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Disturbances Which Were Called Riots In Earlier Times 1855

The Great New York Police Riot 1857 and The Five Points Riot of New York 1857
The Staten Island Riot: The Quarantine Conflagration September 2, 1858

The Staten Island Riot: The Quarantine War September 3, 1858

The Astor Place Riot 1859 and A Riot Among The Soldiers of the Third Regiment Irish Brigade 1861

Mob Excitement in Brooklyn 1861

The Draft Riot in New York City 1863 Part I: President Lincoln's Proclamations

The Draft Riot in New York City 1863 Part II: Bounties/Substitutes

The Draft Riot in New York City 1863 Part III: The New York Draft Riot

The Colored Orphan Asylum Riot 1863

The Orangemen Riot 1870-1871 and Near Riot at Tompkins Square 1877

Mob Attacks Meyer's Saloon 1893

Riot Preceded the Parade of Cloakmakers 1894

College Boys Cause A Riot and A Race Riot On The West Side of Manhattan 1900


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Herman Michael Biggs, physician and Public Health administrator organized in 1892 and directed the bacteriological laboratories of the NYC health department




The Draft Riot In New York City 1863 Part II: Bounties/ Substitutes

BOUNTY-MONEY, REWARD, paid to men to induce them to join the Army .

Bounty Jumpers

Soldiers who enlisted in the Federal Army in the United States in 1865 to get the $1500 Bonus paid for volunteers, the more unscrupulous in the group deserted soon afterward and reenlisted from one state to another, also towns etc. under another name and collected again and

2 From house to house, enrollers in the spring of '63 took the names of men and boys fit for the army. Also anyone having $300 cash, and willing to pay it as "bounty" to a substitute, was exempt and could stay at home .

Now he came to the one bitter sore spot that had raised up violence and devices of evasion, the $300 clause by which the men having that amount of money could escape military service. On this Lincoln reasoned:

"Much complaint is made of that provision of the conscription law which allows a drafted man to substitute three hundred dollars for himself; while as I believe, none is made of that provision which allows him to substitute another man for himself. Nor is the three hundred dollar provision objected to for unconstitutionality; but for inequality, for favoring the rich against the poor. The substitution of men is the provision, if any, which favors the rich to the exclusion of the poor. But this, being a provision in accordance with an old and well-known practice in the raising of armies, is not objected to. There would have been great objection if that provision had been omitted. And yet, being in, the money provision really modifies the inequality which the other introduces. It allows men to escape the service who are too poor to escape but for it.

Without the money provision, competition among the more wealthy might, and probably would, raise the price of substitutes above three hundred dollars, thus leaving the man who could raise only three hundred dollars no escape from personal service. True, by the law as it is, the man who cannot raise so much as three hundred dollars, nor obtain a personal substitute for less, cannot escape; but he can come quite as near escaping as he could if the money provision were not in the law.

"To put it another way: is an unobjectionable law which allows only the man to escape who can pay a thousand dollars made objectionable by adding a provision that anyone may escape who can pay the smaller sum of three hundred dollars? This is the exact difference at this point between the present law and all former draft laws. It is true that by this law a somewhat larger number will escape than could under a law allowing personal substitutes only; but each additional man thus escaping will be a poorer man than could have escaped by the law in the other form.

"The money provision enlarges the class of exempts from actual service simply by admitting poorer men into it. How then can the money provision be a wrong to the poor man? The inequality complained of pertains in greater degree to the substitution of men, and is really modified and lessened by the money provision.

"The inequality could only be perfectly cured by sweeping both provisions away. This, being a great innovation, would probably leave the law more distasteful than it now is. "The principle of the draft, which simply is involuntary or enforced service, is not new. It has been practiced in all ages of the world. It was well-known to the framers of our Constitution as one of the modes of raising armies, at the time they placed in that instrument the provision that "the Congress shall have power to raise and support armies." It had been used just before in establishing our independence, and it was also used under the Constitution in 1812. Wherein is the peculiar hardship now? Shall we shrink from the necessary means to maintain our free government, which our grandfathers employed to establish it, and our own fathers have already employed once to maintain it" Are we degenerate? Has the manhood of our race run out?"

The draft proceeded,. But how? Tammany, Tweed, A. Oakey Hall, Fernando Wood and his brother Ben, J.P. Morgan, the World, the Express, the Day Book, the Mercury, many scurrying politicians, examining physicians, and fixers, lawyers, did their work. Upward of $5,000,000 was appropriated by the municipality of New York for draft-evasion purposes. According to the "infallible" record which Lincoln had mentioned to Seymour, of 292,441 men whose names were drawn from the wheels 39,877 failed to report for examination. Of the remaining 252,564, for good or bad reasons 164,394 were exempted. This left 88,170 available for duty, of whom 52,288 bought exemption at $300 apiece, which yielded the Government $15,666,400. The original 292,441 names were thus cut down to 35,882 men, of whom 26,002 hired substitutes to go to war for them. This left 9,880 who lacked political pull or seemed to want to join the army and fight.

Among generals it was commented that the substitutes, bounty men, human material pressed into service by the enrolling officers, were not as good soldier stuff as the earlier recruits of the war. Its Boston correspondent reported sharp practices by substitute brokers and professional enlisters:

"Cripples have been passed off as sound, false teeth have been palmed off on credulous examining physicians as of nature's own dentistry. The other day a New Yorker, who will probably be discharged and enlist again, and who is over sixty years of age, was doctored up with rice-water bandages, paints, hair-dye, a four-dollar wig, and some stimulants, so that he could manifest the greatest agility and did not appear of thirty."


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