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Policy Debate

Resolved: The United States federal government should establish a policy substantially increasing the number of persons serving in one or more of the following national service programs: AmeriCorps, Citizen Corps, Senior Corps, Peace Corps, Learn and Serve America, Armed Forces.

Although national service, in the form of both military and community services, is by no means a new issue, it has had little time in the spotlight since the draft protests of the Vietnam War era. However, with the proposed federal expansion of groups like AmeriCorps, the topic has resurfaced, once again sparking debate.

This time, one source of controversy is the proposed optional substitution of the Peace Corps -- service that has traditionally been voluntary and not intertwined with the military -- for Armed Forces duty. Also up for debate is the enforcement of temporary, but mandatory, community service for all U.S. citizens.

Supporters contend these programs will boost community involvement and provide a vast number of service opportunities. Opponents say mandated volunteerism is not only a violation of civil rights, but also is not truly volunteering.

Many other factors -- such as furthering American democratic ideals overseas, improving disaster relief, increasing military efficiency, and potentially adversely affecting the economy -- must be considered.

This collection will provide you with ample resources to strengthen your argument, regardless of which side of the national service issue you are debating.

Compiled by Alison Vande Bunte
Photo credit: Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Public Affairs

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