Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–3 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.

In China, the State of Qin instituted universal military service following the registration of every household. This allowed huge armies to be levied, and was instrumental in the creation of the Qin Empire that conquered the whole of China in 221BC.

Conscription is controversial because of conscientious objection to service or because of political objection to service for a disliked government or an unpopular war, and because it violates individual rights. Those conscripted may evade service, sometimes by leaving the country. Some selection systems accommodate these attitudes by providing alternative service outside combat-operations roles or even outside the military, such as Zivildienst in Austria and Switzerland.

As of the early 21st century, many states no longer conscript soldiers, relying instead upon professional militaries with volunteers enlisted to meet the demand for troops. The ability to rely on such an arrangement, however, presupposes some degree of predictability with regard to both war-fighting requirements and the scope of hostilities. Many states that have abolished conscription therefore still reserve the power to resume it during wartime or times of crisis. In the United States, conscription, also called "the draft", ended in 1973, but males between 18 and 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System to enable a reintroduction of conscription if necessary.

Read more about Conscription:  Drafting of Women, Conscientious Objection, Evading The Draft, Countries With and Without Mandatory Military Service, Conscription By Jurisdiction, Related Concepts

Other articles related to "conscription":

Conscription - Related Concepts
... Arrière-ban Civil conscription Civilian Public Service Corvée Economic conscription Impressment and the Quota System Indentured servant Involuntary servitude National Service Zivildienst ...
Canada In World War I - Home Front - Conscription
... and factory workers opposed the legislation, it was in Quebec, where conscription was most vociferously denounced ... Leading the campaign against conscription was Quebec nationalist Henri Bourassa and Sir Wilfrid Laurier who argued that the war pitted Canadians against each other ...
Army History - History - Late Modern
... Conscription allowed the French Republic to form the La Grande Armée, what Napoleon Bonaparte called "the nation in arms", which successfully battled European professional armies ... Conscription, particularly when the conscripts are being sent to foreign wars that do not directly affect the security of the nation, has historically been highly politically contentious in ... Canada also had a political dispute over conscription during World War II ...
Civil Conscription
... Civil conscription is conscription used for forcing people to work in non-military projects ... Civil conscription is used by various governments around the world, among them Greece ... Temporary conscription for payment, typically of taxes, is known as corvée ...
British Army During World War I - Recruitment and Conscription
... With the introduction of conscription in January 1916, no further Pals battalions were raised ... Conscription for single men was introduced in January 1916 ... status as part of the United Kingdom (but see Conscription Crisis of 1918) ...

Famous quotes containing the word conscription:

    No Raven’s wing can stretch the flight so far
    As the torn bandrols of Napoleon’s war.
    Choose then your climate, fix your best abode,
    He’ll make you deserts and he’ll bring you blood.
    How could you fear a dearth? have not mankind,
    Tho slain by millions, millions left behind?
    Has not conscription still the power to weild
    Her annual faulchion o’er the human field?
    A faithful harvester!
    Joel Barlow (1754–1812)

    We have our difficulties, true; but we are a wiser and a tougher nation than we were in 1932. Never have there been six years of such far flung internal preparedness in all of history. And this has been done without any dictator’s power to command, without conscription of labor or confiscation of capital, without concentration camps and without a scratch on freedom of speech, freedom of the press or the rest of the Bill of Rights.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945)