More than any other group of New Yorkers, industrialists made the Republican Party controversial in July 1863. While the Union League Club merchants helped to give the Republican Party of New York City its aristocratic, nativist, and coercive style, it was the industrialists and their aggressive brand of Republicanism that the draft rioters knew best. Industrialists were often the employers of the midweek rioters. They were the Republicans the rioters encountered six days a week at the shop and perhaps on the Sabbath in the person of a visitor from the charity society. It stands to reason that the industrialists did much to shape the rioters' image of Republicanism as unjust and intrusive authority. How the industrialists came to be so aggressive--and how they made the Republican Party a magnet for political and social dispute--provide the final ingredients in the history of the origins of the July crisis.
Industrialists addressed the riot-week issues of relations with the poor, between the races, and with the federal government in the context of a sweeping reform program. In their shops, metal trades employers promoted company-based draft insurance funds and enlisted their employees in military brigades to defend factories against arson. In the community, the industrialist reform organ, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, denounced Democratic "pseudo-philanthropists" such as Fernando Wood who made extravagant appeals to the working classes and favored indiscriminate public aid to the poor. After the riots the AICP also intensified a campaign for the education and discipline of immigrant working-class children and for health and housing legislation to counter the "demoralizing" influence of slum tenements on the poor.
Like the Union League Club merchants, industrialists encouraged a liberal aid to black victims of the mob, but, unlike the merchants, they sharply discriminated between two groups among the white working classes. The distinction between loyal and disloyal workers or a respectable and unworthy poor lay at the core of the industrialists' social vision. Company-based draft insurance, profit-sharing schemes, apprentice schools, factory military
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Publication information: Book title: The New York City Draft Riots:Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War. Contributors: Iver Bernstein - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 162.