Friday, September 16, 2011

FDR Signs the Burke-Wadsworth Act

SelectiveService.com has this to say about the first peacetime draft in U.S. history: "Signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt [on September 16, 1940] the Burke-Wadsworth Act the first peace-time draft in United States history. Under the act, all American males between twenty-one and thirty-five years of age registered for the draft. The government selected men through a lottery system.



"If drafted, a man served for twelve months. According to the Burke-Wadsworth Act's provisions, drafted soldiers had to remain in the Western Hemisphere or in United States possessions or territories located in other parts of the world. The act provided that not more than 900,000 men were to be in training at any one time, and it limited service to 12 months."


In mid-1941, Congress extended the period of service beyond 12 months and the president agreed to that. There was some grumbling, but no widespread desertions, and after December 7 of that year, the grumbling stopped.

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