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Us Histroy Final Paper

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Forced Service and the New York City Draft Riots The year was 1863, America was engulfed in a Civil War that was only supposed to last a few weeks. However, it turned out to be a long bitter war where both sides struggled to gain the upper hand against the other. With enormous casualties on both sides, the Union army needed to bolster its troop numbers without enough volunteers, the government enacted the draft. On July 13th, a group of protestors of the draft quickly turned into a rioting mob attacking local institutions in New York City. The draft riots exhibited people’s dislike towards the Civil War. People were so strongly pitted against the war that they were willing to stand up and fight for their right to not get involved in a war they did not believe in. Certain battles were devastating to the Union Army. In the Battle of Antietam an estimated 3600 Union soldiers died. To bolster troop numbers President Abraham Lincoln enacted a draft in March 1863: all male citizens between twenty and thirty-five and all unmarried men between thirty-five and forty-five were subject to be placed into a military lottery. However, since the newly freed slaves from the Emancipation Proclamation were not considered citizens, they were exempt from the draft. There was a way for citizens avoid enlistment however: pay the government $300 or hire a substitute. On July 11, 1863 the first draft lottery took place. Then, on the morning of the 13th, riots broke out across New York City which would take nearly five days to suppress. When the riots first broke out, they only targeted military and government buildings to protest the draft. However, be midday of the first day of the riots, rioters turned their anger and hatred towards blacks, especially working black men. Rioters would attack men, women, and children of color along with symbols of black life and culture. On the docks of New York, white employers started hiring blacks as longshoremen, however the white Irish workers refused to work with them. During the riots, the Irish workers attacked the 200 black employees on the docks. They then proceeded to attack the black brothels, boring houses, and other institutions that served blacks in the area. The rioters went as far as to attack two white women, Ann Derrickson and Ann Martin, just for being married to black men. One gruesome attack was on a black sailor “William Williams —jumping on his chest, plunging a knife into him, smashing his body with stones—while a crowd of men, women, and children watched”. These two brutal attacks reveals the disgust of the rioters towards blacks. At the start of the riots, the only force available to counter attack was the New York Police department. They were quite successful in keeping more important and significant areas of the city safe from the rioters. However, there were just not enough men to suppress all of the rioters. However, by July 14th the police department was bolstered by troops ordered from Gettysburg to help quell this insurrection. It took both the combined force of the police and military three more days to final crush the uprising. In all the military only fired into the crowds with deadly force three times, and a total of 105 people died throughout the draft riots. The draft riots illustrated the unrest and unhappiness of whites towards the war effort as well as the power of the government to crush the riots. This was a time in American history when the fate of the country was hanging in the balance. With the emancipation proclamation, the Union finally had a reason to be at war with the South. On the other hand, the Emancipation Proclamation played into the fear of whites who thought that blacks would take over their jobs leave them on the streets. With more and more blacks fleeing the South, this fear was growing and anti-war papers used the situation as a fear mechanism to stir-up emotions within the minds of white working men. White men were so angry towards working blacks that they were willing to do many heinous and gruesome acts towards innocent black men. I believe that the draft riots should be a topic included into a lecture because it exemplifies the themes of authority and rebellion. This type of rising-up against oppression can be seen many times throughout American history and in other themes we have discussed in this course. An example that stood out to me was the Boston Tea Party, where rioters protests British rule by throwing a shipment of tea into the Boston Harbor. In the New York riots, the oppressed poor people that could not pay the $300 decided to rise up and send a message to Washington; a message that they would not give up their liberties and freedom. They fought for something that they felt strong enough to die for.
On the opposite side if the spectrum, the U.S. government asserted their authority by firstly, by enacting the draft and secondly, by sending military troops the stop the riots. The government used the troops the show the rioters that their actions would not go unpunished and that the draft was the law of the land. The troops were a clear symbol of the power that the U.S. government maintained over its citizens. One final reason that this event fits perfectly into the course curriculum, was the racial tensions exhibited during the riots. When the rioters began attacking the black workers in New York, this illustrated that even though the blacks had just be freed not all whites were ready to work hand-in-hand with their fellow black workers.
In conclusion, the draft riots were a pivotal moment during the Civil War which showed the country’s disgust with the war. The riots pitted white workers against the government and feeding off their fears that black workers would take their jobs. The rioters, in an act of rebellion, sent a message to Washington which said they would not sit on the side lines and be forced to fight for something they did not believe in. The government reacted by sending a message back through force saying that the draft and the war were there to stay. This event correlates and brings together many of the topics we have discussed throughout the semester of History 1301 and that is why I believe the topic of the draft riots should be included in the course curriculum.

Bibliography

* I found the battle casualties on the National Park Service website. * I found In the Shadow of Slavery: through the University of Chicago press on Google. * I found The Draft Riots in New York, July, 1863 through Google Scholar searching draft riots. * I found The New York City Draft Riots: through Google Scholar searching draft riots.

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[ 1 ]. Bernstein, Iver. The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford University Press, 1990.
[ 2 ]. “Casualties of Battle,” National Park Service, accessed Dec. 11, 2014. www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/casualties
[ 3 ]. Leslie M. Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, University of Chicago, 2003, accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
[ 4 ]. Bernstein, Iver. The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford University Press, 1990.
[ 5 ]. Leslie M. Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, University of Chicago, 2003, accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
[ 6 ]. Leslie M. Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, University of Chicago, 2003, accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
[ 7 ]. Barnes, David. The Draft Riots in New York, July, 1863. Applewood Books, 2009.
[ 8 ]. Barnes, David. The Draft Riots in New York, July, 1863. Applewood Books, 2009.
[ 9 ]. Leslie M. Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, University of Chicago, 2003, accessed Dec. 11, 2014.
[ 10 ]. Tracey Deutsch, “Making Americas War” (Lecture, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN September 25,2014)
[ 11 ]. Bernstein, Iver. The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War. Oxford University Press, 1990.
[ 12 ]. Barnes, David. The Draft Riots in New York, July, 1863. Applewood Books, 2009.
[ 13 ]. Leslie M. Harris, In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863, University of Chicago, 2003, accessed Dec. 11, 2014.

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