Selective Service Act Law & Legal Definition


The Selective Service Act of 1917 was the first act which mandates the U.S. military service since the Civil War. The act gives the U.S. president the power to draft soldiers. The act required all men in the U.S. between the ages of 21 and 30 to register for military service.

The act contained a significant change from the Civil War draft on replacements. Section 3 of the act stated “No person liable to military service shall hereafter be permitted or allowed to furnish a substitute for such service; nor shall any substitute be received, enlisted, or enrolled in the military service of the United States; and no such person shall be permitted to escape such service or to be discharged there from prior to the expiration of his term of service by the payment of money or any other valuable thing whatsoever as consideration for his release from military service or liability thereto.”