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Conscription refers to a military body gaining recruits through making service compulsory.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantage of conscription is that it makes it possible to quickly create a very large military when needed. If conscription is a longstanding practice, it can also help develop a national identity.

The disadvantage of conscription programs are the fact that they are usually unpopular as many people do not like being forced into military service and can build up dissent. Conscripts are also on the whole have lower morale than volunteer soldiers.

Historic Instances of Conscription

  • The Army of the Qin Dynasty was based around universal conscription
  • The Roman Army was based around conscription until the Marian Reforms
  • Various instances of Feudal Levies
  • Ashigaru in Feudal Japan
  • Starting with Peter the Great, the army of the Tsardom of Russia was primarilly composed of conscripts
  • During the age of enlightenment, it was common for navies to send groups of men out called "Press Gangs" to forcibly conscript people in port cities to serve as sailors.
  • The Levee en Masse during the French Revolutionary Wars produced a vast army
  • Both the North and the South during the American Civil War engaged in conscription, though this was unpopular.
  • Conscription was commonplace during the Great War and Second World War

Conscription in Science Fiction