Draft Resistance and Draft Riots

Draft resistance refers to the act of willfully and intentionally resisting the government’s attempts to compel, or draft, certain citizens into compulsory military duty (also called conscription). Although the term draft resistance is often used interchangeably with conscientious objection, the two terms are not synonymous. With the Protestant Reformation came peace churches, including the Quakers, Mennonites (initially known as Anabaptists), and the Church of the Brethren, which forbade their members from engaging in military service. Over the following 400-plus years, most conscientious objectors and draft resisters have come from religious sects, including, more recently, Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Secular and political opposition to conscription dates back at least as far as the French Revolution and continues to the present day.

In countries recognizing the legal ...

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