Law and Honour Among Eighteenth-Century British Army Officers

TitleLaw and Honour Among Eighteenth-Century British Army Officers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsGilbert, Arthur N.
JournalThe Historical Journal
Date Published03/1976

There can be no doubt that those who joined the officers corps in the eighteenth century became members of an exclusive club with its own distinctive values. These values were imposed on all members of the corps and, as is the case with most exclusive organizations, only a very few individuals were confident or perverse enough to challenge the group standards. The officers corps had an honor code; a set of principles which was informally enforced to ensure that each member soon learned proper from improper behaviour. When there were violations of the code the subaltern officers would bring peer group sanctions to bear in the form of social and professional ostracism until the offender cleared his name by removing the blot on his honor. In this article, the author identifies the major components of this code and examines its applications.

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