Added: April 8, 2017 – Last updated: April 8, 2017


Author: Anne Weis

Title: “Forcibly and Against Her Will”

Subtitle: Sexual Violence, Military Justice, and Race in the American Civil War

Thesis: Senior Honors Thesis, University of Pennsylvania

Year: 2016


Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century | American History: U.S. History | Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / American Civil War


Link: -


Abstract: »This thesis explores occurrences of sexual violence perpetrated by Union soldiers during the American Civil War and is based upon a close study of a sample of records for Union Army courts-martial for sexual crimes. It is both a study of the ways in which sexual violence was carried out during the war and how the military justice system dealt with instances of sexual violence perpetrated by its soldiers. This thesis seeks to be a part of an emerging scholarship on sexual violence in the Civil War that has been influenced by recent revelations about the uses of sexual violence in warfare more generally. In addition, this project features a robust focus on race, and the story about the intersection of sex, violence, and race during the Civil War that the courts-martial tell is at different moments surprising, tragically expected, confounding, and hopeful. This story both fits within a long and devastating narrative of the sexual subjugation of black women that runs through our nation’s past like a poisoned vein, and breaks from that narrative in stunning ways.« (Source: Penn History Review: Journal for Undergraduate Historians 23(1) (Spring 2016): 99-100)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States / History of the United States (1849–65) | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: American Civil War / Sex in the American Civil War