Laws were looser back in the olden days of the U.S. military. If you were a soldier during the Civil War and you screwed up big time, you were looking at a truly painful consequence. It wasn’t uncommon to be flogged or tied up by the thumbs for your misdeeds back then — and it took our country nearly a century to realize that corporal punishment was probably bad for troops and morale. Here are 10 crazy punishments that used to be legal in the U.S. armed forces.
If you screw up your cashier duties at McDonald’s, chances are your boss won’t smoke you, unless he wants a harassment suit brought against him. In the military world, we live by a different set of rules and laws, one in which we forfeit many of our previously enjoyed rights and freedoms. The U.S. armed forces follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a set of legal conventions that was born from the 69 Articles of War in 1775. Although our current rendition of the UCMJ wasn’t signed into law until 1950 by President Harry S. Truman, it sure feels as though some of the punishments contained within its bindings date back to colonial times.