Militia Act of July 17, 1862
This act allowed President Lincoln to issue rules to cover state laws for gaining soldiers. These powers included the power to draft soldiers from states that couldn't reach their quota set by the government. (3)
Conscription Act of March 3, 1863
The conscription act made all able bodied citizens between the ages of 25 and 24 available for the draft. Draft quotas were set for districts from population.(3) However, this Act did allow for people to get out of the draft. Men were allowed to buy a waver from the draft for $300.(5) This only fueled the fire because it didn't help the poor, who were the ones upset anyway. Another way of getting out of the draft was through substitutes. It allowed those who could afford it to hire someone else to take his place if he was drafted. These substitutes could cost up to as much as $1000, so again, it didn't help the poor. Grover Cleveland was one man who opted to pay a substitute for his place in the army.(1)
This made on of the primary goals of the war to free the slaves.
With these acts making it possible for anyone to be taken into the army, some fires were set that could not be put out. Irishmen working in New York felt they had no reason to fight in a war that would free black men and allow them to come and compete for jobs with the immigrants. (2) The Irishmen had already been on strike in June 1863 to oppose federal troops placed in Jew York to protect blacks at the docks. (5)
The first draft was, ironically, in the Confederate States of America in April 1862.(1) It didn't cause the uproar that came from the New York riots. Over the three days in July America would see its worst riot to that time to today.
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During the Draft riots
Numbers and statistics from the riots
Ending the riots and the aftermath
See what was and still is said about the riots
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This page was created by Chris Willoughby
Last updated 3-25-00