The Burden of the Draft: The Vietnam Years




Shields, Patricia M.

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University of Florida Press


This study explores the draft during the Vietnam era. Using a national longitudinal sample of young men who were draft vulnerable over the period, it estimates the likelihood of being drafted for whites and blacks. Unlike other studies, it uses pre-service traits in the analysis. The burden of the draft did not fall evenly upon young men of the period. Individuals who unfortunately possessed combinations of draft vulnerable personal characteristics-for example, black high school graduates-paid a higher than average price. The strength of the draft pressure variable, however, demonstrates the overriding importance of military demand. Men who were draft eligible during periods of high draft calls were least able to use the many deferment avenues. Hence, the fortunes of war or the luck of the draw was an important factor in determining who was drafted.



draft, Vietnam War, Blacks, whites, Political Science


Shields, P. M. (1981). The burden of the draft: The Vietnam years. Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 9, pp. 215-228.


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