Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



In this project, the interdisciplinary use of sociology, feminist philosophy, and Southern historiography combine to provide a more complete analysis of rape in the Civil War and 3 Reconstruction than previously discussed in other scholarly works. Each discipline provides a valuable piece to the larger picture. This research examines antebellum gender norms, the intersection of race and gender, the impact of slavery on Black women’s sexuality and agency, the weaponization of rape in war, and the impact of Klan violence on Black communities during Reconstruction. Additionally, this research proposes explanations for how the nature of war created an environment in which Union soldiers committed wanton acts of violence such as rape. Finally, this project examines the continuation of rape during Reconstruction by analyzing how the legal measures laid forth in the Lieber Code during the Civil War provided the framework for Southern women’s continued legal efforts to combat gender based violence.



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