enter name and hit return
Find in Page
Draft Riots in NY, Anti-Mason, Hunker and Barnburner-History NYS pre-1900
DRAFT RIOTS IN NEW YORK.  A bloody disturbance which took place on July
13-16, 1863. The pressing need for more soldiers had compelled Congress to
pass a Conscription Act  (March 3, 1863), authorizing the President to
recruit the army whenever necessary by a draft from "all able-bodied male
citizens"  between the ages of twenty and forty-five years. Any man,
however, might, after being drafted, procure exemption from service by the
payment of $300. The act was vigorously assailed as unconstitutional by the
opponents of the Administration, who also asserted that the exemption clause
was a flimsy device for enabling the rich to evade service. Among those who
adopted and proclaimed such views was Governor Seymour of New York State,
who seems also to have represented the attitude of many prominent men in New
York City. On Saturday, July 11, the draft began, without opposition, in New
York at one of the enrollment offices in the strongly Democratic Ninth
District. On Sunday some drafted workingmen, aided by a number of political
agitators, fomented the discontent of the populace, and organized an
opposition to enrollment. The draft was renewed at 10 A.M. on Monday, but
the assistant provost -marshal's office was soon attacked, demolished, and
burned by a furious mob, which, after overcoming a squad of police sent
against it, roamed about the city, and , frenzied by excitement and drink,
committed numberless outrages. The rioters, prejudiced against the negro and
feeling that the draft had been occasioned by an "abolition war," everywhere
pursued the blacks with unrelenting rancor, and brutally assaulted,
tortured, and killed many that fell into their hands. The Colored Orphan
Asylum was attacked, sacked, and burned, and the offices of the New York
TRIBUNE, one of the papers which had upheld the Administration, narrowly
escaped destruction. On Tuesday the mobs, increased in number, continued to
pillage, sack, burn, and kill, though in many districts they were sharply
repulsed and partially dispersed by the police and militia. On Wednesday,
the 15th, the assistant provost-marshal-general announced that the draft
would be temporarily suspended, and militia regiments, arriving from
Pennsylvania, rendered efficient service against the mobs. Large militia
reinforcements arrived on the following day, and, though isolated bodies of
rioters still defied the law, order was soon restored throughout the city.
Before Friday morning the uprising had been thoroughly suppressed. It is
estimated that during these four days more than 1000 men had been killed,
and property valued at over $1,500,000 had been destroyed.
   On August 19th the draft was resumed, and it was completed, without
further resistance, within ten days.
the Official Records, Vol. XXVII., Part II.  (Washington, 1889);  Fry, New
York and the Conscription of 1863 (New York, 1885) ;  Barnes, The Draft
Riots in New York (New York, 1863) :  Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, Vol. VII.
(New York, 1890), and Greeley,  The American Conflict, Vol. II. (Hartford,1866).

                                Volume I

ANTI-MASONS...Th name of a political party in New York and other States,
organized in 1827-28, chiefly as the result of excitement over the fate of
William Morgan, of Batavia, N.Y., who was said to be about to publish, or
betray, the secrets of the Masonic order, of which he was a member. He
disappeared suddenly in 1826, and his fate has never been satisfactorily
determined. The opponents of Freemasonry declared that he had been murdered
and his body sunk in the river or lake at Niagara. Legal inquiries followed,
but proved nothing. At or about that time the governor of the State was a
Mason of the most advanced degrees, and probably a majority of all public
officers were members of the order. Widespread excitement pervaded Western
New York, and the Anti-Masonic party was formed, casting 33,000 votes in
1828, about 70,000 in 1829, and 120,000 in 1830, though many in the latter
year were anti-Jackson men, without reference to Masonry. The party
attempted to organize on national lines in 1830, and especially in
connection with its National Convention of 1831: and in 1832 it supported
William Wirt for President, but carried only one State, Vermont. The party
was also able, through the disorganization of the Democrats, to control
temporarily Pennsylvania, and it was strong in Ohio and Massachusetts; but
after 1835 it disappeared as rapidly as it had arisen. Many who were
conspicuous later in the two chief parties, such as Thurlow Weed (q.v.) and
Seward (q.v.), were members of this party for a brief time; but upon the
coalescence and harmonizing of each of the dominant parties, the life of a
third national party became an impossibility, especially upon the subsidence
of the excitement out of which it had arisen.
Hammond,  Political History of New York State (Cooperstown, 1846) : Hopkins,
Political Parties (New York, 1900)

                           Volume X

HUNKERS....(perhaps from Dutch honk, station, home). In American political
history, the name applied for some years after 1843 to that part of the
Democratic Party in the State of New York which stood for conservatism, and
was arrayed against the radical faction of the same party, known as the
Barnburners (q.v.). Factional differences had arisen in the party prior to
1843, but open and avowed antagonism maybe said to date from that year. The
Hunkers adhered to the regular Democratic Party in the Presidential contest
of 1848, while their opponents united with the Free Soilers, and with them
nominated Van Buren. After 1852 the two factions acted more or less in
harmony in both State and National politics. Among the leaders of the
Hunkers were Horatio Seymour, William L. Marcy, Samuel Beardsley, Edwin
Croswell, and Daniel S. Dickinson. The name "Hunkers" was also applied at
times to the Conservative element of the Democratic Party in other States.

                                    Volume II

BARNBURNERS...In American political history, a faction of the Democratic
party in New York State after 1844, so called (in allusion to a Dutchman who
was said to have burned his barn to free it of rats) from their supposed
eagerness for radical reform measures--especially for such measures as would
prevent the extension of slavery in the Territories. Unable to secure
satisfactory recognition in the Democratic National Convention of 1848, they
joined the Free Soilers, and with them nominated Van Buren for the
Presidency. Their vote, dividing the Democratic strength, secured the
election of Taylor, the Whig nominee. In 1852 they reunited with their
opponents, the Hunkers, though the two factions did not work together in
harmony until several years later.Before this time the name "Softs" or
"Soft-shells" had replaced the name "Barnburners".

Miriam Medina
Reference is made to the above mentioned subjects in the History section of
New York State. See below information.
Source: The New International Encyclopaedia
Copyright:  1903,1904,1905
Publisher:  Dodd, Mead and Company--New York

Return to VOTE Main
Return to BROOKLYN Main