Digital History

The Civil War

The New York City Draft Riots Previous Next
Digital History ID 3080



As the war dragged on, enthusiasm faded and class tensions flared. In the North, the worst mob violence in American history took place in New York City in July 1863, two weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg. About 120 people were killed, mainly by police and soldiers. Irish Catholic immigrants and their children had been egged on by Democratic leaders who told them that Republicans wanted to free the slaves in order bring them north to replace Irish workers. During four days of rioting, mobs lynched at least a dozen African American men, destroyed draft offices, burned and looted black neighborhoods and the homes of leading Republicans and abolitionists.

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