Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Daniel E. Sutherland

Committee Member

Beth B. Schweiger

Second Committee Member

Kathryn A. Sloan

Third Committee Member

Patrick G. Williams

Abstract

This study examines the causes, perception, and treatment of violence and crime committed by veterans after America's Civil War. After an examination of the research problems plaguing the study of violence and crime among veterans, this study uses newspaper articles, tracts and sermons, the published journals and letters of Union and Confederate soldiers, and other contemporary sources to evaluate the presence and perception of violence and the hardships associated with the homecoming of veterans. Alcohol and drug addiction that began during the war followed veterans home. Discipline in the army was inconsistent, and violence abounded in camp as well as on the battlefield. Combat was psychologically traumatic for some soldiers, and they returned to communities that struggled to deal with veteran misbehavior and mental trauma. Brutal suicides and violent outbursts forced veterans into soldiers' homes, asylums, and prisons, but these unfit facilities were last resorts for men with no place in society and no options. For many veterans, readjustment would prove a struggle more complicated and disheartening than the war itself.

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