22 May 2007
[NEW YORK DRAFT RIOTS]. Caption title: DON'T Unchain the Tiger! When the Traitors of South Carolina met in Convention at Charleston, and passed their ordinance to abolish the American Union, to crush out the democratic principles of free Government...and I knew that secession meant a terrible war, I said to myself and to them--Don't unclain the Tiger!...A democratic workingman. New York: Sinclair Tousey, 121 Nassau Street, 24 July 1863.
Folio broadside (17 3/8 x 12 in.), neatly linen-backed, small stain at top margin.
One of several broadsides issued by various workingman's groups and the Democratic Republican party in the aftermath of the bloody and destructive New York City Draft Riots. By 1863, Union enlistments had slowed to a trickle: "The men likely to enlist for patriotic reasons or adventure...were already in the army. War weariness and the grim realities of of army life discouraged further volunteering" (MacPherson, Battle Cry, p.600). The Enrollment Act of March 1863, intended to fill the army's depleted muster rolls, created an immediate backlash in the North. Resistance was particularly virulent in New York City, with its strong "copperhead" sympathies and large immigrant population (see following lot). When the drawing of draft lots began, on July 13, in the 9th Congressional District, a mob sacked the building and attacked firemen and police, setting fires and lynching free blacks. The conflagration raged for a full four days, causing some 1,000 casualties, before militia restored order at the point of the bayonet.
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