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History of New York City - Essay Example

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History of New York City

Most of the names drawn were that of Irish people, whose opposition to the Civil War became all the more pronounced in 1863. The blacks were exempted from this enlistment. This is what triggered the Draft Riots in 1863.
The Irish men foresaw the 'freeing of slaves' as detrimental to their work, position and power. The liberated slaves of the south would now occupy the northern markets as cheap labor and take the place of the Irish men. This was one of the major factors, which made the Irish anti-abolitionists. The violent Irish would do anything to safeguard their low wage jobs.
New York was the epicenter of the Draft Riots in the year 1863. (Burrows and Wallace, 883). The angry rioters burnt down several buildings on the Third Avenue, Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street. The violent outbursts affected the businesses and properties of many. The attack on the Steinways & Son factory was one such case, which is hardly dwelt upon in previous accounts of the Draft Riots.
An Irish settlement near Central Park was burnt down. Fighting continued into the next day on the 1st and 2nd Avenues and 21st street. Some vehicles were seen on the road. A few shops also resumed their services. A large military unit comprising 6000 soldiers combined with a thunderstorm weakened the force of the rioters to a great extent. Peace was restored on July 17th with a speech by the Archbishop Hughes's to mark the occasion. The death toll estimated was approximately 119 and 195 were reported injured.

Steinway & son

The mass migration which took place in the 19th century saw a major inflow of people from European countries to New York and the United States of America. One such family was that of Steinways. (Steinway: Immigration, Family Business, Neighborhood.
A New York Story, 2001). The Zollverein was formed in 1834 to encourage free trade. Most of the German states joined the Zollverein. Owing to tariffs on iron and textile goods, the north-western German states refrained from joining. This hit the Steinways (known as Steinweg then) and other manufacturers hard, as they were required to pay heavy duties for transporting their goods to the north. In the middle of the 1850's, the infected potato crop in Ireland had a disastrous impact on German crops. Agricultural decline, agitation, and a poor economy led many Germans to seek for better opportunities in America. (Lieberman, 35-37)
With stricter regulations on trade, the piano making business of the Steinways suffered much and they decided to leave their village Seesen in Germany for America. Charles, one of the sons of Henry E. Steinway, left for America in 1849. With trade and business becoming all the more difficult and the failed February Revolution of 1848, in which Charles participated, the decision to leave for America became indispensable. (Ehrlich, 48)
The development of various shipping companies and cheaper travel fares in the 19th century had brought many people to America. A cultural and manufacturing hub of America, New York attracted many immigrants, amongst which Steinway's family deserves special mention. A leading center of piano production, New York held a lot of promise for the Steinways. This was the ...Show more


The draft riots that broke out in July, in 1863 during the American Civil War, continued over five days in New York City. The riots were a direct attack against the Federal Conscriptions Act, passed in 1863, which proposed for a national draft by lottery. Attempts at volunteer enlistment also suffered a serious blow.
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History of New York City essay example
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