The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

The Military Draft

Where did the draft produce disastrous results?

There was anger, and tension, in many parts of the North, but New York City filled its usual role as the catalyst. The Empire City had not voted for Lincoln in 1860 (and would not grant him a majority in 1864, either). New York City was deeply divided between its native-born and foreign-born populations, with the greatest strains being those between men and women of Anglo descent and those of Irish descent. Making matters much worse was the fact that $300 represented the average annual pay of an Irish laborer in Manhattan, while it was a modest sum for a well-to-do man of business. To many people in New York, this was evidence that the war was for the benefit of the rich.


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