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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Draft'
(DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)

Overview: What is the price of citizenship in time of war? What are the limits to government authority over the liberty of a free people? Does the military draft have a place in American democracy?

DVD Verdict: Since the first shots fired in the American Revolution, the United States has been a nation at war. Only 21 calendar years have elapsed in which the United States did not wage any wars, making armed conflict the trend that has shaped the nation's ideas, institutions and people. To understand America, you have to understand the ways we go to war.

The question of who serves in America's military continues to shape battle strategy and foreign policy today. Ever since Lincoln imposed a national draft in the Civil War to the conflicts of the Vietnam era, forced military service has torn the nation apart-and sometimes, as in WWII, united Americans in a common purpose.

Throughout history, when the president waged war, and needed a big army, he turned to the draft. But the draft has always stirred controversy, exposing fault lines of race, class and culture, in society. Tracking this turbulent history up to the present, 'The Draft' explores the unintended consequences — for soldiers and citizens — of eliminating mandatory service. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.