Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The First Draft

The United States Senate passed the Conscription Act on February 16th 1863.

Two years into the Civil War, and both the Union and Confederates were finding it hard to get able-bodied men to serve. On February 16th 1863 the United States Senate passed the Conscription Act. It required all men between 20 and 45, including immigrants to register for the draft. Abraham Lincoln signed it into law on March 3rd 1863.

Men could avoid serving by paying $300 or finding a substitute. When the draft lottery was held in New York City on July 13th 1863 poor whites rioted. They attacked African Americans, burned houses, businesses and a black orphanage. The draft riot lasted five days.

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