Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Britains SoldiersRethinking War and Society, 1715-1815$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kevin Linch and Matthew McCormack

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781846319556

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846319556.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

‘The Soldiers Murmured Much on Account of this Usage’

‘The Soldiers Murmured Much on Account of this Usage’

Military Justice and Negotiated Authority in the Eighteenth-Century British Army

Chapter:
(p.95) 5 ‘The Soldiers Murmured Much on Account of this Usage’
Source:
Britains Soldiers
Author(s):

William P. Tatum III

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846319556.003.0006

Historians have long portrayed enlisted men as the hapless victims of ‘a cruel and capricious court system that could hand out sentences of appalling magnitude’ (Arthur Gilbert). While such images fit well with the popular stereotypes of military justice, the reality of common soldiers’ participation in the system was far more complicated and nuanced. This chapter reveals the variety of roles played by enlisted men in the military justice system, as well as the ways in which they manipulated the justice process for their own ends. Soldiers served as military police, witnesses, informants and executioners. Without their cooperation, the system could not have functioned effectively, as officers were too few in number to carry out the mandates of the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War alone. This dependence on ‘good soldiers’ left enlisted men in a position to apply pressure on their officers. As a result, military justice, while occasionally arbitrary and extreme, was more often the scene of negotiation and manipulation of social dynamics.

Keywords:   British army, soldiers, military justice, courts martial, negotiation, collaboration, desertion, mutiny, military social relations

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.