Northern Racism and the New York City Draft Riots of 1863

Just how racist were some people in the North during the American Civil War? Using excerpts of the Conscription Act, as well as graphic images of lynchings, young historians consider why white people in New York City rioted and killed African American citizens. Prompts aid primary source analysis, and an exit ticket asks pupils to reconstruct the events of the riot. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use questions and Conscription Act excerpts to build primary source skills
Classroom Considerations
  • Lesson includes multiple images of lynchings and is inappropriate for some learners
  • Class members need background information on the first half of the Civil War
  • Scaffolded questions help build skills
  • Activities incorporate a variety of images, including words and images
  • Activities fail to use any first-hand or media reports of the riots