The New York City Draft Riots

This paper is about the New York City Draft Riots of 1863 and the issues they highlighted.

This paper discusses the events and effects of July of 1863, when a major four-day eruption of violence occurred in New York as a result of the passage of the Conscription Act. The draft riots represented a period in American history when government focus was on social conflict. The author illustrates how the riots highlighted two explosive issues in mid-century New York: Relations between the wealthy and the poor and between blacks and whites.
“The main participants in the New York City draft riots were Irish Catholic immigrants, although some were native-borns, German-Americans, and Protestants. A history of conflict between the Irish immigrants and the blacks was a strong motive for much of the riot’s violent acts. In 1845 a potato famine hit Ireland, destroying the only food supply of millions of poor Irish farmers. This potato famine caused 2.5 million people to leave Ireland within the next ten years . These millions of poor Irish were moved into the Five Points, an area with many African-Americans due to the low cost. Racial tension began to mount, as the two groups were thrown into bitter competition for the worst dwellings and lowest-paying jobs . ”