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Abraham Lincoln announced the first federal draft. The reaction to this was in New York City on July 13 1863, a riot broke out, that lasted four days. The official number killed, was 105 but the toll was certainly more than 500. Thousands of blacks fled the city (8 ). 178 soldiers and police and 128 civilians were injured. More than 1.5 million in property was damaged (9 ).
During the draft riots of 1863 the rioters number 50,000 the police force numbered 800 and were greatly out numbered. Most of the rage seem to be focused on the black population. The mobs logic was according to an observer was "There would have been no draft but for the war--there would have been no war but for Slavery--the Slaves were black--ergo, all blacks were responsible....". Also white workers saw freed blacks as competition for jobs, and because blacks were not full citizens they were ineligible for the draft(10).
In Chicago on May 4 1886 at Haymaker square what had been a peaceful labor rally held by a few anarchists. Violence erupted when the police tried to disperse the crowd and a bomb exploded. The police opened fire on the crowd. Then riot broke out. The end result was eight dead and 100 wounded. The Public demanded action, eight anarchist were tried and even though no evidence was provided that they had made or thrown the bomb, they were convicted. Four were hanged, one committed suicide the rest were pardoned by John P. Altgeld , governor of Illinois in 1893 on the grounds the trial had been patently unjust (11 ).
Striking for labor rights was serious business towards the end of the 1800's. In 1877 thirty strikers were killed during a railroad strike. The violence carried on into the 1900's. In 1902 the national guard as dispatched during a strike resulting in numerous injuries. In 1905 conflicts between police and strikers during a strike led to the deaths of 14 people(12). This is just a brief overview of the violence experienced in Americas early labor movement.
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