The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War

By Iver Bernstein | Go to book overview
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Notes

PREFACE
1.
I borrow and edit for my own purposes a phrase used by Richard J. Evans in Death in Hamburg: Society and Politics in the Cholera Years, 1830-1910 ( Oxford, 1987), 567. Evans describes the cholera epidemic in late-nineteenthcenturyHamburg as "one of those events that, as Lenin once put it, may perhaps be ultimately insignificant in themselves, but nevertheless, as in a flash of lightning, illuminate a whole historical landscape, throwing even the obscurest features into sharp and dramatic relief."

While the draft riots did indeed expose a contentious world, I readily acknowledge that mid-century society had quieter aspects that an event of this sort was less able to illuminate.


INTRODUCTION
1.
Rioting was a common and important mode of cultural expression for antebellum urban Americans. On antebellum crowd violence, see Steven Novak, The Rights of Youth: American Colleges and Student Revolt, 1798-1815 ( Cambridge, 1977); David Allmendinger, "Dangers of Antebellum Student Life", Journal of Social History 7 (Fall 1973), 75-85 (youth); David Grimsted, "Rioting in Its Jacksonian Setting", AHR 77 ( April 1972), 361-97 (rioting and republican ideology); Leonard L. Richards, "Gentlemen of Property and Standing": Anti- Abolitionist Mobs in Jacksonian America ( New York, 1970); Theodore Hammett , "Two Mobs of Jacksonian Boston: Ideology and Interest", JAH 62 ( March 1976), 845-68 (anti-abolitionist mobs); David Montgomery, "The Shuttle and the Cross: Weavers and Artisans in the Kensington Riots of 1844", Journal of Social History 5 ( 1972), 411-46; Bruce Laurie, "Fire Companies and Gangs in Southwark: The 1840s", in Allen F. Davis and Mark H. Haller, eds., The Peoples of Philadelphia ( Phila., 1973), 71-87; Paul O. Weinbaum, "Temperance, Politics and the New York City Riots of 1857", NYHSQ 59 ( July 1975), 246-70 (political violence of ethnic groups).
2.
For a Northerner's anticipation of European intervention see Robert A. Maxwell to Abraham Lincoln, Phila., July 15, 1863, Abraham Lincoln Papers, LC.

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