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Related to conscription: Conscription Act of 1863


conscription, compulsory enrollment of personnel for service in the armed forces. Obligatory service in the armed forces has existed since ancient times in many cultures, including the samurai in Japan, warriors in the Aztec Empire, citizen militiamen in ancient Greece and Rome, and aristocrats and their peasants or yeomen during the Middle Ages in Europe. In England, compulsory military service was employed on the local level in the Anglo-Saxon fyrd as early as the 9th cent. In the 16th cent. Machiavelli argued that every able-bodied man in a nation was a potential soldier and could by means of conscription be required to serve in the armed forces. Conscription in the modern sense of the term dates from 1793, when the Convention of the French Republic raised an army of 300,000 men from the provinces. A few years later, conscription enabled Napoleon I to build his tremendous fighting forces. Following Napoleon's example, Muhammad Ali of Egypt raised a powerful army in the 1830s. Compulsory peacetime recruitment was introduced (1811–12) by Prussia. Mass armies, raised at little cost by conscription, completely changed the scale of battle by the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The institution of conscription, which was increasingly justified by statesmen on grounds of national defense and economic stimulation, spread to other European nations and Japan in the 19th cent. At the outbreak of World War I, Great Britain adopted conscription and used it again in World War II; it was abolished in 1962. Though little used in the United States prior to the Civil War, conscription was used by both sides in that war and in most large-scale U.S. wars since, often with great controversy. Most of the important military powers of the 20th cent. have used conscription to raise their armed forces. China, because of its large population, has a policy of selective conscription. Impressment is the forcible mustering of recruits. It lacks the scope and bureaucratic form of conscription. Many countries throughout the world, such as Israel, have mandatory military service; a few allow for alternate civilian service or release for conscientious objectors. See also selective service.
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Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a method of troop recruitment based on universal military service. This system was in force in France in the late 18th century and the 19th.

During the French Revolution the Convention decreed in August 1793 the compulsory mass levy into the army of all Frenchmen between the ages of 18 and 40, the first places to be filled by bachelors and childless men between the ages of 18 and 25. In 1798 a universal six-year military obligation became the law in France under the name of conscription. Originally military service was considered an inescapable personal responsibility, and no one could take anyone else’s place. But by 1800 provisions were made to make the system less strict so that replacements could serve for the conscripts and exemptions could be bought. Military service thus became obligatory but not personal. Conscription was in effect in France until 1872 and in Russia (only for residents of Poland) from 1815 to 1874. In the second half of the 19th century conscription was replaced by universal military service.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(511) The argument against the constitutionality of conscription, at least for Knox, appeared to be treasonous in its cascading effects, if not on its face.
In addition to support for conscription, the meeting planned to put on a so-called "Monster Open-air Demonstration and Procession", in opposition to the anti-conscription meeting at Cory Hall.
A January ( poll found more than 70 percent of Swedes supported bringing back conscription for men while also adding women who were previously exempt.
The observer cited several instances of locals in Alawite villages banding together to prevent patrols from picking up conscription deserters.
The situation reached crisis proportions in 1917 with the war far from over and Borden under increasing pressure from the British and the war party at home to implement military conscription. Laurier's Liberals could not possibly agree to another extension of a Parliament which would bring in conscription.
"The movement against conscription is growing very fast, and people know about the dangers of serving in the military much more than before," said Fady Asleh, a founding member of Refuse, one of the leading groups campaigning against mandatory military service for Palestinian Druze.
The circular issued in coordination between the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the National and Reserve Service Authority, stated that no student would be allowed to enroll in a university or college without specifying his position on conscription.
Some post pictures of themselves holding signs with slogans such as "forced conscription is slavery" accompanied by the group's logo or "I support the right to conscientious objection to military service".
The spring conscription campaign for military service will end on June 27, 2014.
7DAYS asked two male Emiratis of eligible conscription age to watch the first episode of four-part documentary 'My Military, My Life' ('Hayati Walaskariya').
"There will be no exemption from the compulsory conscription of all young Qatari men according to the applicable regulations," he explained at a press conference at the Armed Forces' General Command Headquarters.
Now combine the absence of conscription with technological evolution that increasingly replaces humans on the battlefield with increasingly autonomous warfighting machines, and a fundamental social calculus--when to shift from diplomacy to war--may be altered in unprecedented ways.