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Re: Ayn Rand Paul Said It Best
Posted by Avid Reader on Mon Jul 2 14:49:29 2012, in response to Re: Ayn Rand Paul Said It Best, posted by Train Dude on Sat Jun 30 20:54:02 2012.TrainDude is correct, again!
Colonial to 1861
In colonial times, the Thirteen Colonies used a militia system for defense. Colonial militia laws—and after independence those of the United States and the various states—required able-bodied males to enroll in the militia, to undergo a minimum of military training, and to serve for limited periods of time in war or emergency. This earliest form of conscription involved selective drafts of militiamen for service in particular campaigns. Following this system in its essentials, the Continental Congress in 1778 recommended that the states draft men from their militias for one year's service in the Continental army; this first national conscription was irregularly applied and failed to fill the Continental ranks.
For long-term operations, conscription was occasionally used when volunteers or paid substitutes were insufficient to raise the needed manpower. During the American Revolutionary War, the states sometimes drafted men for militia duty or to fill state Continental Army units, but the central government did not have the authority to conscript. President James Madison and his Secretary of War James Monroe unsuccessfully attempted to create a national draft of 40,000 men during the War of 1812. This proposal was fiercely criticized on the Senate floor by antiwar Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts.
"The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion.... Is this, sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, sir, indeed it is not.... Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty?
Daniel Webster (December 9, 1814 House of Representatives Address)
 Civil War
The United States first employed national conscription during the American Civil War. The vast majority of troops were volunteers; however, of the 2,100,000 Union soldiers, about 2% were draftees, and another 6% were paid substitutes.
The South had far fewer inhabitants than the North, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis proposed the first conscription act on March 28, 1862; it was passed into law the next month.
Resistance was both widespread and violent, with comparisons made between conscription and slavery. Both sides permitted conscripts to hire substitutes to serve in their place. In the Union, many states and cities offered bounties and bonuses for enlistment. They also arranged to take credit against their draft quota by claiming freed slaves who enlisted in the Union Army.
Although both North and South resorted to conscription, the system did not work effectively in either. The Confederate Congress on April 16, 1862, passed an act requiring military service for three years from all males aged eighteen to thirty-five not legally exempt; it later extended the obligation. The U.S. Congress followed with the Militia Act of 1862 authorizing a militia draft within a state when it could not meet its quota with volunteers. This state-administered system failed in practice and in 1863 Congress passed the Enrollment Act, the first genuine national conscription law, setting up under the Union Army an elaborate machinery for enrolling and drafting men between twenty and forty-five years of age. Quotas were assigned in each state, the deficiencies in volunteers required to be met by conscription.
Still, men drafted could provide substitutes, and until mid-1864 could even avoid service by paying commutation money. Many eligible men pooled their money to cover the cost of anyone of them drafted. Families used the substitute provision to select which member should go into the army and which would stay home. Of the 168,649 men procured for the Union Army through the draft, 117,986 were substitutes, leaving only 50,663 who had their personal services conscripted. There was much evasion and overt resistance to the draft, and the New York City draft riots were in direct response to the draft and were the earliest known mass resistance against the draft in the United States. Although there is a tendency to blame immigrants for Civil War draft resistance, this probably reflects Nativist prejudices of the time; few remember that after brief Confederate service the able-bodied Mark Twain spent the Civil War years in Nevada and California. Many others went West to avoid serving in either army.
The problem of Confederate desertion was aggravated by the inequitable inclinations of conscription officers and local judges. The three conscription acts of the Confederacy exempted certain categories, most notably the planter class, and enrolling officers and local judges often practiced favoritism, sometimes accepting bribes. Attempts to effectively deal with the issue were frustrated by conflict between state and local governments on the one hand and the national government of the Confederacy.