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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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This essay explores the motivations of soldiers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War.

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In this cartoon from the weekly satirical magazine Vanity Fair, an Irish longshoreman tells a black worker seeking employment on New York's waterfront: "Well, ye may be and man and a brother, sure enough; but it's little hospitality ye'll get out of…

These worksheets help students prepare for role plays of black and Irish New Yorkers debating their actions during the New York City draft riots of 1863. The worksheets accompany the activity "The New York City Draft Riots: A Role Play."

In this activity students research roles as either Irish immigrants or African-American residents in the midst of the New York City Draft Riots that took place in July 1863. Students gather evidence from primary sources to develop their characters,…

In this activity students examine sheet music and letters from draft rioters to examine Union attitudes about the military draft during the Civil War.

On July 20, four days after federal troops put down the 1863 Draft Riot, a group of Wall Street businessmen formed a committee to aid New York's devastated black community. The Committee of Merchants for the Relief of Colored People Suffering from…

In 1863, Congress issued a Conscription Act to draft more people into the army to fight the Civil War. The draft law also included a provision that allowed wealthy men to pay $300 to a substitute, thus avoiding military service. In response, in New…

Between July 13 and 16, 1863, the largest riots the United States had yet seen shook New York City. In the so-called Civil War draft riots, the city's poor white working people, many of them Irish immigrants, bloodily protested the federally-imposed…

This account, originally published as a series of articles for the New York Times, details the activities of police in the 6th precinct during the 1863 Draft Riots. The 6th precinct was in the northern part of the 6th Ward, home of New York's "Five…

The worst episode of large-scale urban violence in American history, the New York City draft riots were sparked by the passage of conscription laws which made thousands of male New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 45 eligible to be drafted into the…
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