Draft World War 1
There are only a few public policy issues that have been around since this country was established. The issue of the draft or the technical name is called conscription which is registering for military service. The first big draft legislation came from Congress by voting for the Selective Service Act of 1917. This law order males of certain ages in the United States to register for the military and it came into effect during World War 1 and only lasted for two years. The draft was different from others because it included both white and black males. Congress decided that it should be a universal draft but did segregate blacks in whites in different units and living arrangements. The government tried to rally citizens and encouraged them to be patriotic and it was viewed as a success since very few dodged the draft nationwide. This is also the first draft where the term conscientious objector came into play. Those whose religious beliefs conflicted with fighting or killing were allowed to have an exemption from the draft.
This is also where we get one of the first Supreme Court Rulings on the issue. Arver v. United States, 245 U.S. 366 (1918) was a case brought before the court to ask it to stop the Selective Service Act of 1917, The court found the Thirteenth Amendment protection against involuntary servitude and the First Amendment protection on freedom of thought do not prevent the federal government from implementing a military draft. The Supreme Court also made it clear that the Constitution gives powers to Congress to declare war on a country or government. Selective Draft Law Cases, 245 U.S. 366 (1918) Justia Law.
Draft World War 2
The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was approved by Congress by wide margins this was the first peacetime draft that was established in the United States.It required males of a certain age to register with the federal government in case of potential war and their services would be needed in the military. When the United States government joined in World War 2 in literally extended the age range to virtually anyone male from the age of 18 to 64. The draft was widely received and very few objected the attacks on our soil in Peral Harbor was rallying cry for the nation. The draft lasted for 6 years and afterward changed the ages for males from 18 to 26 which it stayed even today.
The Korean War also had males drafted from the age of 18 to 26 and the public widely received the draft according to gallop opinion polls. The polls suggested that over 70% felt the draft and the Korean war was worth it. Gallup, G. H. (1972). There were no big changes both in-laws and in public perception of this draft.
In the 1960s President Kennedy’s decided to send military troops to Vietnam and thus entered a new war and draft. This war at the beginning was unpopular many parents from World War 2 had children which led to the Baby Boomers this was the largest generation in United States history and a large majority were going to college, getting married, having families. The War became very unpopular because the draft and the war dragged on for over a decade. It caused so many young people mainly poor and uneducated young men to die. According to Gallup by 1967 over 80% of the American public thought Vietnam was a huge mistake. Gallup, G. H. (1972) The 1960s was an era of black civil rights, hippies and the peace movement in the United States. The media also brought graphic images of people being killed and tortured into people’s living room making it even more unpopular with the public. It polarized the nation how a war could be fought for a decade yet getting really no real results. This led to protests about the war across college campuses and changed how America views the military and draft forever.
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