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Reconsidering Women, the Draft, and the Duties of Citizenship Series

In principle, we aren’t merely flattering contemporary prejudices when we invoke the long history of republican women, from Lucrecia to Portia to modern Americans, to show that civic-minded, patriotic women strengthen self-governing nations. As long as our armed forces have existed, women have taken it upon themselves to serve honorably in or alongside of them, hiding their gender, seeing combat “unofficially,” or serving in support roles that have often involved bullets and capture by the enemy.

It’s heartening to think of women’s demonstrated potential both in their willingness to serve their country and their ability to do so. Should the occasion arise in future, we should hope for and celebrate women and men rising to the challenge. But neither the presidential candidates nor the nation is truly debating whether women can be called upon to serve their country. We are also not, actually, debating “The Draft”— military conscription.


Mid-week roundup

Some recent happenings in the citizenship world:

  • Writing in The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf disagrees with Thomas Ricks’s proposal for a draft.
  • There are less than two weeks left before the National Conference on Citizenship’s Civic Data Challenge officially closes on July 29.
  • Meghan Clyne at National Affairs draws lessons in liberty and citizenship from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series.
  • A recent survey looks at the connection between participation in online communities and increased civic engagement.
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    Drafting our kids?

    In yesterday’s New York Times, Thomas Ricks, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, echoed a call recently made by General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, to bring back the draft.