Talk:Conscription in the United States

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Health Care Draft[edit]

I'm going to spin off this article into a new one, there's enough history, information, and external links to justify expanding the article more AStudent 15:33, 24 July 2006 (UTC)[edit]

We will not have an all-volunteer army. And yet, this week ---- we will have an all-volunteer army!

--Dubya's own supporters bail him out of a verbal snafu, Daytona Beach, Florida, Oct. 16, 2004

That was a slip of the tongue- someone beside him stopped him and he immediately corrected himself. JeremyMcCracken 16:31, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

--This section should be removed. It makes no useful contribution whatsoever to improving the associated article. The guidelines for Talk pages are very explicit about the idea that Talk pages are NOT intended as forums for general discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:02, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

October 2004 Debate[edit]

For an October 2004 deletion debate over this page see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Revival of the draft

John Kerry's Plan[edit]

Unfortunately, Kerry's 100 day plan has disappeared from his site. I still prefer the John Kerry forum URL I posted because it is an exact quote, obviously a cut and paste of the original. The quote is also preserved several other places on the web, just search google:

"100 day plan" kerry

Here is a URL that references a fact sheet:

Iowa Caucus candidate news

Bush in the second debate, practically did a "read my lips" that he would not implement a draft. Kerry is far more likely to implement a draft. He is a nationalist with the hubris to beleive he knows what is best for others. In addition to his "100 Day Plan to Change America" where he proposes mandatory public service to graduate from high school. He thinks everyone has a duty to serve their nation and to encourage this he proposes a system where college tuition is paid for in exchange for service. His key supporter, Ted Kennedy proposed mandatory public service back in the late 70s, perhaps they were inspired by JFK, "Ask not ...". Then look at the history of the volunteer army and the draft. Senator's Barry Goldwater and Mark Hatfield co-sponsored the bill to end the draft in 1968. Conservatives have been behind the professional army movement and critical of the quality of a conscript army, especially in this technological age. While more of a moderate than a conservative, Bush subscribes to conservative principles in this area. I can't support Bush for other reasons, but with a son that would become draft age during a 2nd Kerry term, there is no way I could support him. Bush is more predictible than Kerry, and he will avoid a draft on principle, and I also believe Bush is less likely to institute a draft based on his and Kerry's personal historys. Note that he chose to avoid the combat that Kerry thought was his "duty". Now perhaps you think that is admirable, but the problem with these "duty" types, is that not only do they think it was their duty, they think it is you and your son's duty also--Silverback 08:13, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Here is a site that preserves the original 100 days page before it was purged[edit]

page snapped from google before the purge--Silverback 20:02, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Another site: Kerry pushes mandatory national public service

NPOV Dispute[edit]

from the article:

An early report from the early summer of 2004 claimed that the administration of George W. Bush had authorized 27 million dollars for for investigation and preparation for reinstating conscription as early as January of 2005. A vigorous debate than ensued as to whether or not a no-draft position was feasible within the parameters of Bush's sweeping military goals. In mid-October of 2004, a separate proposal appeared for conscripting only medical personnel.

there needs to be factual documentation to back/support these points. I have not been able to find this information from an unbiased source through a google search. simple to remove my dispute, just back it with a neutral source. Alkivar 06:09, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Nevertheless, the Bush administration has been criticized for implementing a "back door draft" by involuntarily extending the enlistment periods of military personnel for an additional two years after the expiration of their original commitments. 7

mentioning a slanted term such as "back door draft" makes the neutrality questionable in my mind. Also the source listed as a backup is from a biased (pro-kerry) author. to fix the NPOV in my mind 1) we need a better backup source, and 2) we need to remove the inflammatory "back door draft" Alkivar 06:09, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
don't know about the link, JML provided it. the term "back door draft" is in common usage and so should be acknowledged in the article, but not endorsed through usage. had unstruck 2nd claim after checking talk. either i missed your comment (sorry if so), or you added it after adding the npov tag. Wolfman 06:19, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
My suggested wording is "Nevertheless, the Bush administration has been criticized for involuntarily extending the enlistment periods of military personnel. In some cases this could be for as long as an additional two years of service after their current commitments expire." i think this gets the point across without using a spin phrase used by one side of the issue. Alkivar 06:21, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
well, i'll let you and JML hash it out. but, i do think it appropriate to acknowledge the term, as it is widely used. as to the 1st disputed paragraph, i think it should go as it is undocumented. I believe that's due to Silverback who seems to be quite resilient about his additions. Wolfman 06:26, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Some people would word this passage as "Nevertheless, the Bush administration has implemented a back-door draft by extending.... (etc.)" Your criticism would be valid if applied to that wording. In the actual wording, however, we're reporting a criticism that's been made, which is different from adopting the criticism ourselves. It's stated to be a criticism, it's attributed (through the link), and the phrase you object to is in quotation marks for further emphasis. In reporting debates on controversial issues, we frequently report on the spin phrases used by each side. The very first example I thought of was, IIRC, one of Newt Gingrich's favorites: "death tax" for what's long been called the estate tax. (Supposedly anyone on his staff who used the phrase "estate tax" in any context was fined one dollar. It always had to be "death tax" -- pure spin.) Sure enough, in our article (Inheritance tax#United States) we report that conservatives call it the "death tax".
As for the link, it's not as if we were holding up a pro-Kerry source as having a correct opinion. The linked article reports on a lawsuit. The alleged bias would come in only if there were a legitimate question as to the factual accuracy of the report. I think it would be good form for someone who wants to raise such a factual question to begin by doing at least some checking to see whether the point is legitimately in dispute. In this instance, it was the work of a moment to search for "back door draft" and come up with 11,900 hits on a Yahoo! search, the first page of which included this USA Today article about the California lawsuit. It confirms the basics, although the link I used has more information about the "John Doe" plaintiff's individual situation. (For good measure, here's another newspaper article.)
On the basis of the foregoing, I'll add the USA Today link and unstrike the passage. As for the first paragraph, I didn't write it. I can tell you that the Selective Service System website includes this page about a standby medical draft. JamesMLane 06:59, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

--Silverback 11:35, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC) I think the first paragraph and the stricken one should go, they are minor political fluff and very POV. Perhaps the realistic provisions for a medical draft can be retained. If we are to retain the first paragraph, it should be noted that Charles Wrangel also voted against the proposal, and the list of oppenents should be made more balanced, the libertarian party, milton freidman, william F. Buckley, George W. Bush, John Kerry, hundreds of congressmen and senators, etc. The back door draft issue seems more legitimate, although in my modification, I note that I put "involuntary" in quotes. Soldeirs receive a lot of "involuntary" orders in war. In a voluntary military, the question is whether they are really "involuntary" in the usual sense, and whether they are "innocent civilians", the usual victims of a draft. Frankly, I question whether anyone can really give informed consent to yield such complete control over their lives to a government given the unpredictable nature of the future. Critics of people who change their mind midstream and refuse to follow orders, argue that they don't see how the military can work without discipline. Advocates of freedom suggest that the military get better at screening for the right kind of people, issuing orders that they will follow and paying the amounts necessary to attract and retain them.--Silverback 11:35, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It's your addition that has POV problems. You assert that the Bush Administration's action was "authorized by statute". That's at issue in the lawsuits. Note this passage from the Contra Costa Times article:
"This is not a frivolous lawsuit," said Michael Noone, a military law specialist at Catholic University of America and a former judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force. "I had assumed the government had an ironclad case, but the complaint looks valid on its face. I'm really curious how the government will respond."
Furthermore, you personally may consider this "minor political fluff", but it has affected 20,000 people (so far) and is, objectively (in terms of public attention paid to it), much more significant than the Kerry national-service idea that you're so keen to broadcast. The Bush action is also much closer to what most people would expect to find in an article about "Conscription" in that it involves military service. JamesMLane 13:39, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The paragraph about the draft bill was the minor political fluff and extremely POV, since it only listed liberal opposition to the bill, the vote shows that it was just a political ploy. The back door draft is not political fluff and I treated it objectively. The note about it being authorized by statute, is from the link that I added, the government would have no case without that, because several laws are suspended by the executive order. Frankly, I thought, thought this explanation needed to be in there for the administration action to be comprehensible at all. I am uncertain about the chances of the lawsuit myself. Unfortunately, the declaration of war issue, has been raised several times with the draft, and the court has always decided the less-than-declaration authorizations by Congress were sufficient. So any chance of the case must rely upon technical issues with the order itself, which I don't know enough about to judge. I'd be happy if the case was won, but courts often don't let the language of the law get in the way of decisions they want to make. I don't see how my phrasing in the paragraph is POV, it makes the issues clear, even though I think the back door draft is wrong. I think it should be illegal, but I think it probably is not based on current case law giving, I beleive undue, deference to the executive branch.--Silverback 14:06, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I went back to look at the language, and you are wrong, I did not say the administration action was authorized by statute, that would have been POV, I stated that stop loss orders are authorized by statute, whether their order complied with the requirements and is properly applied to the compainant, is what the courts will decide, probably incorrectly. :-( --Silverback 14:19, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I think your phrasing would confuse many readers. I've tried to reword the description of the legal contentions, while stepping gingerly because we don't have the actual papers -- I know from experience that reports of a litigation in the popular press can be laughably wrong. At least the New Standard article included more direct quotations from the complaint, so I've relied on that for the allegations about the relationship among the statute, the Executive Order, and the stop-loss orders. JamesMLane 15:55, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

On the first paragraph disputed paragraph, no one has really defended. It is true that there is a contingency plan for a draft. But this seems to be required by a law of Congress from several years back. So putting it at Bush's feet seems a tad unfair. Currently, the DoD, SecDef, & Pres all disavow any plans to draft doctors. [1] Removing paragraph.

I believe that the NPOV tag ought to be stricken, as Alkivar's stated concerns have been addressed. Wolfman 14:53, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I concur Alkivar 15:58, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Excuse me for lack of formatting, but I had to register to show this point. The article is very biased against Bush because it discusses the "Back Door Draft" twice but never once ever mentions that it is a practice done in every major conflict in United states history. Lasersailor184 15:33, 15 Feb 2006


Herewith my explanation for reverting Alkivar's latest edits:

  1. Quotation from Bush: It was earlier cited to a CNN transcript. It's better to cite to Wikisource if available. I changed the citation to Wikisource and conformed the quotation to the text as found therein. The first sentence of the previous quotation was redundant, so I deleted it; the second sentence is where Bush states his position.
  2. Anderson citation: Please refer to my comments above about your objections to the source about the lawsuit. Here again we're not offering anyone's opinions as gospel truth. The article cited, although it is an opinion piece, is asserting an objective fact, that Anderson has made certain statements. I'm not going to go off on another search. If you have any kind of evidence that USA Today misreported Anderson's position, feel free to present it and we'll investigate. Until then, there's no reason not to link to this source. JamesMLane 17:19, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Query re FCNL link[edit]

The external links have included this one: "Dan Smith article in FCNL". I expanded "FCNL" to Friends Committee on National Legislation, but then, when I went to check the link, it turned out be a list of a whole bunch of articles. It wasn't immediately obvious what was being linked to here, or why.

The closest match I could find was this one. Although it's titled "Rock the Draft", it's more about campaign-related issues than about conscription itself. (It's about the Republican National Committee trying to intimidate Rock the Vote.) This link might belong in one of the campaign articles, but it doesn't seem to be appropriate here. I'm removing the link. If the reader should be directed to a different article on the FCNL site, the link should be restored but with a more precise URL. JamesMLane 06:52, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hagel Quotation[edit]

Removed the Hagel quote because the link-footnote does not contain it - it just goes to Wes Pruden's latest column. Certainly if a correct link can be found the quote can go back in.

Nevertheless, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) stated that a military draft may be necessary "in the future."

Ellsworth 00:37, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

cut from conscription page[edit]

This is all probably unrescueable POV. Zeimusu 14:17, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)

Perception of the Draft as Unfair[edit]

Some people feel that the draft is unfair because only males are required to register with the Selective Service, and it's only males that could potentially be drafted. The draft has been perceived by some as unfairly targeting the poor and lower middle classes. Because of college deferments, children of wealthy and upper middle class families that could afford to send them to college could avoid the draft. The fact that President Clinton had avoided military service through the use of a deferment caused controversy during his campaigns and during his time in office.

Some children of wealthy families wished to avoid a perception of avoiding military service. Those individuals would often sign up for the National Guard. The fact that some were able to use their family's connections to gain a position when spots in the guard were limited also led to a perception that the wealthy were using the National Guard to ensure that their children were assigned low risk duty in the states. This is an issue that has affected President George W. Bush - some of his critics contend that his family influence gained him a spot in what was called the Champagne unit of the Texas National Guard rather than being drafted.

Also, the draft system itself in the United States was not entirely a fair and impartial system. There have been cases where local draft boards misused their authority in the past.

While the government had instituted reforms to deal with what were perceived to be the worst abuses, some people feel that more can still be done. Others feel that any military draft is inherently unfair because only a small percentage of eligible draftees are needed at only one time. One leading opponent of military draft restoration, State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, said "The draft hurts military efficiency by substituting well motivated volunteers for unmotivated draftees, undermines military pay and benefits by removing the need to attract volunteers, and creates anxiety and unrest among tens of millions of people who will never serve. It is a dangerous psuedo-solution to a non-existent problem."

The provisions for conscientious objection to the draft have also been viewed as unfairly descriminatory, favoring religious objection over non-religious objection, and favoring those who value peace and non-violence over those who value freedom. Alternative mandatory service can assuage objections based on peace and non-violence, but do nothing for those who objections arise from strongly held convictions about freedom. Many who object to the draft find it directly conflicts with the liberty clause they committed themselves to in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I hadn't noticed this discussion when I deleted a paragraph from this section earlier today, nonsense originally added to the Conscription article from a known vandal and then copied here. Problems of unfairness are documented and can be referenced. I am also in favor of removing the speculation in this section and replacing it with citable information. JonHarder 20:04, 1 January 2006 (UTC)


I believe it is a mistake to take this section out. Yes, it expresses a point of view, but it is a point of view that is necessary to understand why there has not been a draft in the United States for over 31 years, and why both Bush and Kerry, and well as the the platforms of the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the Liberterian and Green Parties, opposed reinstatement.

It is one thing to advocate for something; it is something else to explain the intellectual reasons why something is the way it is. Are sections of articles on the revolutionary war going to be edited so that the grievances of the American colonists not be listed for fear of a violation of NPOV? Are sections of articles on the civil war going to be edited so that views for and against the abolition of slavery not be printed for fear of a violation of NPOV? Are articles on communism, McCarthyism, Nazism, etc. going to be edited so that a reader will not be able to learn of either the appeal or repulsion that these ideologies held?

NPOV is an ideal, which, like other ideals, should be leavened with common sense. A literal all encompassing view of NPOV will lead to the destruction of Wikipedia as a valuable resource for history, political science, sociology, economics, etc.

Zulitz, 20:44, December 26, 2004 (UTC)

Don't delete this section without discussing it. The ongoing debate about the draft should be reported, it is not considered perfect as is, which is why it is so controversial, and part of that controversy, is not just that the draft is immoral torture, but that even among those that might otherwise support it, it is viewed as unfair, sometimes irrepairably unfair, sometimes with complaints it might be possible for a system to address. The last election showed that the overall perception of the draft is negative and a political hot potato. Turning this article into a mere legal history of different implementations of the draft, guts it of its life blood and fails to inform the reader.--Silverback 08:12, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Problem with 'freedom to preserve'[edit]

The counter argument to this position is that with rights, come inherent responsibilites. A person unwilling to make at least some sort of contribution (alternate service at a minimum) has effectively devalued their own freedom, since they have deemed it unworthy of any effort on their part to preserve it.
huh? what "freedom to preserve"? One that believes in freedom doesn't have to believe in the government, too. One may be an anarchist, who believes every government, both domestic (ruling the country the person in question lives in) and foreign are enemies of freedom that should be eliminated (peacefully or violently). Therefore, one may even be keen to fight (given that there are some militant anarchists), but not for the government. Also there are some extreme pacifists, who love freedom, but wouldn't fight for it, because they reject *any* violent conflict, even in the self-defense. Critto
Whether such views should exclude from the draft is another question (as for me there should be NO draft at all), but to deny that someone believes in freedom on the basis that he refuses "to defend it" in the name and under the direction of government makes no sense at all. Critto

conscription template[edit]

There is a conscription template. Shall we use it? Zeimusu 00:12, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)

I don't think it improves in any way on the normal methods of linking related articles. It's not really an appropriate subject for a template. What does the template accomplish that couldn't be done with internal wikilinks or, if absolute need be, a category? JamesMLane 01:10, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Court decisions[edit]

There's a reference to a 1919 Supreme Court decision but with no title, citation or link. A somewhat similar decision from 1920 is Gilbert v. Minnesota, 254 U.S. 325 (1920) (text available here). Is that the one that's meant? Regardless, I'm dubious about including any such reference, given that those cases are clearly no longer good law. For example, during the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court held that wearing a jacket saying "Fuck the Draft" was protected free speech. JamesMLane 01:40, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)

At your request, I put in the citation. RJII 04:51, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I've moved the discussion of the legality of suppressing criticism to a paragraph separate from the one about the legality of the draft itself, and I added the Vietnam-era Cohen and O'Brien cases to bring the section more up to date.
As for the other quotations, the passage from Einstein et al. is not about the applicability of the Thirteenth Amendment, just because it happens to use the word "servitude". It doesn't even relate specifically to conscription in the United States. It's just a general argument against conscription. It belongs in the article on Conscription, and I would've moved it there except that it's already there. The quotation from Rand does relate to whether the draft is permissible under the U.S. Constitution, but it adds nothing to that discussion. Rand gives no argument or analysis; she simply asserts her position. The mere assertion might be worth reporting if it came from a notable authority, but Rand has no particular credentials for addressing a legal subject. I replaced that quotation with a reference to Douglas's opinion in favor of granting certiorari in Holmes. Douglas, unlike Rand, is qualified to opine on matters of U.S. constitutional law. JamesMLane 06:22, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
One of the issues was whether conscription was involuntary servitude on which the Supreme Ct let the lower court ruling stand. Moral authorities are as qualified to opine on that as the courts, perhaps more so. Perhaps it would be helpful if you included the lower court's analysis of the words "involuntary servitude", to see if they are any more cogent than Rand's plain reading of them, was it the "involuntary" or the "servitude" they hung their hat upon? Are those subject to the draft, based on this decision, free to not to "serve"? Based on your reasoning, not only are the moral authorities unqualified, but so are earlier judges and courts, since later courts decided they didn't quite get the law right, where does it end? Unfortunately the courts are lawless and we must look to the moral authorities for an honest regard for the truth. --Silverback 07:05, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Your strong agreement with Einstein et al. is not an adequate basis for shoehorning your anticonscription beliefs into every nook and cranny of Wikipedia. The issue is not whether Einstein is a moral authority or who has the most cogent reading or the deepest understanding or whatever. The particular issue being discussed in this section is whether the draft in the United States violated the Thirteenth Amendment. The quotation simply doesn't address that point. The coincidence of the word "servitude" doesn't mean that Einstein et al. were offering a legal analysis. They were, instead, offering a generic argument against the draft, one not tailored specifically to the U.S., let alone the U.S. Constitution. Any reporting of their opinion belongs in the article on conscription in general, not in this article.
Unlike Einstein et al., Rand was addressing the Thirteenth Amendment point. My view is that her opinion on the subject is not worthy of being reported in Wikipedia. She has no credentials as a legal scholar; she was not prominent in the U.S. in the actual resistance to conscription when it was in place; the quotation you've given here consists solely of her conclusory statement of her opinion, with no analysis that would enlighten a reader on the issue. Nevertheless, in the hope of averting an edit war, I've included the statement that she disagreed with all the courts that have considered the legality point.
Your argument equating earlier court decisions with "moral authorities" shows how completely you miss the point. The court decisions aren't included because judges are a source of wisdom from whom we should learn. The decisions are included because this section is a factual history of the issue of the legality of the draft in the U.S. In that connection, what the courts did is relevant information. I think that, in an earlier edit, I changed some phrasing along the lines of "the Supreme Court expressed its opinion that...." The point is not what nine people happen to think, but what an institution of the U.S. government, one empowered with resolving such questions, actually did. As one later Supreme Court Justice said, "We are not final because we are infallible; we are infallible because we are final." Even if every Wikipedian editing this article were to conclude that the Court was wrong in one or more of these cases, the Court's actions would still be part of the factual history and worth reporting. JamesMLane 23:39, 31 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Let's just create a section on the morality of conscription, and we don't have to bicker about this. RJII 02:21, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)
A sensible suggestion, except that we already have multiple sections on every conceivable argument against conscription. They're in the Conscription article, which is the proper home for material that isn't U.S.-specific. For example, the quotation that Silverback keeps trying to insert here -- a quotation that's about conscription in general -- is already quoted in full in the article that's about conscription in general. JamesMLane 03:37, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)
"Rand has no particular credentials for addressing a legal subject." Rand is the foremost authority on individual liberty of the 20th century. Her entire philosophy can be summed up as a study of the justified use of force. What could be more apropos? She certainly was both alive and well-known throughout the 20th century, during most of which the United States employed conscription. Rand was well ahead of her time. That later protests against conscription were partially based on her political philosophies is unquestionable. Her opinion on the subject carries more weight to thinking Americans than a few sentences from a court too dumbstruck to even consider making a reasoned legal argument. (Now that I've written this I notice a similar defense below.) --Benjamindees 02:51, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Apparently the courts have not ruled that conscription is not "involuntary servitude", just that other things such as powers granted in other parts of the constitution and "supreme and noble duty" (as long as "exacted" by representative bodies) outweight this particular amendement. The apropo part of the 1918 decision, which only addressed 1 line to the great questions summarily dismisses it without supporting analysis or deliberation. I quote it here:

"Finally, as we are unable to conceive upon what theory the exaction by government from the citizen of the performance of his supreme and noble duty of contributing to the defense of the rights and honor of the nation as the result of a war declared by the great representative body of the people can be said to be the imposition of involuntary servitude in violation of the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment, we are constrained to the conclusion that the contention to that effect is refuted by its mere statement."

This is basically little more than an argument from nationalism in the Hegelian/fascist style. There is no evidence this aspect of the decision was made on "legal" grounds, no consideration of legislative intent, no comparison with other forms of servitude, not even a suggestion of conflict with other parts of the constitution. They assert a "duty", without suggesting a "legal" duty, they are intruding on moral grounds better addressed by respected authorities such as Einstein, Gandhi and Rand.--Silverback 09:22, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Exactly, and this language reminds me of what happened in the communist countries (how do I know? I lived in one, namely the People's Republic of Poland) : any criticism was dismissed at first, as 'being uttered by the enemies of the people, by the foes of the working class, by the capitalist imperialists and fascists', while socialism, expressed in the ideals of Marx, Engels and Lenin (whatever it meant) were reiterated as 'the moral and noble political regime'. Of course, no discussion whatever was acceptable... Sadly, lots of things I know about the US law reminds me of communist regimes. Critto
The point of the Arver decision was that the Justices saw military conscription as being fundamentally different from antebellum chattel slavery. Agree or disagree as you wish, that's what they meant by that "we are unable to conceive" phrasing. Your paraphrase -- that the court was "ruling that it (the courts) lacked the conceptual ability to" understand your argument -- gives the impression that the Court's "unable to conceive" figure of speech meant "We're too dumb to follow a genius like Silverback." It's a total distortion of the opinion.
He's right ..that's what the court is saying. It's saying that they cannot conceive how the draft can be involuntary servitude ..plain as day. The implication seems to be that their fervent belief that people have a moral obligation to fight for the country somehow blocks their ability to reason. RJII 20:12, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Come on, you've got to admit they presented no legal reasoning. They believed in their conception of "duty" and think it is obvious. You are trying to claim "we are unable to conceive" is a term of legal art, that means that "military conscription as being fundamentally different from antebellum chattel slavery". They did not report any consideration of the issue in their decision, they just dismissed the issue, as being overridden by a "duty", that they did not develop a legal basis for.--Silverback 03:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As for Holmes, it simply makes no sense to say that the court "did not conclude that the draft was not involuntary servitude but instead ruled that the governments power to conscript has been established". If the law violated the Thirteenth Amendment then it wouldn't be within the government's power. The only way this paraphrase could be correct would be if the issue hadn't been raised, but of course it was.
Here you are wrong again, yes correct legal reasoning would have required that if they found that they draft was involuntary servitude, that they declare it illegal, since the amendment came after the war powers granted the constition. But they did not perform correct legal reasoning, they focused on the war powers and perogitives and did not consider whether the draft met the legal definition of involuntary servitude.--Silverback 03:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Douglas's opinion comes closest to what you say, but my reading of his opinion is that he sees no merit to the argument that conscription constitutes involuntary servitude under the Thirteenth Amendment. If he thought that, there'd be no basis for distinguishing between wartime and peacetime. Instead, he analyzes whether it's within the government's power in the first place, including his discussion of the 1863 draft (which preceded the Thirteenth Amendment).
You're correct that the issue of the government's power (aside from Thirteenth Amendment considerations) was raised in Arver, though, so I've added that to the summary. The question arose only because of the narrower view of federal power that was taken back then. Today, the argument would be considered so obviously meritless that it would be brushed off in a couple of sentences, at most. JamesMLane 00:16, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think you are quite right and wrong. Yes it would be brushed off, just as before, in a sentence or two, but not because it is meritless, but for the exact opposite reason, because to consider its merit would mean they would have to either overrule the draft or engage in embarrassing perversities of logic.--Silverback 03:35, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Note that I didn't say the argument was meritless. I think it is, but my opinion to that effect doesn't matter. What I said was that it would be considered meritless. And so here we are, yet again, at a point that you've been getting wrong on multiple articles for months. Your opinion and my opinion about the merits of the argument are irrelevant. You keep wanting to argue such things in the articles. That's not the function of Wikipedia. We report facts, including facts about notable opinions. The Supreme Court's opinion about the constitutionality of the draft is notable. Even a lone Justice's opinion is notable. Ayn Rand's opinion on this subject is not notable, and I acquiesced in leaving that rubbish in the article only in an attempt to reach consensus.
You have changed the subject, in the original language you were arguing that the courts have rule that conscription wasn't "involuntary servitude". The fact is they haven't ruled on that.--Silverback 19:33, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Now, in your specific edit, you say that the Supreme Court ruled without consideration of the merits. What you really mean is: "They addressed this argument but brushed it off in a few sentences instead of going into the kind of lengthy analysis that Justice Silverback would have given it. The reason they did this is that no reasonable, fair-minded person could possibly by any stretch of the imagination disagree with my personal opinion on the subject; therefore, their failure to agree indicates that either they didn't really consider it, or they did consider it, knew I was right, and ducked the issue for political reasons, because they're a bunch of Hegelian fascists." If you want to put all that on your blog, go ahead. If you want to say in a Wikipedia article that the Court ruled without consideration of the legal merits, you're going to have to produce something more than just your say-so. The version I'm reverting to says that the Court rejected the argument. That's the fact. That's what a reader looking at the "Legality" section of this article wants to know.
Correction, in the 1918 decision they brushed it off in one sentence, and they didn't use a "legal" argument. That one sentence is the one I quoted above. Perhaps we can compromise on some language, such as "the court did not mention any legal problems or issues related to the 13th amendment prohibition on involuntary servitude."--Silverback 19:33, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The 1981 ruling upholding the sex discrimination could conceivably be overruled at some point, but there is not the slightest chance, anytime in the foreseeable future, that the Supreme Court will rule that the draft violates the Thirteenth Amendment. Whether the Court should make such a ruling is a different question. If you want to bolster your position by replacing the Rand reference with a citation to an actual legal authority who takes that view, it would certainly improve the article, but unattributed sniping at the Court's decision does not belong in the article. JamesMLane 14:50, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)
What does the "forseeable future" have to do with it? Since the draft isn't currently being imposed, only registration is, it would be difficult find grounds to bring a suit. The situation might be different if a "duty" type like Kerry had been elected, fortunately he wasn't.
Keep in mind your original contention, that it was "involuntary servitude" that had been ruled upon in these decisions, and that moral authorities did not have standing as experts on the legal issues. It is now clear that no legal issues were considered, and that the ruling was made outside the law, arguing from "supreme and noble duty". The very existence of this is open to question, and is probably harder to prove than the existence of "God".--Silverback 19:33, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The sentence you quoted is, IMO, polite legalese for the following: "It's been argued that the draft violates the Thirteenth Amendment. This argument is absurd. Chattel slavery and military conscription are two completely different things, and you'd have to be an idiot to think that the Thirteenth Amendment, intended to bar the former, also barred the latter." The "unable to conceive" language doesn't mean "we're too dumb to understand the argument" or "we've decided not to consider the argument." It means, "We've considered the argument, but this decision isn't even close."

Even your language while it more explicitly names the issues, fails to address them, if they are completely different things the difference should be able to be put into words and analyzed, and note the 13th amendment did not say chattel slavery, it said involuntary servitude. Furthermore, in the Douglas dissent that you cite, he addressed the 1863 law implementing the civil war draft, and dismiss its relevance to his analysis, because it was not a draft in the modern sense, so since the 13th Amendement was passed, some new kind of government coercion was invented that should have had to pass the constitutional filter, instead it was just given a pass.--Silverback 03:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Here again, if you want to find a reputable legal scholar who says something critical of the Arver decision, that comment would at least be a candidate for inclusion.

Every fact I now have in the legal section is documentable, how can you be objecting to the quotes that let the justices speak to themselves. What they state is not legalese, so I don't think it needs translation. --Silverback 03:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Even noting that the Court didn't analyze the argument at length is more detail than most readers will want in an article about the draft. To say that the Court didn't spend a lot of time on the argument may be one more little rock to throw, and therefore pleasing to any reader who has an obsession with every negative thing that can possibly be said about conscription, but that doesn't make it worth including in the article. Nevertheless, in another attempt to compromise, I've tried an edit that mentions this minor fact; we can mention it, and convey the information, without devoting several lines to the full quotation.

In the certiorari decision in Holmes, Douglas's opinion commented on the constitutionality of the draft and on the more general question of granting certiorari. A few edits ago, I added a summary of what he said on the former point, which is the subject of this article. The quotation on the latter point doesn't tell the reader anything about the draft. The Supreme Court receives many more cert petitions than it can accept. They have to pick and choose. No one argues that the Court should concentrate on trivia and ignore "basic norms of the [constitutional] system".

Sorry, I think here you are wrong. The court should grant cert everytime a lower court gets it wrong, whether it is the failure to grand a jury trial in a misdaemenor case, or the failure to grant a hearing on the transcripts for appelate review. That's the law. This bastardization the courts implement to accomodate a legislature that passes too many laws without authorizing more courts and in the name of "efficiency of the courts" just shows how lawless the law has become.--Silverback 03:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Justices vote according to which ones they think are important, and also according to whether they think the lower court got it right. I don't think that Douglas's quotation on that point adds anything to the reader's understanding of the draft. (Douglas, incidentally, was known for voting to grant cert quite often. If all the cert petitions that Douglas supported had been accepted, the Court would have been working off the backlog for years after his death. That's a fact that's relevant to assessing his vote to grant cert in Holmes, but I think it's too peripheral to include in an article on the draft. Because it would tend to undercut an anti-conscription point, I assume that there'll be no demand that it be included.)

I include it because it was a remarkably handy and apropo quote that allows the reader to conclude for himself that this might be exactly the kind of running away from an issue and their responsibility that the earlier court did in the 1918 "decision".--Silverback 03:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I also don't see what the Rand quotation adds. As I've mentioned above, there's really no reason to cite her at all in this context. She's not a lawyer. She has no credentials for opining on a question of constitutional law. I would omit her entirely (at least from the "Legality" section). As a compromise, I'm (reluctantly) willing to say that she still thinks the draft violates the Thirteenth Amendment -- so if we say that, what does the quotation add? We've already stated that the Thirteenth Amendment prohibits "involuntary servitude". She doesn't elaborate on her reasoning beyond that. Given that there's no real reason to include her opinion in the first place, there's certainly no reason to state her opinion twice. JamesMLane 22:58, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well, it "adds" a citation. Better than just claiming she said it with no evidence, right? RJII 00:58, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Rand at one time was only exceeded in book sales by the bible. Her books often show up in polls of the top ten most influential books in peoples lives. She was remarkable in attempting a moral defense of freedom and capitalism at a time when even those who supported them did so apologetically.
I think the einstein and Gandhi quotes should come back in also. They had more conceptual ability than that court.--Silverback 03:57, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Rand: We should be diligent about citations for controversial or possibly disputed points. I can't imagine that Ayn Rand being against the draft is something that anyone would find surprising or controversial, though. Nevertheless, since you people so desperately want to include a citation, I've added the reference but without the verbatim quotation. If it's available online somewhere, that would make it more accessible and therefore more valuable to the readers. In looking for the article, I found that it dates from 1967, before Holmes, so I changed "these decisions" (which would include Holmes) to "the Supreme Court's ruling in Arver".
Nonlawyers in general: If Rand had happened to toss off a comment about the Big Bang versus Steady State theories of the universe, would it merit citation in the cosmology article just because she sold a lot of books? The point is that this section of the article is about the "Legality" of the draft. Rand, AFAIK, was not recognized as an expert on U.S. constitutional law, was not a member of the bar, and never attended law school. The same is true of Einstein et al. (except, of course, that Einstein could legitimately be quoted on a cosmological issue). A Wikipedian's personal opinion about some source's "conceptual ability" doesn't justify shoehorning quotations from that source into every conceivable context. The Einstein quotation is already where it belongs, in the general Conscription article; it doesn't relate specifically to conscription in the U.S., so there's no reason to duplicate it here.
Discussion of Arver: Silverback, the text you keep restoring is inaccurate in its summary of the Court's decision, because it implies that the Court didn't consider the issue. More important is that you don't identify any inaccuracies in my summary, nor do you address my argument that your text gives far too much space to irrelevancies. What factual information that's important to the issue of the legality of the draft is omitted? JamesMLane 04:21, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It is clear that the court didn't give "a reasoned opinion", it only gave one line of consideration to the 13th Amendment, there is no way you can portray that as a reasoned opinion, and your analogies are wrong, this is not Rand and Gandhi trespassing on the field of law, this is lawyers trespassing on the fields of morality and philosophy. The Arver court did not make any attempt to establish a "supreme and noble duty" on any legal foundation, they just asserted it. Yes, there can be no doubt the Federal government has the "power" to do what it does to conscripts, it only has the authority because the courts let the law take it in the rear during times of war.--Silverback 04:39, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Fine, so the article shouldn't say "The Court gave a reasoned opinion on the Thirteenth Amendment issue." No one has proposed that the article say that. I've accommodated your hostility to Arver by including the statement (of very little relevance, IMO) that the Court gave the argument short shrift, drawing the contrast to its treatment of the federalism issue. As to what field it is, a section headed "Legality" that addresses the issue of whether a statute violates the Constitution is most definitely entering the field of law. If you want another analogy, I would consider it absolutely unquestionably clear that before the Civil War, slavery was (a) immoral and (b) legally permissible in much of the U.S. The two points aren't inconsistent, precisely because legality and morality are different fields. Someone who said that, in 1860, slavery was illegal, and who supported that POV by talking about its morality, would be talking nonsense, and would not merit quotation no matter how great his conceptual powers or how many books she had sold. JamesMLane 05:32, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
"short shrift" does fit the needs of the situation, because there is a presumption that when the court grants cert and then an opinion, that it is a reasoned opinion, i.e., perhaps the reasoning was short because the law was clear, a couple of precedents or something. This presumption must be overcome, and the fairest way to do so, in this situation, is to let the totality of that portion of their "reasoned opinion" on the issue, because, once identified as the one and only line, that line speaks for itself.
By your analogy, the 1918 court was talking nonsense, because it said that conscription did not violate the "involuntary servitude" of the 13th amendment, and then proceded to defend it by talking about the morality of conscription as a "supreme and noble duty", even as the admitted in their own words that it was "exaction ... of performance", admitting both the involuntary and the servitude elements. They were speaking nonsense by your definition, and they are "inconsistent" by mine. In either case, their words should be allowed to speak for themselves in their disregard for both the law and morality, and contrasted with the basic commense understanding of anyone who can read and understand what the meaning of "is" is.--Silverback 16:03, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
On further thought, I think you are failing to distinguish between the amorality of the law, and lack of integrity within the law, just because the law is or sometimes can be orthogonal to morality, does not imply the nihilistic position that whatever the courts decide is the law, otherwise, courts could never reverse themselves or reconsider issues and one could never use legal arguments to advocate reconsideration of decisions. The courts are rife, with lack of integrity, such as this 1918 decision that fails to consider the legal issues raised by the 13th amendment, such as those times that you mentioned when the courts fail to grant cert for practical considerations instead of the legal merits, and when the court fails to rigorously construct its decisions and thus allows erosive precedents such as "efficiency of the courts", to spread like computer viruses eroding everything, including constitutional rights such as that to a jury trial which supposedly had supermajority protections.--Silverback 16:19, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Forgive me if this sounds condescending, but your approach is the kind of reasoning that's more often seen from nonlawyers than from lawyers -- that there's one right answer to every case, and if the Court doesn't reach what you consider the "right" answer, it must be that the Court failed to consider the issues, or was pursuing some other agenda, or some such explanation. Lawyers are more likely to see nuances, understand how two (or more!) different sides of a question can have merit, etc. An example of nuance here is the continuum of jury duty - military conscription - chattel slavery. Each can be said to be "exaction ... of performance". Each can be said to have the elements of "involuntary" and "servitude". Is compulsory jury duty prohibited by the Thirteenth Amendment?
I understand these nuances and do have concerns about compulsory jury duty and compulsory testimony, although the way the former is practiced poses little problem for those who object to it to get out of it. I think you mistake my objection to be based on black-white reasoning, where I object more to lack of rigor. I realize laws anc principles can conflict and must be weighed, what I object to is when mistakes clearly are made and procedures clearly are not followed and a principle as amorphous and non-rigorous and subjective as ruling the error nonprejudicial or even just denying cert are used. The flexibility granted and exercised by courts, despite the humanizing rhetoric is more often exercised for efficiency, convenience and prejudice rather than mercy. I look forward to the time when legal reasoning becomes rigorous enough to replace judges with computers, and decisions with proofs.--Silverback 20:33, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
That argument, of course, relates to the question of which side of dispute is right. Part of the reason you and I so often disagree is that you're frequently arguing that question (who's right) on the talk page, and then shaping the article according to your personal opinion about who's right. For purposes of writing the article, however, your personal disagreement with the Arver decision, and your denunciations of the "amorality of the law", are utterly irrelevant. For purposes of writing the article, the question is how best to present the facts to the reader. I keep asking you what actual information (as opposed to Silverback editorializing) is being omitted from my version, and you generally don't answer. Your latest comment appears to offer one answer, namely that my language conveys the facts, but that you want to elaborate on and emphasize the point about "short shrift" because it supports your personal disagreement with the Court. My version more efficiently gives the reader the information, namely that the opinion was mostly about federalism, not the Thirteenth Amendment. Furthermore, there is no presumption about a grant of certiorari, as you claim. Sometimes the Court grants cert and then doesn't even issue an opinion. More commonly, the Court grants cert because it sees one or two important issues, but the lawyers, trying to win the case, include every argument they can think of. There's certainly no presumption that when the Court grants cert it will deliver an exhaustive analysis of every argument that some lawyer advances. In this instance, the Arver opinion suggests to me that cert was granted because the Court saw a significant issue, needing decision, in the question whether the federal power encompassed conscription. (At that time, the role of the federal government was conceived as being much more limited than it is today.) I wouldn't be surprised if the lawyers briefing the Arver appeal thought their best shot was the federalism issue, but decided that they might as well toss in the Thirteenth Amendment argument just in case it worked. (I've been in those situations where we followed the axiom of "Why use one argument when three are available" and one of the "toss-in" arguments that we didn't have much hope for turned out to be the winner.)
Yes, the court was probably wrong on the federalism issue also. While an exhaustive analysis of every argument may not be presumed, when the court does mention a matter of law, it is expected that it would be dealt with as a legal issue. Those given short or dismissive treatment are usually for legal reasons, such as the cite of a case where the issue was already decided, or the issue being rendered moot by another decision the court just made, etc.
Your "short shrift" version does not give the same information more efficiently, in fact it is a POV statement, that loses information. My version, notes what the decision did or did not say in regard to the 13th amendment. From the information I give, the reader can see the actual language and reasoning used by the court and decide whether it is short shrift for themselves. It is without a doubt, just one statement, and doesn't parse the meaning of the words, and my version makes that clear in an non-POV way. The antiquated "supreme and noble duty" language gives a sense of the prejudices and "reasoning" of the judges making the decision.--Silverback 20:33, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Aside from NPOV and efficiency in presenting information, there's also the question of importance. This section of the article is a summary of the legality question. A law review article on the subject could cite, and discuss at length, every applicable case. For one section of an encyclopedia article about the draft, though, we have to make judgments about what's important enough to include. The relevance of my comment about the "foreseeable future" is that, even if a draft were resumed in the near future, the Thirteenth Amendment argument would be of zero practical importance. No U.S. court would take it seriously. There would be opposition to the draft on several different moral grounds; on the practical grounds that it was facilitating an imperialist foreign policy; and, probably, on the legal grounds that the sex discrimination was unconstitutional. In that whole scenario, the Thirteenth Amendment argument would play no role. Therefore, an encyclopedic summary doesn't need to do more than note that the argument has been rejected by the courts. JamesMLane 19:44, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Were you as a lawyer under the impression that the Arver court had decided the "involuntary servitude" issue? I don't know who originally put it in the article under the legality section, but since my involvement, you have suddenly decided you don't want is discussed there, even though the decision relating it is so brief that it can be efficiently presented fairly completely. But if other lawyers and nonlawyers have the same misimpression that you possibly had, we are doing a service by correcting that common misimpression. --Silverback 20:33, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Of course the Court decided the issue. They didn't decide it the way you would have liked and they thought it was a foolish argument that didn't merit extensive analysis, but you can criticize them on those grounds until you're blue in the face and you won't change the fact that they decided the issue. Your statement that I don't want it discussed in this section is completely false. The version of the "Legality" section that I'm restoring addresses the "Legality" issue. If your "suddenly decided" language implies that I've changed my mind, no, I haven't, I still think Rand's fulminations have no place in the section, but as I've explained I'm willing to tolerate them to try to reach consensus.
By the way, it doesn't matter for this article, but the trend is to make it harder to get out of jury duty. Here in New York, the exemption for lawyers has been abolished, as has the exemption for the elderly, and a 70-year-old friend of mine and I have both had to show up. JamesMLane 21:37, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You have stated no wiki objections to the text that I put forward, other than its length, and its citing non-lawyers in a legal section. Whereas, I have stated a wiki objection to your "short shrift" phrase as being POV. Although the version I have proposed takes a few lines more, it is more NPOV, because it doesn't assume that lawyers and courts are authorities on the law, instead lets their words speak for themselves and lets the readers constrast them with the words of others.--Silverback 08:15, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You mention two very valid objections to your text, that it's too long and that it includes improper opinions -- one from a nonlawyer popping off on a legal issue, and one from a group of people who aren't even addressing the issue of legality. You left out other major objections to your language. In addition to those two, I'd cite, as the third (and most important), that what you keep inserting is a false and misleading statement of what the Supreme Court did or didn't do. If you want to include your opinion that the Court 'did not rule the draft was not "involuntary", or not "servitude", or some specialized legal combination of the two,' then you're going to have find some quotable person who says that about the Arver decision. I won't object to the inclusion of an opinion that differs from mine, harebrained though it might be, if the opinion is properly attributed to someone whose opinion merits inclusion in the article. As I've said before, although I'm opposed to the draft, my personal opinion is that the Thirteenth Amendment challenge to it is meritless. Nevertheless, I haven't tried to include my opinion in this article. My opinion isn't worth including any more than yours is.
My description that the court did not address the language, is true by inspection of the decision and not a mere opinion, rather like counting the number of lines devoted to the 13th Amendment discussion. When a contributer here decides to number their bullet points, we don't consider the count an opinion. What is false or misleading about the statment? Perhaps you are considering their language "exacting ... performance ... of ... duty" as a parsing of the words?--Silverback 09:58, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Oh, now you say that your description is "that the court did not address the language", which of course is different from your earlier statement -- you said that "the impression that the Arver court had decided the 'involuntary servitude' issue" was a "misimpression" of myself and other lawyers, which you would kindly correct for us. The Court decided the issue without quoting dictionary definitions of the Constitutional terms. The Court decides most issues without quoting dictionary definitions. I assume this fact appalls you, because you "look forward to the time when legal reasoning becomes rigorous enough to replace judges with computers, and decisions with proofs." Although it's not relevant to this article, you would have a very hard time finding anyone knowledgeable in the law who agreed with that vision. What is relevant to the article is the fact that courts in the U.S. don't operate that way and never have. The Justices didn't decide the Thirteenth Amendment issue in the automaton-like fashion that you recommend. They did decide it, though. The language that you keep inserting gives a false and misleading impression of the decision, because it would cause many readers to think, in line with your earlier comment that I just quoted, that the Court didn't decide the issue. JamesMLane 10:37, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
The fourth problem I've mentioned is that many of your choices, such as the elaboration of the standards for granting cert, are blatantly POV. The quotation from Douglas about the standards that the Court should apply in hearing cert petitions sheds no light on the subject of whether the draft is constitutional. You want to include it solely because you don't like the draft and you want to throw rocks at it whenever you can, so you want to play up some other basis for attacking the Court's denial of cert in Holmes.
The quote is criticising the court for shirking its duty to present reasoned opinions. This is highly relevant.--Silverback 09:58, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
It's highly relevant to the certiorari procedure. It's not highly relevant to the issue addressed in this section, namely the legality of the draft. You could with just as much justification insert this quotation in every article where a discussion of legal issues includes a citation to a denial of cert. JamesMLane 10:37, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
As for your claim that "short shrift" is POV, what's POV about it? The point you want to convey is that the Court didn't engage in a lengthy analysis of the Thirteenth Amendment argument. I agree that even mentioning that fact is borderline POV, because it's of little importance except to someone who wants to attack the Court's decision, but obviously that's not your objection. My language doesn't assume that the Court was right. I simply stated, factually, what the holding was, and, in response to your preferences, I noted that the Court's decision on the Thirteenth Amendment was terse. There's no relevant factual information that's omitted. Is there some language other than "short shrift" that you want? Something like "did not engage in extensive analysis"? Surely we can give the reader the information more succinctly than a full quotation of the typically convoluted judicial language. JamesMLane 08:53, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
You don't cite an authoritative source for your "short shrift" POV, it is not merely descriptive like my text, yes there was only one line and saying that or saying they did not elaborate on involuntary servitude in their decision is mere description. Is one admittedly relatively long line, "short"? I include the line, so the reader can make their own decision.
OK, in yet another attempt to resolve this, I'll try different language, since you don't like "short shrift" but haven't offered anything of your own, other than continuing to revert to the version you want. JamesMLane 10:37, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
BTW, your edit claims you restored some external link, I did not modify the external link section. If you are referring to an external link that is in my version, please make the correction before you revert it, so that both version are as good as possible and we can focus only on issues truly in dispute. -- thanx, --Silverback 09:58, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, my mistake; there've been so many versions flying around, I think I was inadvertently looking at a version of yours from before I'd added the link. JamesMLane 10:37, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

You must be thinking of a link you added that I incorporated since it wasn't in dispute. I hope my latest version is a satisfactory compromise. I really think this opportunity to include the complete relevant text and letting it speak for itself rather than characterizing it is rare, and should be taken advantage of.--Silverback 11:01, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Setting it out the way you have makes it abundantly, hideously clear that this passage is POV. We blow off in a few words what the Court actually considered in depth, and then we indent and block quote to highlight a minor aspect of the opinion -- the difference between the two subjects being that one persistent Wikipedian has an obsession about the "draft as slavery" stuff. A reader who pays careful attention will be able to glean the information that the Wikipedia presentation differs dramatically from the Court's. Many readers, however, won't read it closely enough to notice the point. We'll mislead them into thinking that the decision was mainly about the Thirteenth Amendment. Maybe one of these days I'll find the time to put this on RfC and try to correct this propagandizing. Meanwhile, we can at least conform to the MoS (wikilink first occurrence, don't italicize block quotes) and respect the difference between "It's" and "Its". JamesMLane 13:55, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)

--Silverback 07:24, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC) Now that I have read the rest of the opinion, I find the short passage to be representative of the quality if not the verbosity of the whole decision. Yes there are at least some cases cited and law discussed, but it is replete with leaps to conclusions justfied by no more than hyperbolic language about things which cannot be doubted or conceived, that can easily be doubted and conceived with very little effort. The inherent assumption of and deference to the perogatives of nations and sovereignty betray minds with limited analytic ability to be aware of or question their own assumptions.--Silverback 07:24, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Silverback, marvelous job of defending the truth of the matter. I'll make a few more arguments in case anyone cares. It's obvious that the court failed to address the issue. Any idiot (except idiots with law degrees) can read the Constitution and understand it. For some reason I think it was designed that way intentionally. In order for amendments to have any effect, they must override previous articles. To believe otherwise makes the Constitution subject not to its words as written or to the wishes of its authors but to the whims of its interpreters. Clearly the authors of the 13th amendment wished to prohibit not only slavery, but any vestiges of it, no matter how ingrained. By including the prohibition of "involuntary servitude", they made the scope of the amendment as broad as possible, while still expressing the fundamental tenents of that which they found morally reprehensible: being forced to do that which one does not wish to do. In doing so, they recognized the effect this prohibition would have on the legitimate exercise of government power. They had the foresight to include an exception for that one legitimate purpose, "punishment for a crime whereof the accused shall have been duly convicted." They did not feel it necessary to permit any other acts of force by the state upon the people. Neither did Ayn Rand. And neither do I.

The court, however, seemingly too enamoured with their own role as constitutional interpreter, could not fathom any reason to limit the injurious, protested, and unnecessary exercise of ungranted state power. Well, I can think of one such reason: that the Constitution demands it. Morality demands it. Consent, as the basis of representative government, demands it.

But, while random strangers on the internet can spend hours writing pages of analysis on the 13th amendment and its effects on conscription, the US Supreme Court in their infinite legal wisdom can write little more than a single sentence devoid of meaning. To hold this sentence up as final judgement on the matter would be negligent of any American. At the least, I should hope that informing intelligent readers of its inadequacies would be germane to the mission of Wikipedia. --Benjamindees 02:51, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

why is offline?[edit]

Frightening news, if true....... The President has given the Selective Service System a set of readiness goals to be implemented by March 31, 2005. As part of these performance goals, the System must be ready to be fully operational within 75 days. This means we can look for the Draft to be in operation as early as June 15, 2005.

US Preparing for Military Draft in Spring 2005

The current agenda of the US federal government is to reinstate the draft in order to staff up for a protracted war on "terrorism." Pending legislation in the House and Senate (twin bills S 89 and HR 163) would time the program so the draft could begin at early as Spring 2005 -- conveniently just after the 2004 presidential election! But the administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed NOW, so our action is needed immediately. Details and links follow. If voters who currently supportU.S.aggression abroad were confronted with the possibility that their own children or grandchildren might not have a say about whether to fight, many of these same voters might have a change of mind. (Not that it should make a difference, but this plan would among other things eliminate higher education as a shelter and would not exclude women -- and Canada is no longer an option.)

I DELETED THE FOLLOWING: Senator Barry Goldwater proposed ending the draft during his unsuccessful 1964 campaign as the Republican candidate for President. Ted Wilkes 22:26, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

I added it back.--Silverback 22:28, August 2, 2005 (UTC)

Obviously the above text about the draft being reinstated by June is completely wrong, probably purposefully so. Its August now, and still no draft. Just another left wing bomb thrower. ColdFusion650

Needs additional explanation[edit]

Under the section Perception of the Draft as Unfair, the article says "Also, the draft system itself in the United States was not entirely a fair and impartial system. There have been cases where local draft boards misused their authority in the past." I think this statement by itselt does not belong in the article. Examples of misused authority should be provided. Some guy 05:55, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

A History of the Draft[edit]

In 1775 the Town or Pownalborough, Maine issued a proclamation requiring "all able-bodied men resident in the town to be enlisted in the Militia: as a defensive measure given the only Court House in Maine at the time was in Pownalborough. The Town Council proclamation also listed the organization of the Militia and the names of those so "drafted". This remarkable document can be found in the Massachusetts Archives in the Town Hall records for Pownalborough. Please remember that in 1775, as with today, a "Town" in Maine includes the whole township.

Yes, states sometimes used the draft during the American Revolution when enough militiamen didn't report for duty. I've added this to the article. —Kevin 02:46, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Were they drafted to serve in the federal army - under Washington.? Were they required to leave the township? Did the town of Pownalborough have the authority to draft? It listed the names - all ablebodied men should have covered it, who did they not name - let me guess, the rich? 17:17, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

From earliest colonial times "states" often resorted to a draft to fill militia ranks, and also to help organize standing units for war service, such as during the French and Indian War.

During the Revolutionary War states often filled with quotas by resorting to a draft.

--Al-Nofi (talk) 14:22, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Women and the Draft in America[edit]

This section (added by is taken from a Selective Service website, and is copyrighted by them. I don't know if it is considered public domain because it is a work of the US government. I am going to delete this section until this issue is resolved. --JW1805 16:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Buying Deferments[edit]

as i understand one could buy a deferment from the draft in the civil war, also i heard a reference to such a practice during the vietnam conflict. Can anyone learned in this matter post relevant info?

I think in the civil war, you could pay someone to serve in your place. I haven't heard of buying a deferment, then or later, but I haven't delved into this aspect much.--Silverback 19:17, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
It was called "buying a substitute" & many did; only about 25% of those drafted (from what I've read) actually served. Can't say if it persisted; urban legend has it, some gangsters did it as late as Vietnam. Trekphiler 00:36, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
See Conscientious objector#United States for some on this, including a reference to source material. JonHarder 20:11, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I believe that you could buy your way out for $300. You could also buy out if you could get someone to go for you - ie give a poor man $100,etc to send his son or himself in your stead. In th eUnion army many young men were sent in place of their older brother - offshot of primogeniter(spelling) oldest son got the farm,etc the younger sons got the boot /hopefully a trade- usually the boot. 17:21, 29 March 2007 (UTC)


2 things. During 'nam, if you volunteered, you had a much better chance of choosing your specialty & much less chance of getting sent to the war; recall, the U.S. was deployed worldwide, especially Europe. And, doesn't "stop loss" violate contract law? One party (USG or DoD) isn't permitted to arbitrarily change the terms without the consent of the other...& damned if I'd agree to staying in Iraq after the Pres lied to the country to get it in there. Trekphiler 00:40, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

No, stop loss doesn't violate any laws. Its included in the contract. As well as the fact that most 1st termers are on 8 year contracts, 4 years active, 4 years reserve.

Merger discussion[edit]

I posted a suggestion that Selective Service be merged into this article. Both deal with identical topics and I noted a lot of repitition between the two. Jtmichcock 14:13, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Mention Clinton, then mention Bush[edit]

I saw where statements in the article had been placed about Clinton's draft deferments as he was attending college had been the source of controversy. If we are going to mention Clinton by name, then in the interests of balance, I think we should also mention how Bush's service in the National Guard has also attracted controversy that wealthy and powerful were able to use the National Guard to get low risk state side assingments.
JesseG 22:32, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

In the interest of being correct it should be stated that Bush was in the Air National Guard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Can VETs get drafted also?[edit]

I've always wondered this. If you already served your 4 years active duty and 4 years inactive duty, and was honorably discharged, if a draft law is passed, can you actually be redrafted into the military?

Yes, you can be, although it would have to be very bad.. Like the US mainland being invaded or the such.

Had that situation ever happened before? I mean, not the US mainland being invaded but had completly seperated former service men be redrafted in before in US history?

There must be some WW1/WW2 and WW2/Korea vets who would know this - probably from sad personnel experience. Even Kores/VietNam cases must exist - real young in one war and middle aged in the next. I have never heard that being in a war was a draft deferment - at least officially. A veterans organization would know maybe - neat to see if there were appreciable numbers that we have never heard of ( noone ever thought to ask the question I bet ) 12:35, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

No vets would qualify. The draft ages are limited from 18 to 25 (inclusive). In theory one could be drafted twice, but this has to come from 2 different draft orders by congress.NYCDA 19:13, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

all volunteer force questioned?[edit]

The first paragraph really misses the point:

"The U.S. armed forces are now designated as "all-volunteer", although, in 2004 as well as during the 1991 Gulf war, some enlisted personnel were involuntarily kept in the Army after their initial voluntary enlistment commitments had expired."

The point of a volunteer force is that its members voluntarily ENTER it. In doing so, they freely and knowingly forego a right to exit at will. Explicitly, enlistment contracts state circumstances wherein they can be extended unilaterally by the government (this can often occur when a ship is at sea, the sailor's enlistment is extended until the ship returns to port.) There is nothing inherently contradictory about this. Please enlighten me why the statement should not be removed? -pbs

This might help provide some explanation, PBS: *The draft would weaken the world's best military, The Wall Street Journal editorial, November 25, 2006 Asteriks 02:42, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

So might this: *Reinstating the military draft by Walter E. Williams Asteriks 15:54, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree with User:pbs's analysis. The questionable sentence should not be in the lead paragraph. Since voluntary contracts were entered into by private citizens enlisting, and those contracts included provisions for extension of service under certain conditions, the exercise of that clause by the government does not a conscript make. N2e 19:23, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Disqualification based on only-child status?[edit]

I've heard that if you're the only child, or the only male child in some instances, you cannot be drafted. Is this possible? Rockhound 18:48, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Its a myth.

It's a myth. Here's a reference:

Footnote Section?[edit]

There are currently about 30 non-indexed footnotes in this article. Adding <ref></ref> tags to what's there will take some effort that I can't expend right now (because it's bed time). I'll do it sometime in the next few days if someone else doesn't get to it first.  Erielhonan  07:24, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

NPOV Quote[edit]

I don't know who the quote in the first paragraph is from. If it's just a student at Emerson College, it needs to be removed. No offense to the opinion, but an undergraduate is not a sufficient authority to get top billing on the page. I'm going to remove it but if there is more here, feel free to put it back with an explanation. Papercrab 21:09, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Selective Service & Draft Cards?[edit]

I wonder if it would be of any interest to post pics of selective service/draft cards from various eras? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:13, 12 March 2007 (UTC).

I would like to see a Civil War draft letter - "Welcome from Abe Lincoln...." 12:36, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Rangel's draft proposal - sort of tongue in cheek ( I don't think he was serious - maybe he was ) was in a way a sweeping indictment of the system. He also was warning Americans that constant war - big and/or small - would give us a draft when we weren't looking someday. Drafting everyone - no exemptions ( imagine seeing a kid from Greenich ducking the same bullet as a kid from Stamford ( seems almost unAmerican ). Rangel should have beefed up his bill to make sure that mission - ie frontline vs Hawaii - was also random. Imagine a kid from Greenich ducking bullets while a kid from Stamford loinged on the beach ( really perverted if you ask me ). 12:41, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I know it is cited - right from our government - but i find it hard to believe that only 2% were draftees in the Civil War. The average age of most of the soldiers from my state was in the mid-teens ( 15 I remember) and I doubt that most of these really volunteered. The replacement number - 6% - seems low. I suspect 15 year old poor boys didn't flock to war without a little push, nor would there have been draft riots from such a happy to serve crowd. 18:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Don't be so sure. There was a lot of patriotism, & I'd bet a lot of lying by underage guys to get in. Also a lot of enlisting for the bonus & prompt desertion... TREKphiler hit me ♠ 03:05, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Merge from Poverty Draft[edit]

Please merge relevant content, if any, from Poverty Draft per Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Poverty Draft. (If there is nothing to merge, just leave it as a redirect.) Thanks. Quarl (talk) 2007-04-08 07:47Z

Why does Poverty Draft redirect to Conscription in the United States, rather than Conscription, Military Service or National Service? Is it because the term "Draft" is not used in English speaking countries outside of the US?--Darrelljon 13:02, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Possible Plagiarism[edit]

Is it me, or does the opening paragraph of this website sound familiar (hint: the beginning of this page). They could be taking it from here, but it seems more likely that somebody took it from there. Kasey Klynstra (talk) 18:07, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually, looking at the page, it seems like most of it was just copied and pasted to here or from here. (talk) 18:11, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

It would help if you gave the URL of the site you are talking about. It may just be one of many Wikipedia echoes. Wasted Time R (talk) 21:44, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Very Important Information Missing[edit]

Are there any laws governing under what conditions a draft can be reinstated? For example, I've heard that, after the disaster of Vietnam, a law was passed that forbade reinstatement of the draft barring an invasion of U.S. soil. In fact, I've heard this so many times, from so many people, that I thought it was true. But there's nothing about that here, and no such law exists as an amendment to the Constitution. Is that whole "invasion of U.S. soil" thing merely the political science equivalent of an urban myth? In any case, if there any laws governing under what conditions a draft can be reinstated, that would seem to be a glaring omission in this article. Minaker (talk) 12:57, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Rod Powers article[edit]

I read the Rod Powers article listed in the external links. It's worth pointing out that the article, while highly informative in terms of objective facts, makes an argument (that there is no danger that the draft will be reinstated) which is partially based on extremely flawed logic. Note that I'm not saying whether or not I agree with Mr. Powers's conclusions, I am merely pointing out the problem with the article's logic.

One piece of evidence Powers uses is the current administration's repeated and unequivocal public statements that it does not support the draft, which Powers says makes the administration's views on the draft "very clear." The problem with this argument is: How many times has the current administration repeated unequivocal claims about policy that have been outright lies? I won't get into a "Bush is bad, no he isn't" argument here, but whoever thinks the Bush administration has been 100% truthful in its public statements simply hasn't been paying attention, end of story.

Another piece of evidence Powers uses to prove that the draft will not be reinstated is that reinstatement of the draft would simply be a "bad idea," a major point which Powers then goes on to defend quite convincingly. However, the logical flaw here is that Powers is assuming that just because something is a bad idea means that it won't be put into action. Just some food for thought. Minaker (talk) 13:46, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

hey the draft does break the constitution because it denies the pursuit of happiness and the right of life liberty

Merger with National Service[edit]

  • Strongly oppose. Conscription is military, only. National service is not, and there is a moral differnece. Pustelnik (talk) 21:49, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Do not merge. National service is about to become a hot political issue in the United States thanks to current efforts of fake grassroots organizations like Be The Change Inc and Americans for a National Service Act. --Error28 (talk) 05:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose any merger but where is this even proposed? There's a procedure for merger proposals. JamesMLane t c 08:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Support From the National Service page: "National service is a common name for mandatory or voluntary government service programs (most often focusing on military service)." That makes this sound like these are the same subject, an effort should be made to combine these into a single page. This page also covers non-military conscription, which seems to contradict Pustelnik's argument. - (talk) 19:58, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose The draft is a subject with a history unto itself, without regard to greater national service notions. Wasted Time R (talk) 23:18, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Do not merge - National service in the United States has a very distinct and separate history from conscription. This is a hot issue currently and most politicians in support of national service are not seeking to link it to the military.Jesse Crouch (talk) 07:01, 19 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose.
    NewYork1956 (talk) 03:14, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Feelin' a draft[edit]

Can somebody have a look at the "draft induced" volunteerism? It's implying a causal relationship I'm unsure exists. If drafted, the Army chose where to send you; if you volunteered, you got some choice. I'm not sure the draft caused it as much as the desire to avoid getting sent to Vietnam (or am I splitting hairs?). TREKphiler hit me ♠ 03:11, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I am sure that during both WWII and Vietnam, there were people who "volunteered" in order to (hopefully) get a preferred assignment, either in terms of where you served or the military specialty you were trained in. It might be difficult to determine to what extant "volunteers" were influenced by the existance of a draft. I doubt the military kept any records of this and lacking that, the only way to research this would be to conduct interviews of "volunteers". I might add that I served in Nam with an individual who volunteered in order to be stationed in Germany. Probably he did get sent to Germany - after serving in Nam. At least I didn't have a 3 year commitment and actually got RIF'ed after only one year. (talk) 15:46, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
As a Spring '65 college grad, without confirmed postgrad education plans (at the moment of the fastest expansion of the draft, military and escalation in-country), I lost my student deferment. My impending draft/induction (my draft orders would have come in early July) was the entire reason for application to, with subsequent acceptance in, Navy OCS - which, also increased my probability of getting a preferred assignment - depending on my performance. There was a 5 month waiting list to get into NAVOCS which was producing 200 ensigns per month. I suspect the A.F. and Army were producing at least those numbers. When I reached my assignment on a smaller ship, only the CO and XO were regular Navy, the other 11 junior officers that composed the "Wardroom" were all OCS grads (USNR on active duty vs. USN from the Academy and ROTC) from various colleges and universities like myself (for flavor of the 10, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Emory, Notre Dame, U.GA, U.MN and U.MS were represented). We were all there for the same reason - answering a call when we'd rather be doing other things and with the ability to do those other things, but not one of them ever complained or failed to give their jobs their full effort and commitment - heavy burdens on a small ship and more so under our busy deployment schedule. Most left the service after their 3-yr active duty and follow-on 3-yr reserve commitments. So, yes, I can say with little doubt that, insofar as the officer corp, "draft induced" volunteerism was a big factor in supplementing the academies and ROTC programs in providing junior officers for the military during Vietnam. (Whether our service constituted high patriotism in the eyes of others, frankly, I don't give a damn, but we all understood the reciprocal obligations of citizens and country as well as the notion that, to whom more is given, more is expected - even if it cost some of the best years of our lives.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

F*&^ off, Sharky[edit]

Was that what it acutally said, or has somebody "corrected" it in a false attempt at propriety to make the page suitable for the sensitive eyes of parents of easily-offended six year olds? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 15:06, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Draft for World War I[edit]

The article has a section headed "World War I and World War II" yet it begins with 1926, eight years after World War I ended. There is no discussion of the draft during World War I. I have a copy of the 1917 registration card of my grandfather, so I know some sort of draft existed.

I request that some knowledgeable person add a discussion of the draft for World War I.

Thank you. Boardstiff (talk) 12:06, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

New (sub)section proposed: 'Terms of Service'[edit]

Proposal for a new section (maybe a History subsection) that reviews what terms of conscription, from both gov't and soldier POVs, at each of the periods in the History section. There are some key questions not currently addressed in the current article. Here are a few that could be great for a table. Given a current period:

  • who could be conscripted?
 - age
 - main exemptions
  • what was required of conscripts?
 - how long?
 - serve in any branch, or is Army the default?  
 - other terms?  
 - basically, what choices if any, if conscript did not enlist voluntarily?

Marquess (talk) 21:19, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Theoretically, you could end-up in any branch, but most Vietnam Era Processing Centers were only designed to split the men into two groups. The men were evaluated by sight as they come in, and are directed to a line painted on the floor. In most cases men would request one service or the other, and be directed to the line. The Marines had one line, the Army the other. There was generally more volunteers for Marines then they had allotments for, so some were sent to the Army, even though they wanted to be Marines. The Drill Sergeant at the door made the selection by sight. By design, the Army got all the rejects because they could handle more. K5okc (talk) 18:00, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Draft in Reverse[edit]

This was touched on, but not fully developed. Volunteers currently enlist for four years, but have an obligation for six years. Before the Gulf war, this was a moot point, as there was no such thing as "stop loss." So, while previously, people got out after four years and were enrolled in the inactive reserves, this changed after 1990.

Today, people can get out of the service, get married, have kids, and be out of shape, and find themselves ordered back to military service. While this doesn't fit the definition of conscription (they volunteered), the effect is the same. These people (men and women) are sent to the front, and their infants and jobs are left behind. Many return to find their jobs gone, and their spouses divorced.

I believe there needs to be a section that outlines this modern "draft" technique. K5okc (talk) 17:45, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Overall Evaluation[edit]

The primary google response, I came here looking to understand how the draft worked throughout our history. I was very disappointed with this article. It does not describe in detail how the draft was conducted at various times and spends way too much effort on anti-war and anti-draft narrative. For example, how were local draft boards composed and how did they pick and choose candidates?? What were the mechanics of selection throughout our history, with it's faults and successes. How were men selected just prior to the Vietnam lottery? There's a citation "President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order on July 11, 1953 that ended the paternity deferment for married men". Paternity deferment?? How did that work? When did that start?? The article does not even list the various Vietnam era classifications and deferments available. Wikipedia is way too political. "Conscription in the United States" should describe the history and mechanics of the draft. The protests and anti-war types and anti-service types had an influence but it should not be the focus of the article. Dubiousofwiki (talk) 21:10, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I concur with Dubiousofwiki on all points. Strip out all the pros, cons and political bias, get the facts of the timelines and legal mechanics down correctly and clearly first and put the benefits, detriments and political positions in trailing paragraphs - or, a separate article that refers back to this one. Confusing and incomplete as it is, I am unable to decipher just how many men were taken into the military in the years leading up to and including the first few years of WWII. As "unemployment" changes during this time period are often cited as evidence for one or another current policy, it is important to know just how much of the change was due to military inductions and how much due to employment in the civil and rapidly expanding military industry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

draft board[edit]

I created Draft board because I think it deserves its own artcicle. I don't really know much about it though, I think some editors of this article could add a lot more to it.--Profitoftruth85 (talk) 05:40, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Last birth year cohort to be drafted[edit]

The second last sentence of the subsection "End of conscription" says "December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1953". I'm almost positive they were born in 1952, not 1953. I was born in 1953, and I distinctly remember that the 1953 cohort was the first from which no one was drafted, although draft priority numbers were assigned by lottery to birth dates for that year. Moreover, as far as I can see, the cited source does not state the birth year of the last people drafted—it just says "The last man was drafted in December 1972 and reported for training in June 1973."

Unless someone can come up with a source that says 1953, I'll remove the phrase "who were born in 1953". Better yet, could someone find a source that confirms it was 1952? Duoduoduo (talk) 16:45, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

1953 Agreed- I was also born in 1953 and had a very bad draft number. No 1953 folks were drafted, although we were processed for 1-A classification up to a certain draft number (95). See for confirming data. Importantly, 1953 was the first birth year that college freshmen like me had no student deferment option (196x Supreme Court ruling, right?). It should be noted that nobody has been drafted since the student deferment was ruled unconstitutional (1953 and later). TBILLT (talk) 01:59, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Should we reference this?[edit]

Not sure if this should be included, but should there be a reference in the article about people who are autistic, and if they are exempt from the draft? Thank you.--It's Senior Year! (talk) 23:56, 20 September 2010 (UTC)Chris

Wrong quotation??[edit]

For WW II, I was checking the original source - the Wiki article claims that Flynn gives

"n the massive draft of World War II, 50 million men from eighteen to forty-five were registered, 36 million classified, and 10 million inducted.[9]"

However, I just checked his book via a search at amazon, and what I found was

"From October 1940 to 31 March 1947, when the draft finally ended, SS registered 49 million men, selected 19 million, and saw 10 million inducted."

I could not find the 36 million classified quote (not sure even what that means? Is that those who took the reading and math ability tests? Those who were physically examined for fitness?). And as can be seen he says 49 million, not 50 million.

LetterRip (talk) 03:01, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Predicting the need for the draft in US[edit]

under current circumstances, there is little need for the draft, and little demand by the military or Congress. However, the Iraq war taught the lesson that the occupation of a hostile country requires a large military presence -- 100,000 soldiers were too few for Iraq. An American or NATO occupation of some large country is hypothetically possible, and would require hundreds of thousands of new American soldiers, they would not have to be highly trained to operate advanced equipment. They would have to be boots on the ground. That would be the formula for a new draft.Rjensen (talk) 09:10, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Slate article - a new RS[edit]

Last month, Slate published an interview with J.E. McNeil. It looks to me to be a pretty reliable source - a mainstream publication and so on. Perhaps someone who is more interested in the topic might want to include some of the information from the article into this article. —Tom Morris (talk) 23:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

African-Americans and the Draft in the World Wars[edit]

It's true that among drafted men, African-Americans were proportionately over-represented in both world wars. But their overall proportion of the armed forces was actually lower than the percentage of black men of military age in the U.S. at the time. Prior to the outbreak of war, in both cases, the armed forces were overwhelmingly white. During WW I, for example, there were only about 10,000 black soldiers in the Regular Army, which had some 500,000 men by the time voluntary enlists were ended. The National Guard, which brought in about 435,0000 men, included only about 10,000 black personnel. Navy, which ended up with over 500,000 men, also had no more than about 10,000 African-Americans, while the Marine Corps, with nearly 80,000 men, had no black personnel at all. So of the first 1.5 million or so men who were either already in the service when war was declared, or who came in through the National Guard or voluntary enlistments, not more than 30,000 were African Americans. This meant that the pool of draftable men had proportionately more black men than whites, so that African Americans constituted about 13 percent of the men drafted, several points more than their proportion in the general population. I have never seen a full-scale study of this, but see my short essay, "Black Americans and the Draft in World War I",


Al-Nofi (talk) 22:34, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Maximum registration age[edit]

In the section titled World War II, we have conflicting statements about the maximum registration age:

"requiring the registration of all men eighteen to sixty-four years of age"

"amended the act to require all men from 18 to 65 to register"

I don't know which is correct, so I'm not going to do the edit myself.

By the way, just for those who might enjoy trivia: I happened across this article because we found draft registration cards for one of my wife's relatives from *both* WWI and WWII. The man was born in 1887--just right to have to register for both wars! Don't know whether he served or not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Poihths (talkcontribs) 23:11, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

World War II draft[edit]

The facts stated in the second paragraph are at odds with the facts stated in the Wikipedia article on "The Selective Training and Service Act". Suggest that the differences between these two statements be resolved in favor of the actual facts and brought into line with each other. Also, as with the STSA article, there is no distinction made between draftees and volunteers with both being subsumed under the term and numbers "inducted", a term that can mean either the taking of an individual under coercion of law (a draftee) or the processing of all individuals (draftees and volunteers) entering service regardless of motivation. Those numbers should be separated and reported as such. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

States Requiring Gathering Of Information On Underage Boys[edit]

The SSA website tells how 39 state governments (this includes Guam and the Virgin Islands) require that minor boys applying for learners permits and first drivers licenses are required to have their personal information sent to the SSA in Washington, D.C. Isn't this technically pedophilia?Godofredo29 (talk) 08:45, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

No. See the article on Pedophilia. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 11:49, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

Delete "Perception of the draft as unfair"[edit]

7 years later, this completely unreferenced and very POV-pushing section is still kicking around with no improvements. Since no one has stepped up to make it more than just a rant, it needs to go. Likewise, the following section, Controversies since 2003, is full of undue weight and almost completely unnecessary in an article about the draft overall. Most of the points made are little more than trivia anyway; the best thing to do would be to contextualize current events with historical ones. Foxyshadis(talk) 08:44, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm guessing you weren't around during the Viet Nam era, or at least were too young to be aware. There was certainly a lot of perception that the draft was unfair. Whether or not it was in fact unfair is a different question, but certainly a lot of people argued it was unfair and should be done away with. Not sure if this was true for other wars as I wasn't around for WWI or WWII, and too young to notice during Korea. Wschart (talk) 15:58, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Just the Army?[edit]

Were people who were conscripted, conscripted into just the Army or into the other armed services as well? (talk) 06:13, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know about practices prior to suspension of conscription in 1973, but the following is from "Compilation of the Military Selective Service Act ( 50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq. ) : THE MILITARY SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT : As Amended Through July 9, 2003" (PDF). p. 6:  External link in |publisher= (help)

The persons inducted into the Armed Forces for training and service under this title (said sections) shall be assigned to stations or units of such forces. Persons inducted into the land forces of the United States pursuant to this title (said

sections) shall be deemed to be members of the Army of the United States; persons inducted into the naval forces of the United States pursuant to this title (said sections) shall be deemed to be members of the United States Navy or the United States Marine Corps or the United States Coast Guard, as appropriate; and persons inducted into the air forces of the United States pursuant to this title (said sections) shall be deemed to be members of the Air Force of the United States.

Perhaps this ought to be mentioned in the article. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 06:47, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

When I was drafted in 1971, while processing at the induction center, some Marines came and called out some of the inductees. They got to be Marines while the rest of us went into the Army. The word was occasionally the Marines fell short on recruitment goals and resorted to the draft to fill out. Wschart (talk) 18:40, 26 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this word, as the standard opening for letters informing a man of his being drafted, should be mentioned. i believe it was universally recognized, and i suppose feared.(User:Mercurywoodrose) (talk) 21:36, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Conscription by the Continental Navy[edit]

The earliest instance of conscription by the government was the impressment of men into the Continental Navy. If captains of American naval vessels were unable to fill their crew quotas from soliciting volunteers, they were allowed to conscript people into the navy through means known as impressment. For this article to be complete it should include details on impressment by the American navy during its early existance.

XavierGreen (talk) 00:12, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

WWI "Ethnic sensitivity[edit]

The WWI section contains a serious problem.

It currently states the following: "The military attempted to socialize and Americanize young immigrant recruits, not by forcing "angloconformity", but by showing remarkable sensitivity and respect for ethnic values and traditions and a concern for the morale of immigrant troops. Sports activities, keeping immigrant groups together, newspapers in various languages, the assistance of bilingual officers, and ethnic entertainment programs were all employed..."

This is demonstrably not the case and the cite used to back up the claim is not from a serious historian. There was very well documented and systematized Anglo conformity directed at WWI draftees. Sober Secondary sources are full of documentation of this. To discuss that on this articles main page would turn the WWI draft section into a long discussion of ethnic conformity and I propose to just remove the absurd text I cited.14:35, 9 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Egregious Style, Even for Wiki[edit]

The entire article reads like journalism, and second-rate journalism at that. "Finally, marriage and family were exempted because of its positive societal consequences." What does that mean - that marriage and family were applicants? "The United States breathed easier with the Korean War Armistice on July 27, 1953; however, technology brought new promises and threats." Breathed easier? The topic is conscription, not constriction. "President Kennedy's decision to send military troops to Vietnam as "advisors" was a signal that Selective Service Director Lewis B. Hershey needed to visit the Oval Office." The inanity of this sentence speaks for itself. And so on. Orthotox (talk) 18:24, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Vietnam War[edit]

In March (in my edit summary I erroneously said April) an editor replaced the first paragraph of the Vietnam War subsection with a long-winded paragraph enclosed in quotes.

Here is the diff.

I have reverted this. Not because I think the previous paragraph was good (it has had a citation needed tag on it since 2012 and is not terribly well-written), but rather because what it was replaced with seems to be a quote from somewhere -- one that is completely unattributed. Whereas poor prose with weak citations isn't great, possible copyvio is serious.

There were no sources in the user's edits so they don't put the article on firmer footing, but if any editor wants to look at what he wrote and see if any of the content can be salvaged, please do so.Eniagrom (talk) 08:30, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Incidentally, that edit was the user's only edit on Wikipedia.Eniagrom (talk) 08:32, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Number of people registered during WW2[edit]

Until just now, the article said that

In the massive draft of World War II, 50 million men from 18 to 45 were registered, 36 million classified, and 10 million inducted.[23]

Cite 23 is a 1993 book, The Draft, 1940–1973 by George Q. Flynn. Google Books will shows me snippets of that, and the key passage appears to be on page 85 and reads "During the war the nation had peacefully registered 49 million men, selected 19 million, and inducted 10 million." I have accordingly changed the article to say 49 million.

But as was just pointed out in a Reference Desk thread, this number still seems to be too large. See pages 57 and 156 of this Census Department PDF. If the total US population in 1940 was only about 132 million, and 18.2% of them were aged 15–24 and 30.1% were aged 25–44, then the number of males who were within the range 18–45 at some time when the US was involved in the war should have been something like 32 million, not 49 million. The higher number only makes sense if the draft registration involved a large number of people who were not males aged 18–45 and resident in the US.

I'm flagging this as dubious for now. What's the explanation? -- (talk) 23:58, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

Minor point and this doesn't come close to accounting for the difference but although the source says "during the war" I wouldn't be surprised if it was including those registered in 1940 before the US entered in to the war. So people 21 - 45 in November 1940 would likely be included, not just those from December 1941. Anyway more importantly only including people age 45 seems wrong since both Conscription in the United States#World War II and Selective Service System#1940 to 1947 seem to suggest the maximum age was either 64 or 65 at some stage after the US declaration of war. E.g. "After Pearl Harbor the STSA was further amended (December 19, 1941), extending the term of service to the duration of the war and six months and requiring the registration of all men 18 to 64 years of age". This seems to be supported by sources like [2]. The part quoted above says 49 million men were registered, not that 49 million men age up to 45 were registered, so it seems likely it would be including all people who registered regardless of age (and mostly because they were required to). It sounds like people aged above 45 were never liable for immediate induction but the source simply says registrationregistered, not registered and liable. Nil Einne (talk) 10:01, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
I've changed the article to better reflect the source and remove the dubious tag. It's possible it's still dubious, but I'm lazy to check the figures. Nil Einne (talk) 10:03, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 02:07, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Conscription in the United States. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 20:17, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Typo in Kennedy book title[edit]

The Kennedy book title link contains a typo. Where it says Worm it should read World. I would fix it myself, but there is a Soviet Socialist allowed to censor articles lest readers be affronted with the knowledge that the WWII German regime was run by the National Socialist party who would probably undo my correction. Until that entity's credentials are cancelled, I am disinclined to invest much more effort. translator (talk) 13:32, 1 August 2016 (UTC)