The Draft Law Essay, Research Paper
The draft law otherwise known as the conscription of soldiers to serve their country, is one of the most controversial issues not only in the United States but in the entire world.Because of the history behind its past, debate has led up to present day about whether or not the Draft law should be used. The draft law goes back at least as far as biblical times. It’s read in the Bible that the Lord had commanded Moses to gather all men over twenty years old that were able to go fight in the war in Israel. Ancient Greece also had imposed a draft upon its citizens. This idea was then passed onto Rome. In Europe in the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries the draft law was also brought into use because large armies of professional soldiers were needed to fight the wars. In France, after the French Revolution, all citizens were considered “soldiers of the state”. Napoleon, then the leader of France, used the draft to create huge armies for conquest. In colonial America during the American Revolution, many states introduced the draft law, and punished anyone who failed to comply with it. The American Revolution was fought by volunteers and drafted men in the form of local armies called militias. Then after the war, congress passed a militia law for all free men aged from eighteen to forty-five to have military training. Since the law provided no arms or officers and required only four days of training a year, it had little or no effect. The United States didn’t have a draft law much after the American Revolution. But years later, in 1917 when the United States had entered World War I, Congress passed the Selective Service Act. According to this law, men were selected in a lottery and men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were drafted. Then in 1947 this draft law was allowed to expire. But between 1947 and 1948 various new laws were passed. These laws said that every man had to register with his draft board when he became eighteen. In 1970, because of growing opposition to the draft, Congress decided to pass the Selective Service Act once again. Under this new act, only men between the ages of nineteen and twenty could be selected. Also this new lottery system provided that the men drafted would only have to serve for one year. But following a lengthy congressional debate about this act, the draft law was extended for two years. After 1973, the authority to draft men was allowed to expire and service in the armed forces was put on a voluntary basis.
The reinstitution of the draft law has become a very debatable issue. This issue today has been divided into two sides; people who would like the draft law reinstated and those who oppose it. The people who would like to see the draft law put into effect have many reasons for their opinion. Many believe that manpower is the foundation for our national defense and that any major event that requires military action is to be a signal to reinstate the draft. They also believe that if the goals of our nation are worth fighting for then we should not hesitate to ask all Americans to share the obligations the of fighting. They feel this way because they say they want to avoid the situation that we had in the Vietnam War, when a greater proportion of minorities and people of lower income levels ended up on the front lines. These people agree that the volunteer force is preferable over the draft law. The pay and educational benefits that the military provide today have helped to draw more middleclass Americans into the services. Today the volunteer system has filled the forces with people who want to be there. They are more motivated and easier to train because they want to be there. Also they are career minded and goals orientated and thus have fewer discipline problems. All of the above mentioned would be lacking in a force created by conscription.
Protest in the United States against the draft between 1950 and 1970 was very little if any at all during the Korean war from 1950 to 1953. Because of the those two decades, the draft law had been drawn up in such a way to allow for a variety of conditions under which men were excused from serving. For example, many young men escaped serving because they chose to go to college. In the early 1970’s the resistance to the draft law reemerged with strong negative feelings toward the Vietnam War. Much protest began and many young men left the country in order to avoid being drafted. The draft was then abolished in 1973 and protest ended.
My opinion or whether or not the drafting of men should be used today is that I think it should be used only when absolutely necessary. I believe this because if the draft law is used, men with families or no desire to fight may be selected and because of personal problems they may have, bigger problems than our lack of people to fight could surface.