# How did the Prussians work out what fraction of the population to recruit to the military?

Here's a quote from a teacher and author John Taylor Gatto, which I found intriguing:

The military which is quite an expensive institution to maintain even in times of peace is always constituted at the fraction of 1% to 1.5% of the entire adult male population. Never heard that before? That was a rule or principle worked out in Prussian Germany several hundred years ago. Now your homework is to find out why that fraction. I'll give you a clue: the prison population of the United States is very close to the military population in the United States and that fraction too was worked out in Prussian Germany about two-hundred years ago.

Now, I'm not sure of the historical validity of this, nor could I find references to any such percentage... Anyone know if this can be verified?

I specifically want to know if the ruling class of Prussian Germany wanted to keep the military "always constituted at the fraction of 1% to 1.5% of the entire adult male population" and why this was significant (Why not 0.5%, or 2%?). Gatto died last year so there is no way to ask him directly for his source.

• You might have to search for translations of Albrecht von Boguslawski then. – Pieter Geerkens Apr 28 '17 at 4:56
• On reflection, if the calculation was in fact "several hundred years ago" that probably refers to either Frederick II or his father Frederick William I. The latter built the Prussian Army army, the former gave it the Prussian state as revenue source. ;-) – Pieter Geerkens Apr 28 '17 at 4:58
• What is the question? I've tried to edit, but it isn't clear what you want to know. – MCW May 5 '19 at 23:18
• Where does the quote come from? It's not on the linked WP page and googling it has only hits for this site! – LаngLаngС May 6 '19 at 9:22
• @LangLangC - here we go, check the eighth paragraph on this page: johntaylorgatto.com/category/uncategorized "comprising a formulaic 1 percent of the population" – JacobIRR May 7 '19 at 18:02