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Marriage and the British Army in the Long Eighteenth Century'The Girl I Left Behind Me'$
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Jennine Hurl-Eamon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199681006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199681006.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 29 January 2022

Making Marriage Work

Making Marriage Work

Economic and Emotional Survival Strategies

(p.181) 6 Making Marriage Work
Marriage and the British Army in the Long Eighteenth Century

Jennine Hurl-Eamon

Oxford University Press

This chapter ignores officers in order to concentrate on the wider range of survival strategies employed by rankers and wives in London. Married men enlisted not—as previous historiography argues—to desert their wives, but rather to help the family. Income from odd jobs augmented soldiers’ pay and wives could better access poor relief with soldier husbands than if they were wed to civilians. Serving soldiers married because wives promised emotional and economic support during and after their term of service. They were also valuable agents in pawning goods, and begging or stealing for survival. Though some ranker couples could suffer poverty, alcoholism, and violence caused by military training and post-traumatic stress disorder, others found lucrative economic opportunities from their association with the army.

Keywords:   rankers, survival strategies, London, begging, stealing, army pay, poor relief, pawning, alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder

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