Historical Analysis of the Military Draft Policy Essay

Historical Analysis of the Military Draft Policy Essay

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Historical Analysis of the Military Draft Policy


The Constitution adopted in 1789 gave Congress the "power to raise and support armies," but it neither mentioned nor prohibited conscription. The Framers left that issue to the future, although most of them believed that the United States like Britain would enlist its men rather than conscript them, and would pay for its armies through the power to tax. Not until World War I did the United States rely primarily upon conscription. The Selective Service Act of 1917 was adopted in large part because a civilian-led "preparedness" movement had persuaded many Americans that a selective national draft was the most equitable and efficient way for an industrial society to raise a wartime army. Woodrow Wilson overcame considerable opposition, particularly from agrarian isolationists in the South and West and ethnic and ideological opponents of the war in the North, to obtain the temporary wartime draft. (Berger 1981)

For more than 50 years, Selective Service and the registration requirement for America's young men have served as a backup system to provide manpower to the U.S. Armed Forces. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 which created the country's first peacetime draft and formally established the Selective Service System as an independent Federal agency. From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means. (Gerhardt 1971)

A lottery drawing - the first since 1942 - was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970, that is, for registrants born between January 1, 1944 and December 31, 1950. Reinstitution of the lottery was a change from the oldest first method, which had been the determining method for deciding order of call. 366 blue plastic capsules containing birth dates were placed in a large glass jar and drawn by hand to assign order-of-call numbers to all men within the 18-26 age range specified in Selective Service law. With radio, film and TV coverage, the capsules were drawn from the jar, opened, and the dates inside posted in order. The first capsule - drawn by Congressman Alexander Pirine (R-NY) of the Ho...


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...ain that our military will not leave Iraq until a stable democracy is intact and if other actions are taken against countries such as North Korea and Iran as communication failure continues to break down, we will find U.S. military sources stationed in those countries as well until they too have reached a level of stablility that is consistent with how the United States government would approve. And although our commitment to these current day conflicts has not reached a status where a draft would be needed, talk has begun to stir and its reinstatement could come in the near future. Good or bad, each individual has its own opinion and its policy will be debated for years to come.



Bibliography

Anderson, Martin. The Military Draft: Selected Readings on Conscription. Stanford, California: Hoover Press. 1982.

Berger, Jason. The Military Draft. New York: H.Wilson CO. 1981.

Carter, Phillip and Paul Glastris. “The Case for the Draft.” Washington Monthly; March 2005, Vol. 37 Issue 3, p18.

Flynn, George. Conscription and Democracy. Westport, Connecticut. Greenwood Press. 2002.

Gerhardt, James. The Draft and Public Policy. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. 1971.

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