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The Enrollment Act of 1863 was enacted on March 3 1863 It required all male citizens and male immigrants who had filed for citizenship from 20 to 45 years of age to enlist in the military draft This act sparked bitter rebellions throughout the country but none compared to the New York City Draft Riots that lasted from July 13th to July 16th The riot quickly grew out of hand policemen and other authorities had no power as they watched buildings burn and people die The New York City Draft Riots were worse thayn the other riots that took place in response to the Enrollment Act due to economic social and political reasons Economic pressure contributed to New York City breaking into violent riots shortly after the United States government enacted the Enrollment Act of 1863 During the Civil War New York found itself in an awkward predicament A large group of people in the North found slavery evil and after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1 1863 the Civil War became a war over whether slavery was right or wrong However New York was extremely dependent on the institution of slavery in the South New Yorks industry relied on the cotton that slaves in the South picked and New Yorks ships had a large industry based solely on shipping cotton A letter from a New York merchant to an abolitionist stated We are not such fools as not to know that slavery is a great evil a great wrong But a great portion of the property of the Southerners is invested under its sanction and the business of the North as well as of the South has become adjusted to it There are millions upon millions of dollars due from Southerners to the merchants the payment of which would be jeopardized by any rupture between the North and South We cannot afford to let you overthrow slavery It
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