NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 26, 2005

One of the main scare tactics used by Democrat activists before the election was that a second Bush administration would bring back the military draft. However, Roy Cordato of the John Locke Foundation notes that the draft was instituted six times during the 20th century. Three of those times were during peacetime, but all six were under Democratic presidents.

  • During World War I, Woodrow Wilson instituted the Selective Draft Act of 1917.
  • In 1940, President Roosevelt instituted a peace-time draft, which was then reauthorized after World War II.
  • Democratic President Harry Truman sponsored a peace-time draft which was then reauthorized at the beginning of the Korean War.
  • Peace-time draft registration was brought back in 1980 thanks to Jimmy Carter's efforts.

Ironically, most opposition to the draft has come from Republicans, first from Barry Goldwater in the 1960s. In 1973, draft legislation was actually repealed under the Nixon administration. Then Gerald Ford granted clemency to draft resisters.

Even now, the Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel and 14 other Democrats have cosponsored legislation to renew the draft, which was been languishing in Congress for the past two years.

Source: Roy Cordato, "Democratic Party, Draft Go Together," Carolina Journal 13, no. 11, November 2004, John Locke Foundation.

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