The Effects Of Racially Motivated Violence During The Civil War

2534 Words Dec 14th, 2014 11 Pages
As the country was embroiled in an unremitting civil war, New York City was afflicted by riots that would become the city’s most devastating instance of racially motivated violence. Between July 13th and July 16th, 1863, ten days after 46,000 Americans were slain at Gettysburg, riots broke out over a new law passed by Congress. This law, the Enrollment Act, was established to bring new recruits into the Union Army that was being diminished by the increasing amount of high-casualty battles. What initially began as a protest against the draft and the commutation fee that allowed wealthier citizens to buy their way out of the draft, soon turned into a race-riot, led primarily by Irish-American immigrants against New York’s African-American community. The riots led to a mass exodus of New York’s African-American population and resulted in the deaths of 119 men, many of whom were African-American, who were lynched and beaten by the white mobs. Behind the scenes of violence and disorder was Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that controlled City Hall from 1854 to 1932. This corrupt and venal organization, whose crimes normally consisted of doling out city contracts to supporters and precipitating Irish immigrants’ entrance to the voter rolls, now included murder. Rather than seek to have the draft declared unconstitutional, as many of the Irish working-class rioters wanted, Tammany inflamed already burgeoning racial tensions. Tammany did this by…

More about The Effects Of Racially Motivated Violence During The Civil War

Open Document