When a military needs people to fight in a war, but there aren’t enough volunteers, sometimes they'll begin conscription, which is a law that says if you are able to fight, you have to fight.

Also called the draft, conscription legally requires people to join the army, with penalties if they don’t. During the Vietnam War, many U.S. citizens protested conscription by burning their draft documents or fleeing to Canada, and some faced prison time because of these actions. The Latin roots of conscription translate to “write down together,” which is a much nicer way of saying “Go to war or go to jail.”

Definitions of conscription

n compulsory military service

draft, muster, selective service
levy, levy en masse
the act of drafting into military service
Type of:
militarisation, militarization, mobilisation, mobilization
act of assembling and putting into readiness for war or other emergency: "mobilization of the troops"

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