Conscription Vs Northern Draft

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Conscription was first implemented in the United States during the American Civil War in 1863 (“Northern Draft of 1863”). It was common for wealthy men to pay for substitutes to take their place during this time. Support for the new law was very rare in the North during this time, and it created the “Civil War Draft Riots” (Harris, “The New York City Draft Riots of 1863”) . The draft would not return for over half a century. In 1917, the US army had just over 100,000 troops. With the US entry into World War I, the reimplementation of conscription was unsurprising to many. Signed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 18, 1917, this law created the Selective Service System, which managed to enlist about 2.8 million men over two years and abolish …show more content…

As with all legislature, there are always opposing views. The institution of the Northern Draft of 1862 came as a shock to many, due to something of this magnitude never being previously put into action. During the World War I period, the reinstitution of the draft was not as shocking to the American people. It was more justified in 1917 due to such an unprepared peacetime army with low numbers, so it was reasonable for a draft to occur. People were also more willing to accept the draft in this time period due to a shockwave of patriotism travelling through America with the use of strong and blunt anti-German propaganda posters throughout America. Strong patriotic mindset gave little room for political quarrelling, let alone room in people’s heads to listen to what politicians had to say during such a tense time. If propaganda and speeches were used to spark patriotism during the American Civil War, there would have been very different results when it comes to how many people were willing to serve their country and not abandon the army without leave or consent. There should have been more action by the government at attempting to create propaganda, or the use of speeches to incite patriotism, almost like what was done during the American Revolution. Overall, the World War I draft was more successful. This was also due to the discarding of the bounty system. The results of the Selective Service Act of 1917 were great compared to the draft instated less than half a century before. The American people’s reaction was much more accepting in the World War I

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