The Hessian Nanny State

Every year, men between the ages 16 and 30 were mustered in their town square for possible induction into Hesse-Kassel’s army. There were formal exemptions based on the needs of the state, but if one wasn’t gainfully employed, you were drafted along with doctors and those convicted of crimes. During the American Revolution, 7% of the 300,000 citizens of Hesse-Kassel were in the army, either being trained or on garrison duty or deployed in the service of King George III.

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