How was the draft controversial during the Vietnam War?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There were two main ways in which the draft was controversial during the Vietnam War era.

First, the draft was controversial because there were a large number of people who did not want to participate in the war.  As the US became more involved in Vietnam, the war became less popular.  There were many people who felt that it was an unjust war.  They did not think that they should have to serve in a war that they did not believe in.

Second, the draft was controversial because it did not take all classes of people equally.  During the Vietnam Era, people who were well educated or who had money and connections were much less likely to end up getting drafted than other people.  There were draft deferments for college students and even for graduate students, for example.  Wealthier people could afford the sorts of legal advice that could allow them to find ways to evade the draft.  The truly powerful could pull strings and get their sons into things like National Guard units that were unlikely to be called up.  For these reasons, poorer people ended up getting drafted more than others.  Many people felt that this was wrong and it led to controversy about the draft.

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