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.
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. ...