Collection: Great Riots of New York

Orange Riots of 1870 and 1871

In a free country like ours, where toleration of all religions alike is one of the fundamental principles of the Government, one would naturally think that open persecution of any sect or body of religionists was impossible. But the Irish, unfortunately, have brought with them to this country not merely many of their old customs and national fetes, but their old religions feuds. Nearly two hundred years ago, William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, or William the Third, a Protestant, met the Catholic King, James the Second, of England, In deadly battle, in the vales of Meath, through which the

Rights of Municipalities

The rights of municipalities have been conceded from the first dawn of constitutional liberty indeed municipal freedom may be said to be the first step in the onward progress of the race toward the full recognition of its rights. To interfere with a great commercial city like New York, except by general laws, is as a rule unwise, impolitic, and, indeed, unjust. Like a separate State, it had better suffer many and great evils, than to admit the right of outward power to regulate its internal affairs. To do so, in any way, is fraught with mischief; but to do

No Military in the City

The terrible punishment the rioters received at the hands of Carpenter had, however, only checked their movements for a time; and, as the sun began to hang low in the summer heavens, men looked forward to the coming night with apprehension. In the meantime, however, the authorities, conscious of the perilous condition of the city, had resorted to every means of defense in their power. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, nearly the whole of its military force, on which it depended in any great emergency, was absent. Lee’s brilliant flank movement around Hooker and Washington, terminating in the invasion of Pennsylvania,

Execution Appointed for Hughson

The day of execution appointed for Hughson, his wife, and Peggy was a solemn one, and almost the entire population turned out to witness it. The former had declared that some extraordinary appearance would take place at his execution, and every one gazed on him as he passed in a cart from the prison to the gallows. He was a tall, powerful man, being six feet high. He stood erect in the cart all the way, his piercing eye fixed steadily on the distance, and his right hand raised high as his fetters would permit, and beckoning as though he

Flour Riot of 1837

Hunger will drive any people mad, and once let there be real suffering for want of food among the lower classes, while grain is piled up in the storehouses of the rich, and riots will surely follow. In the French Revolution of 1789, there was a great scarcity of provisions, which caused frightful outbreaks. It will never do to treat with scorn the cry of millions for bread. When, amid the general suffering in Paris, one said to Foulon, the minister of state, the people are starving for bread, he replied, “Let them eat hay.” The next day he was

Fourth Day of Riots

Only the principal disturbances of the third day were given, and of these the accounts were very succinct. The movements of the mobs and the conflicts with them were so similar in character, that a detailed description of them would be a mere repetition of what had gone before. After the police force, and the troops under General Brown had become organized so as to move and act together, each fight with the rioters was almost a repetition of its predecessor. Having adopted a plan of procedure, they seldom deviated from it, and the story of one fight became the

Continued Tranquility

On Saturday morning it was announced that the authorities at Washington had resolved to enforce the draft. It had been repeatedly asserted during the riot that it was abandoned, and the report received very general credence. Still, the official denial of it produced no disturbance. The spirit of insurrection was effectually laid. It is a little singular, that, in all these tremendous gatherings and movements, no prominent recognized leaders could be found. A man by the name of Andrews had been arrested and imprisoned as one, but the charge rested wholly on some exciting harangues he had made, not from

Doctors’ Riot, 1788

In former times “body snatching,” or digging up bodies for dissections, was much, more heard of than at present. The fear of it was so great, that often, in the neighborhood where medical students were pursuing their studies, persons who lost friends would have a watch kept over their graves for several nights, to prevent them from being dug up. Neither the high social position of parties nor sex was any barrier to this desecration of graves, and the public mind was often shocked by accounts of the young and beautiful being disinterred, to be cut up by medical students.

Draft Riots of 1863

The ostensible cause of the riots of 1863 was hostility to the draft, because it was a tyrannical, despotic, unjust measure an act which has distinguished tyrants the world over, and should never be tolerated by a free people. Open hostility to oppression was more than once hinted in a portion of the press as not only a right, but a duty. Even the London Times said, “It would have been strange, indeed, if the American people had submitted to a measure which is a distinctive mark of the most despotic governments of the Continent.” As if the fact that

Spring Election Riots of 1834

This country never committed a more fatal mistake than in making its naturalization laws so that the immense immigration from foreign countries could, after a brief sojourn, exercise the right of suffrage. Our form of government was an experiment, in the success of which not only we as a nation were interested, but the civilized world. To have it a fair one, we should have been allowed to build and perfect the structure with our own material, not pile into it such ill formed, incongruous stuff as the despotisms of Europe chose to send us. Growing up by a natural