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The Conscription Laws were introduced to get more people to volunteer as soldiers. Initially, the volunteers signed up due to loyalty to their families, country and tradition. However, since the war took longer than expected, more young men refused to sign up as soldiers. The South and the North reacted in similar, yet different, ways to ensure they always had soldiers for the war.

The South was the first to notice the depletion of soldiers. It was, therefore, the first side to initiate the conscription laws. However, the South decided to put a limit to the number of years a volunteer could become a soldier. The contract suggested that the volunteer soldiers would work for one year before they were allowed to either drop out or sign a new contract. The North, on the other hand, decided to sign a contract with the volunteer soldiers that would expire after every three months. However, the war lasted three years, and both sides suffered due to the period indicated in their contracts with their volunteers.

It is interesting to note that despite the shorter period of the contract, the North received more manpower than the South. The three-month contract whetted the appetite of the young soldiers. The fact that they had significantly lost the first Bull Run did not sit well with them either as they did not want to be remembered as losers. Thus, more soldiers enrolled after the first three months. On the contrary, by the time one year was over, the volunteers of the South that had survived the war were jaded and refused to renew the contracts, they also advised other young people not to sign the contracts. The lack of soldiers is one of the reasons why the South lost the war.