The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

The Military Draft

Whose job was it to keep law and order?

One reason that the riots got so out of hand was that there were several people who could make that claim. Mayor George Opdyke and New York Governor Horatio Seymour (1810–1886) had conflicting lines of authority, as did General John Wool and the leader of the Metropolitan Police. On the first day of the riots, it was noticeable that none of these leaders wished to call in the full power of the federal government to rectify the situation.

To do so would have been deeply embarrassing to the local authorities.

The draft riots in New York City from July 13 to 16 occurred as a reaction to anger from draft laws implemented to add soldiers to the Union army.


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