The first U.S. peacetime draft was inaugurated on this day in 1940. I suppose controversies over draft resistance are at most a fading memory now, but it sure was a big deal for my sub-generation, the last (so far) to experience conscription. Here’s a real period piece: from the Smothers Brothers show in 1969, an obscure band of antiwar pseudo-mimes (yes, mimes) called The Hello People lip-synching a fine folky song, “Anthem,” about being jailed for draft resistance.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.