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Posts: 13

1


As things change,  things remain the same

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The Irish of New York City believed that they bore a disproportionate burden under the "Enrollment Act" draft law of March, 1863.  The act required that all able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45 register for possible military service, with a lottery determining the order in which men were to be called up.  A provision of the act allowed that men who could afford to pay a commutation fee of $300, or who could arrange for a substitute, could buy their way out of the service.  Most laboring men, many of whom were Irish could not afford the $300.

3

On the fourth day of the rioting, Archbishop John Hughes, who was a revered leader of the Irish community, tried to use his influence to calm down his countrymen.  Addressing a large crowd, he said, "If you are Irishmen, for your enemies say the rioters are Irishmen, I am also an Irishman, but not a rioter.  If you are Catholic, as they have reported, then I am a Catholic too.  I know that under the misguidance of real or imaginary evils, people will sometimes get uneasy; but I think with the poet that it is better to bear out slight inconveniences than to rush to evils that we have not yet witnessed.  When these so-called riots are over, and the blame is justly laid on the Irish Catholics, I wish you to tell me in what country I could claim to be born?"

4

An interesting tidbit is Theodore Roosevelt Sr. paid a substitute and TR always felt ashamed of his father for hiring a replacement. Also his mother was a supporter of the Confederacy and two of her brothers fought for the southern cause.

5

In the end, Lincoln was not pressured into changing the "Enrollment Act", despite pleas from New York City officials and the state of New York's Governor, Horatio Seymour.  Seymour objected to the draft on constitutional grounds and argued to Lincoln that the draft should be suspended until the Supreme Court could make a ruling on it.
Lincoln replied to Governor Seymour that, "I do not object to abide a decision of the United States Supreme Court, or of the judges thereof, on the constitutionality of the draft law.  In fact, I should be willing to facilitate the obtaining of it; but I cannot consent to lose the time while it is being obtained."  Comparing the Union draft law with that of the Confederacy, Lincoln continued that, "We are contending with an enemy who, as I understand, drives every able bodied man he can reach, into his ranks, very much like a butcher drives bullocks into a slaughter-open.  No time is wasted, no argument is used."
Lincoln agreed to have a commission investigate inequities in the New York's quotas especially those that fell heavily on the Irish wards.  As a result more exemptions were issued for Irish, Germans and Jews who were opposed to fighting in the Union Army and the cost of replacements for working class men was funded by the New York Board of Supervisors.
The draft resumed in New York City without incident on August 19, 1863.

6

I agree.Irish immigrants were not literally drafted as soon as they got off the boat but otherwise a good treatment

7

I agree.Irish immigrants were not literally drafted as soon as they got off the boat but otherwise a good treatment

8

As I recall from the movie, they were being recruited for enlistment on the docks with the promise of a cash amount in return.
My feeling is that some fraction of them came to the US with the intention of joining the northern army as it provided immediate pay and room and board, and for them the concept was probably little different to those Irish who joined the British Army in order to do something with themselves.
I suspect that to be drafted, the government had to know who you were, which implies a name, age, and address registered somewhere.

9

As I recall from the movie, they were being recruited for enlistment on the docks with the promise of a cash amount in return.
My feeling is that some fraction of them came to the US with the intention of joining the northern army as it provided immediate pay and room and board, and for them the concept was probably little different to those Irish who joined the British Army in order to do something with themselves.
I suspect that to be drafted, the government had to know who you were, which implies a name, age, and address registered somewhere.

10

In every war men die of disease which is a shame. War means misery and hardships the side which can endure the hardships win. The negative effects on both sides are tremendous as a result all the generals hate wars where as politicians love them. For the politicians war brings money. In the end it is greed even here the scarcity of jobs So ?????????

11

In every war men die of disease which is a shame. War means misery and hardships the side which can endure the hardships win. The negative effects on both sides are tremendous as a result all the generals hate wars where as politicians love them. For the politicians war brings money. In the end it is greed even here the scarcity of jobs So ?????????


12

A book I've heard great things about is "City of Sedition: The History of New York City during the Civil War" by John Strausbaugh.
Anybody who thinks racism was restricted to the South in this period hasn't studied history at all. The reality was complicated in part because of the economics of slavery and the northern textile industry, in part because apologists for black slavery had ideologically dominated for centuries, and in part because of fears over job competition. There was much more as well that went into molding the consciousness of every individual and group. For example ...
In "City of Sedition" there is section on Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, who was present in New York City as the Irish mobs were lynching and mutilating blacks and as some shouted "Long Live Jefferson Davis!" in the streets. As a "cultured" Shakespearean actor Booth despised the poor Catholic Irish immigrants (he had been active in the "Know Nothing" movement, yet may have secretly converted to Catholicism late in life). He ended up actually helping hide a wounded Union Army officer from the mobs in his brother's home in Manhatten!
The introduction of the draft after so many battlefield disappointments but just following the victory at Gettysburg, the eventual arming and equipping of black regiments, the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation despite his original insistence that the war was being fought only to maintain the Union, all are examples of Lincoln's incredible political savvy and personal determination in the face of immense difficulties.
Though a simple retrospective tally of the productive forces in North and South might make some think the North was bound to win, there was probably no other politician besides Lincoln who could have programmatically forged the Republican coalition, held it together, and won the Civil War. He was an enemy of "Know Nothings" and thus a friend of Irish immigration, an enemy of slavery and thus a friend of the Negro, a genuine friend of the working man while still being a capitalist politician who understood the realities of power. The more I study the history of the period, the more I appreciate his accomplishment.

13

A book I've heard great things about is "City of Sedition: The History of New York City during the Civil War" by John Strausbaugh.
Anybody who thinks racism was restricted to the South in this period hasn't studied history at all. The reality was complicated in part because of the economics of slavery and the northern textile industry, in part because apologists for black slavery had ideologically dominated for centuries, and in part because of fears over job competition. There was much more as well that went into molding the consciousness of every individual and group. For example ...
In "City of Sedition" there is section on Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, who was present in New York City as the Irish mobs were lynching and mutilating blacks and as some shouted "Long Live Jefferson Davis!" in the streets. As a "cultured" Shakespearean actor Booth despised the poor Catholic Irish immigrants (he had been active in the "Know Nothing" movement, yet may have secretly converted to Catholicism late in life). He ended up actually helping hide a wounded Union Army officer from the mobs in his brother's home in Manhatten!
The introduction of the draft after so many battlefield disappointments but just following the victory at Gettysburg, the eventual arming and equipping of black regiments, the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation despite his original insistence that the war was being fought only to maintain the Union, all are examples of Lincoln's incredible political savvy and personal determination in the face of immense difficulties.
Though a simple retrospective tally of the productive forces in North and South might make some think the North was bound to win, there was probably no other politician besides Lincoln who could have programmatically forged the Republican coalition, held it together, and won the Civil War. He was an enemy of "Know Nothings" and thus a friend of Irish immigration, an enemy of slavery and thus a friend of the Negro, a genuine friend of the working man while still being a capitalist politician who understood the realities of power. The more I study the history of the period, the more I appreciate his accomplishment.

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