On July 13, 1863, poor and working class New Yorkers protested new rules that allowed wealthy Americans to avoid military conscription (the draft). These protests quickly turned violent, setting off the worst domestic conflict in American history outside the Civil War itself. 
 
The price to avoid the draft was $300 (almost $6,000 in 2014). Men who paid this fee were able to work or go to school instead of serving in the Civil War.
 
The New York Draft Riots turned into a race riot. Many white immigrants to New York were uncomfortable with the Emancipation Proclamation, issued earlier that year. In addition to racist prejudice, these immigrants feared increased competition for jobs from newly freed African Americans. As a result, African Americans, their homes and businesses were targeted by rioters. More than 115 people died in the riots, including police and rioters.
Civil War
Noun

(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

competition
Noun

contest between organisms for resources, recognition, or group or social status.

conscription
Noun

mandatory military service. Also called the draft.

domestic
Adjective

having to do with policies or issues within a nation.

draft
Noun

mandatory military service. Also called the conscription.

Emancipation Proclamation
Noun

(1863) declaration by President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War that freed all people held as slaves in most rebellious states.

fee
Noun

price or cost.

immigrant
Noun

person who moves to a new country or region.

increase
Verb

to add or become larger.

military
Noun

armed forces.

prejudice
Noun

unfair feeling for or against someone or something without basis in reason.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

race
Noun

arbitrary grouping of people based on genetics and physical characteristics.

racist
Adjective

community or government policy of denying certain rights to people based on their ancestry, usually signified by skin color.

target
Verb

to establish something as a goal or aim.

violent
Noun

strong, destructive force.

wealthy
Adjective

very rich.

working class
Noun

social class of workers, usually performing manual labor.

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