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Thread: New York City Draft Riots by Irish Immigrants.

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    Politics.ie Member Boy M5's Avatar
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    Default New York City Draft Riots by Irish Immigrants.

    I'm watching Ken Burns' the Civil War at present. It just highlighted an event I'd never heard of the 1863 NYC draft riots.

    Lincoln introduced the draft for able bodied men up to age 44. However, if you were able to pay a fee you could avoid it and find a substitute.

    On the day the List of the Dead of Gettysburg was posted in July 1863 the first draftees were similarly listed and posted in New York City.

    A mainly Irish mob rioted and took over the East Side killing some Blacks (and whites including Irish who tried to defend them) They were fearful of the blacks as both groupings were competing for the same, lower paid, jobs and some Democratic politicians fomented dissent / fear mongered - freed blacks would supposedly flood the NYC labour market.

    Eventually order was reinstated 3 days later - by units returning from Gettysburg


    The New York City Draft Riots of 1863

    New York City draft riots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Aplogies to McTell who I just spotted posted the wiki link on another thread (Irish at Fredericksburg)

    http://www.politics.ie/forum/history...cksburg-3.html
    "Keep firing & don't stop until I tell you" General Tom Barry

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    Politics.ie Member Mitsui2's Avatar
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    Not exactly the finest moment in the history of the diaspora - nor one that's widely known in Ireland.

    There's an excellent account of the Draft Riots by the historian Barnet Schecter called "The Devil's Own Work" -

    The Devil's Own Work: The Civil War Draft Riots and the Fight to Reconstruct America: Amazon.co.uk: Barnet Schecter: Books


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    They obviously didn't realize how grateful the freed slaves and there descendants would be to them for laying down there lives.

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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boy M5 View Post
    I'm watching Ken Burns' the Civil War at present. It just highlighted an event I'd never heard of the 1863 NYC draft riots.

    Lincoln introduced the draft for able bodied men up to age 44. However, if you were able to pay a fee you could avoid it and find a substitute.

    On the day the List of the Dead of Gettysburg was posted in July 1863 the first draftees were similarly listed and posted in New York City.

    A mainly Irish mob rioted and took over the East Side killing some Blacks (and whites including Irish who tried to defend them) They were fearful of the blacks as both groupings were competing for the same, lower paid, jobs and some Democratic politicians fomented dissent / fear mongered - freed blacks would supposedly flood the NYC labour market.

    Eventually order was reinstated 3 days later - by units returning from Gettysburg


    The New York City Draft Riots of 1863

    New York City draft riots - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Aplogies to McTell who I just spotted posted the wiki link on another thread (Irish at Fredericksburg)

    http://www.politics.ie/forum/history...cksburg-3.html
    I once wrote an article about these riots so went over most of the accounts.

    My conclusion is that we mis-read this as primarily a race riot. That is projecting our own concerns back into the past. New York did not have a large black population and (at that point) there was not the major jobs rivalry that came later. There was strikebreaking, but more by invalided veterans than by blacks.

    In fact, the riots were a revolt pure and simple against the Lincoln Government and all its works - blacks were attacked as beneficiaries of the Government, rather than in purely racial terms - though race did have its place in the ugly events, like the burning of an orphanage for black children, and the murder and castration of a black man.

    However, army officers in uniform were also attacked, as were wealthy people (judged by their clothes) and the homes of journalists like Horace Greeley, who were Republican supporters.

    The rioters were mainly Irish, and it began with the attack on a draft office by group of fire-fighters who claimed they should not be eligible to be drafted. These were not Irish, but on a day of protest against the draft, the demonstrations spilled over into overt lawlessness, looting and murder.

    Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York is not an accurate historical account of the riots. This novel is very good, but also with some (minor) inaccuracies. It gives a flavour of life for the New York Irish in 1863.

    Amazon.com: The Banished Children of EveA Novel of Civil War New York: Peter Quinn: Books

    The New York draft riots of 1863: an Irish civil war? / Features / Issue 2 (Summer 2003) / Volume 11 / historyireland.com
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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    Politics.ie Member Dame_Enda's Avatar
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    There were plenty of non-Irish involved too.
    Fair and Balanced

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    Politics.ie Member Catalpast's Avatar
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    The wonder is there were not more Draft riots

    Lincoln ruled with an Iron Hand

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    Politics.ie Member Boy M5's Avatar
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    In Burns' series the contemporary American tunes are used, in the past 10 minutes the Foggy Dew and Dear Old Donegal have been blasting out.

    I wonder if these were tunes we got from the US or vice versa (travelled over with Scots Irish)?
    "Keep firing & don't stop until I tell you" General Tom Barry

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    Politics.ie Member Campion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catalpast View Post
    The wonder is there were not more Draft riots

    Lincoln ruled with an Iron Hand
    There was one in Boston. Much smaller scale. here is a very good flash program that utilises primary sources and narrative to go through the riots day-by-day.
    VNY: Draft Riots Day 1

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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catalpast View Post
    The wonder is there were not more Draft riots

    Lincoln ruled with an Iron Hand
    There were other draft riots.

    But your second statement is completely untrue.

    Compared to the civil rights American had under Wilson, Roosevelt, under every Cold War President, and under George Bush II, Lincoln's administration ran the country with a relatively light touch.
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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    Politics.ie Member blokesbloke's Avatar
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    This was all the fault of the British and their West Brit allies.
    Brexit? Never heard of it mate...

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