African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403


Lessons of 1969’S US Selective Service Amendment Act: Explaining US babyboomers’ civil war

George Steven Swan
  • George Steven Swan
  • North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 1601 East Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27411 USA.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 16 September 2013
  •  Accepted: 16 August 2014
  •  Published: 31 October 2014


Studies of opinion cleavages among Americans born 1946 to 1964 are informed via Erikson and Stoller’s 2011 analysis of the impact of the December 1, 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery (which prioritized men vulnerable to 1970 callup). The scope of discussion therein and herein includes asessments of political socialization research from 1965, 1973, 1982 and 1997. Enabled there was the interpretive method, herein, of laying unfavorably numbered, vintage-1948 men’s opinions and behavior (which both mutated) within a detailed, contemporary military policy-context. This contextual perspective fleshes out, historically, that 2011 review. The results thereof revealed that those unfortunate men’s abrupt hostility to defense of South Vietnam and to public figures associated therewith (for example, President Richard M. Nixon of the Republican Party) as too “hawkish” (that is, assertively anticommunist) proved ironic. For Nixon’s prelottery Vietnam War policy already had executed the high-profile “dove” platform-plank rejected by the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Also appreciated is how published 2013 data on attitudes influenced by the Great Recession evidenced implicitly the dramatic durability of the draft lottery’s effect. This result likewise extends, comparatively, the utility of the 2011 study.

Key words: Vietnam War, draft lottery, public opinion, self-interest, loyalty.