One of the civic duties listed under the “Mandatory Duties of US Citizens” was that whenever necessary, for example, in times of war or other national emergencies, “Federal law requires virtually all male US citizens and male noncitizens who are ages 18 through 25 to register with the Selective Service.” In addition, those who refused to join without a valid reason would be fined $250,000 and serve up to five years in prison. In the Vietnam War, the US military drafted 2.2 million men out of the 27 million eligible to be sent. While this might be 66 years way too late, here’s how one could’ve avoided being drafted during the Vietnam War, both legal and illegal ways.

#1. Conscientious Objection

A publicity photograph was taken of conscientious objectors at the work camp in Dyce, Scotland, in 1916. (Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Conscientious objection is when someone refuses to perform military service because of religion or personal belief. People who claim this right are called conscientious objectors. Most of the time, Peace Churches like the Mennonites, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Quakers could legally opt out of the service, although they could still serve as a civilian. However, avoiding service by lying about conscientious objection is illegal and punishable by law.

#2. Hitchhike To Canada

The federal estimated that around 40,000 men and women sought sanctuary in Canada to dodge being drafted. In 1977, then-president Jimmy Carter pardoned those who fled, although, despite that, many decided to settle in Canada and became Canadian citizens.

An American musician named Eric Nagler crossed from Vermont into Quebec when he was 26. His reason was that, as he said in an interview, “I refused to kill anybody. The war was hideously ugly.” He became famous as a regular in “The Elephant Show” with Sharon, Lois, and Bram.