Difference between revisions of "Draft lottery"

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[[Category:Sources]]
 
[[Category:Sources]]
Draft lottery is the event of selecting which young men need to do military service by organising a lottery.
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The draft lottery event records the details of the process of selection, by an officially organised lottery, of young men required for compulsory military service.
  
 
== History ==
 
== History ==
  
In older times, people had to be selected for military service as insufficient voluntary recruits were available.  
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At various times in the past, individuals had to be compulsorily drafted for military service, when the numbers of voluntary recruits were insufficient. Some selection process for the draft was therefore required.
  
To make the process of selecting fair to all, a lottery was organized in many countries. These lotteries were important events in the lives of young boys, as they could completely upset their lives. In some cases up to 3 years of service was obligatory if one 'won'.
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To make the process of selection fair to all, many countries organised a lottery (more in the spirit of the old tradition of drawing lots, not the more modern association with prize winning). These lotteries were important events in the lives of young boys, and could completely disrupt their future lives, with in some cases up to 3 years of compulsory military service being imposed.
  
At the time of the lottery, every man of a certain age was assigned a number. Numbers were drawn at a central office until sufficient recruits were obtained.  
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At the time of the lottery, every man of a certain age was assigned a number. Numbers were drawn at a central office until sufficient numbers of recruits were obtained.  
  
The consequences of being selected should not be underestimated, especially in those cases where the young recruits were supposed to earn a living for a family. It effectively meant putting your career on hold for several years. Hence, several ways of escaping this process were common:
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The consequence of being selected should not be underestimated, especially in cases where the young recruits were required to earn a living as part of a families survival. It effectively meant putting ambitions or a career on hold for several years. unsurprisingly, several ways of evading this process became common:
* Buying your ticket. In some countries it was allowed to negotiate a replacement. In that case, the person being selected for service pays a commoner to take his place. Legally binding contracts would be signed with well laid out responsibilities for both parties (paying a fixed amount, paying the widow in case the replacement dies in action, not deserting, ...).
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* Buying your ticket. In some countries one was allowed to negotiate a replacement, whereby the individual selected for service could pay another individual to take his place. As might be expected, the rich were better placed to take advantage of this, paying for poorer individuals to take their place. Legally binding contracts were drawn up and signed, with clearly defined obligations upon both parties (payment of a fixed sum, paying the widow should the replacement die in action, consequences of desertion, etc.).
* Desertion. Many young boys choose to run away instead of being called under arms. They were then officially called deserters.
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* Desertion. Many young boys simply chose to run away instead of being called to arms. They were then officially designated as deserters.
  
 
==Genealogy==
 
==Genealogy==
Draft lotteries are important sources for genealogy for the following reasons:
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Draft lotteries are important sources for genealogical information, for the following reasons:
  
* they where held with regular intervals (normally every year)
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* they were held at regular intervals (normally yearly)
* all boys of age of a village/city where accounted, each one being given a number.
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* all boys of a given age in a certain locality were accounted, each being allocated a unique number.
  
This gives another venue to reconstitute families if other sources are destroyed or unavailable.  
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This provides a valuable resource for identifying family members where other sources are destroyed or unavailable.  
  
  
An extra important use of these sources, is to flesh out a family tree with stories. Having an ancestor being selected in a draft lottery almost always makes a good story.
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An additional and important use for these sources is in fleshing out a family tree with individual stories. Having an ancestor selected for military service through a draft lottery almost always makes for a good story.
  
 
== Draft lottery practises==
 
== Draft lottery practises==

Revision as of 14:16, 14 April 2009

The draft lottery event records the details of the process of selection, by an officially organised lottery, of young men required for compulsory military service.

History

At various times in the past, individuals had to be compulsorily drafted for military service, when the numbers of voluntary recruits were insufficient. Some selection process for the draft was therefore required.

To make the process of selection fair to all, many countries organised a lottery (more in the spirit of the old tradition of drawing lots, not the more modern association with prize winning). These lotteries were important events in the lives of young boys, and could completely disrupt their future lives, with in some cases up to 3 years of compulsory military service being imposed.

At the time of the lottery, every man of a certain age was assigned a number. Numbers were drawn at a central office until sufficient numbers of recruits were obtained.

The consequence of being selected should not be underestimated, especially in cases where the young recruits were required to earn a living as part of a families survival. It effectively meant putting ambitions or a career on hold for several years. unsurprisingly, several ways of evading this process became common:

  • Buying your ticket. In some countries one was allowed to negotiate a replacement, whereby the individual selected for service could pay another individual to take his place. As might be expected, the rich were better placed to take advantage of this, paying for poorer individuals to take their place. Legally binding contracts were drawn up and signed, with clearly defined obligations upon both parties (payment of a fixed sum, paying the widow should the replacement die in action, consequences of desertion, etc.).
  • Desertion. Many young boys simply chose to run away instead of being called to arms. They were then officially designated as deserters.

Genealogy

Draft lotteries are important sources for genealogical information, for the following reasons:

  • they were held at regular intervals (normally yearly)
  • all boys of a given age in a certain locality were accounted, each being allocated a unique number.

This provides a valuable resource for identifying family members where other sources are destroyed or unavailable.


An additional and important use for these sources is in fleshing out a family tree with individual stories. Having an ancestor selected for military service through a draft lottery almost always makes for a good story.

Draft lottery practises

Australia

In Australia, this has always been controversial. It was last used during the Vietnam conflict. All males aged 18 or over were required to register. Among those a lottery of birthdays was conducted. The following stats are from this source :

Australians registered for National Service
804,286
Australians called up for National Service
62,342
Australian National Servicemen posted to serve in Vietnam
15,381

Some went to Viet Nam. Some went to Malaysia. Some were posted to units in Australia.

Belgium

Draft lottery is called conscription (conscriptie). It was started by the French Law of 5 september 1798, known as the law Jourdan-Delbrel. All young man had to conscribe to the army service. From the resulting list, a lottery was held to decide on the contingent that effectively had to go under active duty.

Noteworthy is that this formed one of the reasons for the Farmers War on 12 oktober 1798 of Flemish and Brabant farmers against the French occupators. This due to the fact that the many deserters teamed up, and started a resistance army. They where defeated in the winter.

French occupation lasted until 1814.

Reference: 1

Mexico

Mexico did a draft lottery by selecting black or white marbles from a bag as recently as the 1960s.

United States

1960-present

The United States had a draft lottery during the Viet Nam war. Originally, there were 366 plastic balls, each with a unique date of the year. The balls were drawn one at a time to determine the order of the draft. For example, if March 25 was drawn first, it was assigned the number 1, if August 12 was drawn second, it was assigned the number 2, etc., until all balls were drawn. Then the draft board would determine how many numbers were called. If -- just for this example -- they called up the first two numbers, all males who would be 18-26 years old during this draft year and were born on March 25 and August 12 would be called to report for duty.

This was later changed to have 2 drums, one with all the dates Jan 1st- Dec 31st. another with drum with numbers 1-365. they draw one from each and assign the numbers that way.


Even though there is currently no draft, most males turning 18 are still required to register with the "draft board" (Selective Service).