New York Draft RiotsThe New York Draft Riots occurred from July 11 to July 13, 1863, in response to President Abraham Lincoln's Enrollment Act of Conscription to draft men to fight in the ongoing Civil War. The riots erupted after the names of the drafted men appeared in the local New York City press on July 11, shortly after the newspapers had reported the tremendous loss of life at Gettysburg. Although the draft was universal, it was possible to pay a "commutation fee" to escape service, thereby excluding the wealthier classes from the hazards of war.
In response, some 50,000 people, particularly impoverished Irish immigrants, rioted, smashing store windows and attacking people, particularly African Americans, on the street. The police were called in to restore order, and several dozens (possibly several hundred) people lost their lives.