apparent aspect of this was the Men and Religion Forward Movement of 1911-12. This was a major rally and marketing based movement of men in Christianity.

The many pieces of Muscular Christianity all held in common the social turbulence, changing expectations for the genders, and the changes in employment brought on by the industrial revolution. Muscular Christianity had as one of its elements the M&RFM. This relation consists of the M&RFM being the single most concentrated example of the Christian movement within Muscular Christianity. There is a division within Muscular Christianity between its secular and Christian components.