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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 so-called "Twenty Negro Law," enacted by the Confederate Congress in 1862, allowed an exemption from military service for slaveholders who owned twenty or more slaves. In effect, this allowed large plantation owners and overseers to avoid [...]
This essay describes the circumsances surrounding one of Eastman Johnson's most famous paintings, A Ride for Liberty–The Fugitive Slaves.
Despite his personal opposition to slavery, when President Abraham Lincoln took office in 1861 he insisted that his constitutional duty was to keep the nation together, not to abolish slavery. He conducted the first year of the war with the goal of [...]
Entrepreneur George A. Croffut published several tourist guides and manuals encouraging Americans to visit and settle in the West. His guides prominently featured the expanding railroad network as the best way to explore the vast territory beyond [...]
This essay introduces you to the main forces behind the abolition of slavery in the United States, as well as the debate among historians as to who played the key role.