Rich People Could Legally Pay The Poors To Fight The Civil War On Their Behalf
War is meant to be the great equalizer. Everyone dresses in the same uniform, everyone marches out with the same gun, and everyone faces down death with a sneer and an anus trying not to explode like a grenade. Or at least, that's how things should work. In the 1860s, see, men of wealth could buy their way out of battle by paying someone else of ... much lesser wealth to take their place.
Via WikipediaIn the North, that is. In the South, the rich beat conscription by default.
To ensure that the Union Army was less a concept and more an actual army, the government passed the Enrollment Act of 1863, which effectively conscripted everyone in good health and of fighting age. The rich, however, were so loath to fight that many took advantage of a loophole that allowed them to get out of patriot duty by paying a "substitute" to take their place for the princely sum of $300 (5k, adjusted for inflation). Amongst the people who bought their way out of battle were Grover Cleveland, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, George Templeton Strong, and Abraham Lincoln -- although that last one had a pretty good reason to stay out of the trenches.
Fletcher C Ransom/Library of CongressHe was way too tall. His head would have stuck out.