Skip to main content

Selective Service Acts Conscription Act 12 Stat. 731 (1863) Burke-Wadsworth Selective Training and Service Act 54 Stat. 885 (1940) Universal Military Training and Service Act 62 Stat. 604 (1948)

SELECTIVE SERVICE ACTS Conscription Act 12 Stat. 731 (1863) Burke-Wadsworth Selective Training and Service Act 54 Stat. 885 (1940) Universal Military Training and Service Act 62 Stat. 604 (1948)

The Constitution gives Congress the power to "raise and support armies" and to "provide and maintain a navy." The traditions of the American people have dictated that throughout most of our history peacetime military service has been voluntary and emergencies have been met, in the first instance, by activating the organized state militias. Conscription, drafting men for compulsory military duty, is available for the gravest emergencies. During the War of 1812, Congress considered, but did not adopt, a Draft Bill.

The first federal military draft in American history was authorized by the Conscription Act of 1863. That act required registration of all able-bodied male citizens eighteen to forty-five years old, and provided that whenever a congressional district failed to provide its quota of volunteers the deficiency should be made up by drawing from the pool of registrants. The act further provided that the draftee could avoid service by providing a substitute or by paying $300. The first draft under the act, in July 1863, was the occasion of a week-long riot in New York City, in which over one thousand people were killed and over oneand-a-half million dollars worth of property was destroyed.

The first peacetime selective service law was the Burke-Wadsworth Act of 1940, requiring registration in anticipation of American entry into world war ii. The act, also known as the Selective Training and Service Act, was patterned after the selective service act of 1917: universal registration and classification administered by local boards. The 1940 act expired in 1947 and was replaced by the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 1948, which continued the basic scheme of the 1917 and 1940 statutes. The first draft under this act was in 1950, and conscription for the korean war and vietnam war was done under provisions of that act. Registration under the act (renamed the Military Selective Service Act in 1967) ceased in 1975.

President jimmy carter in 1980 sought and received congressional authorization to reimplement peacetime draft registration, but the 1980 measure provided for registration only, not for classification or conscription.

(See rostker v. goldberg.)

Dennis J. Mahoney
(1986)

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Selective Service Acts Conscription Act 12 Stat. 731 (1863) Burke-Wadsworth Selective Training and Service Act 54 Stat. 885 (1940) Universal Military Training and Service Act 62 Stat. 604 (1948)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/selective-service-acts-conscription-act-12-stat-731-1863-burke-wadsworth-selective-training-and

"Selective Service Acts Conscription Act 12 Stat. 731 (1863) Burke-Wadsworth Selective Training and Service Act 54 Stat. 885 (1940) Universal Military Training and Service Act 62 Stat. 604 (1948)." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved November 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/selective-service-acts-conscription-act-12-stat-731-1863-burke-wadsworth-selective-training-and

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.