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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 …