Conscription

and propoganda through the years of war

Conscription During the Civil War

In 1863, Congress passed the Enrollment Act of 1863, it was the first time in American history our government called for a wartime draft.

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The Enrollment Act of 1863 declared that all males, including "aliens" with the intent of becoming U.S. citizens, between the ages of 20 and 45 register for the war. However, if you were able to pay the $300 fee, you had the privilege of relieving yourself from the draft. Another way to avoid being drafted was to find a substitute to go to war in your place.

Conscription During WWI

In May of 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Selective Service Act into law. This act required all male U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for the draft during the first world war.

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An example of a draft registration card from WWI

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The first draft number being chosen during WWI, on July 20, 1917

Not only was a draft enacted, but WWI was the first time our country used war propaganda, which convinced potential soldiers to fight for the cause.

Conscription During WWII

Conscription during WWII was known as the first draft conducted by our U.S. government during a period of peace. On September 16, 1940, our government introduced the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. By doing so, all men in the United States between the ages of 21 and 45 were put into the draft.
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Propaganda for WWII became popular in the U.S. post-Pearl Harbor bombing, because that is when we officially entered the war.

Vietnam War

In the Vietnam War, 1/3 of American troops were conscripted by the government. In order to carry out conscription, the U.S. government held draft lotteries. Eligible men between the ages 18 and 25 had the possibility of being chosen in the draft lottery. However, contrary to other conscriptions, the younger of the group was conscripted most frequently, specifically U.S. men at the age of 19.

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Numbers being chosen for the Draft Lottery in 1969.

The Vietnam War's propaganda was slightly different than previous wars, instead of promoting the war effort, there was a huge insurgence of anti-war propaganda

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Anti-Vietnam War propaganda : "Make love not war" became a very poplar slogan and an anti-battle cry during the Vietnam war. As a result of the anti-war efforts promoting peace to the world, the peace sign became widely popular, especially during the 1970's