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Northern Homefront:
Dissent and Transformation
Economic impact: rural areas
• Effects not as dramatic as in cities
• In fact, wages for rural farm workers actually
rose
...
Impact on workers
• Civil War’s economic effects felt most strongly in cities
– New jobs and competition for labor; wages ...
Draft
• Enrollment Act of 1863
– First national system of conscription
• Much of the public—esp. recent immigrants—associa...
The drafting wheel
Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight?
• Poor not more likely to serve
• In the end, few men actually drafted
– Recall this is ...
Working-class resentment
• Many poor, working-class men deeply resented
the idea that the government was making them
fight...
New York City Draft Riot 1863
• Largest riot/civil disturbance in US history
• 4-5 days of mayhem, starting July 13
– Firs...
Burned in NYC draft riot
Draft Riot (NYC)
Widespread desertion
• Provost Marshal estimated there were
200,000 deserters from years (1863-65)
– Joan Cashin suggests ...
Democratic Opposition
• Democratic strongholds throughout the US
– IL, IN, OH, parts of PA and NY
• “War Democrats” (loyal...
1860 Presidential Election
Wartime elections
• Abraham Lincoln received only 50% of the
Northern vote in 1860 (40% overall)
• Support for the Democra...
Radical Republicans and Abolitionists
• Held their own convention in the Spring 1864
• Split the party between pro- and an...
Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
• Aug. 1864: Lowest point for Lincoln’s presidency
– Lots of pressure on him to rescind the...
1864 Election
• Democratic candidate: George McClellan
– Ostensibly a War Democrat, but wants war to end
soon
• How does L...
1864 election
1864 election
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north
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Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north

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Lecture 12

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Lecture 12: Transformation and dissent in the north

  1. 1. Northern Homefront: Dissent and Transformation
  2. 2. Economic impact: rural areas • Effects not as dramatic as in cities • In fact, wages for rural farm workers actually rose – Strong demand for crops • Not just from Army, but from Europe • People who suffered most in rural areas were women trying to get manage farms on their own
  3. 3. Impact on workers • Civil War’s economic effects felt most strongly in cities – New jobs and competition for labor; wages went up • Increased by 50-60% • BUT: Inflation went up, too —prices rose by almost 100% • Living standards of many workers therefore declined • Rise in child labor; pauperism; prostitution • Growth of class conflict – Growth of labor unions; more strikes – Growing resentment of federal government • Sense that it was on the side of the rich
  4. 4. Draft • Enrollment Act of 1863 – First national system of conscription • Much of the public—esp. recent immigrants—associated conscription with European despotism – Established Provost Marshals Bureau • Divided North into 185 districts • Provost marshals sent out to identify men eligible for draft – All men between 20 and 45 had to register – Exemptions for: Aliens who had not declared intent to become citizens; disabled; only sons of dependent parents; sole supporters of motherless children – Draftees could pay a commutation fee of $300 or hire a substitute • $300 was roughly a year’s wages for an unskilled worker – Commutation fee provision repealed in 1864
  5. 5. The drafting wheel
  6. 6. Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight? • Poor not more likely to serve • In the end, few men actually drafted – Recall this is a war fought by volunteers – abt 90% • Draft should be seen as a way to make people “volunteer” – Stigma to being drafted – Volunteers received high bounties for signing up • Jan. 1863: $300; 1864: $1,000 • BUT: the perception that the poor were bearing the weight remained
  7. 7. Working-class resentment • Many poor, working-class men deeply resented the idea that the government was making them fight for slaves – Powerful strain of racism in the Democratic Party – They feared black migration to North; job competition • They also resented the rich – $300 men • And they resented institutions they associated with the war and with Northern reformers who supported the war – New York Times
  8. 8. New York City Draft Riot 1863 • Largest riot/civil disturbance in US history • 4-5 days of mayhem, starting July 13 – First draft lottery in the city had been July 11 • Official death toll around 120 – 11 blacks lynched in the streets • Black longshoremen • Well-dressed, “$300 men” attacked • Colored Orphan Asylum burned to ground – Recently built; imposing symbol of Northern benevolence; children themselves escaped • New York militia troops returning from Gettysburg had to put down the uprising
  9. 9. Burned in NYC draft riot
  10. 10. Draft Riot (NYC)
  11. 11. Widespread desertion • Provost Marshal estimated there were 200,000 deserters from years (1863-65) – Joan Cashin suggests there were even more – Majority of these men were not fleeing to Canada; they were hiding right in the US • Could only do this with cooperation of families & communities – Cashin argues that this shows the predominance of prewar loyalties to one’s family, community, white race, own self interest
  12. 12. Democratic Opposition • Democratic strongholds throughout the US – IL, IN, OH, parts of PA and NY • “War Democrats” (loyal opposition) – Opposed Emancipation and confiscation of southerners’ property, but believed war necessary to restore the Union • “Peace Democrats” – Believed the war should end immediately; thought the North lacked constitutional right to force the South to remain in the Union – Blamed the war on abolitionists – Engaged in small-scale guerrilla activity; parts of IL put under martial law • Unionists referred to both as “Copperheads”
  13. 13. 1860 Presidential Election
  14. 14. Wartime elections • Abraham Lincoln received only 50% of the Northern vote in 1860 (40% overall) • Support for the Democrats grew in 1862-63 – 1862: Recall that Democrats made big gains in Congress and gained several governorships • 1864 Election: Really key election – Lincoln himself expected to lose – Republicans so desperate they renamed the party! • “National Union Party”
  15. 15. Radical Republicans and Abolitionists • Held their own convention in the Spring 1864 • Split the party between pro- and anti-Lincoln candidates • They put up John C. Frémont as their candidate • Platform called for protection of civil rights of freed people – Did not call for the right to vote for black men – But did call for confiscation of lands and redistribution
  16. 16. Lincoln and Frederick Douglass • Aug. 1864: Lowest point for Lincoln’s presidency – Lots of pressure on him to rescind the Emancipation Proclamation • Lincoln invited Frederick Douglass to White House – At their first meeting, Douglass asked for meeting to talk about unequal pay for black soldiers – But this time Lincoln summoned Douglass • Lincoln essentially asked Douglass to organize an operation to funnel slaves out of the upper South/border • Douglass was stunned by Lincoln’s desire to free as many slaves as possible before the war was lost • Plan never put into action because military tide turned
  17. 17. 1864 Election • Democratic candidate: George McClellan – Ostensibly a War Democrat, but wants war to end soon • How does Lincoln pull off a victory? – (Got 55% of the popular vote in the end) – Success on the battlefield • Especially Sherman’s taking of Atlanta in Sept. 64 – Soldier vote: Union soldiers go overwhelmingly for Lincoln (78%) • Upshot: Despite significant dissent, support for continuing the war remained relatively strong, especially when compared to the Confederacy
  18. 18. 1864 election
  19. 19. 1864 election

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