Suggested Teaching Instructions
The following questions are designed to test your ability to work with historical documents. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view.
New York State's contribution to the Union cause in the Civil War was extraordinary, despite deep divisions among the state's populace. The state enlisted 448,000 troops, suffered 46,534 casualties, and raised 150 million dollars for the Union war effort. All exceeded the contributions of any other state. More than 200 New York infantry, cavalry, and artillery units served in the war and collectively saw action in nearly every campaign. A host of New Yorkers distinguished themselves through military and public service during the war. While the state's leadership pulled together to raise enormous levels of volunteers and funds for the cause, longstanding divisions rendered this process very difficult at times.
In New York as in the rest of the Union, support for the policies of President Lincoln and even the war itself rose and fell with the fortunes of the Union army. New Yorkers disagreed over what they felt was the true purpose of the war. Support for the Emancipation Proclamation was far from unanimous and the conscription act passed by Congress in March of 1863 caused deep resentment in the state. Desertions were not at all uncommon.
Class, ethnic, and racial tensions, as well as opposition to the draft came to a head with the New York City draft riots of July 1863. The riots resulted in the deaths of 119 and the wounding of over 300 persons. Property damage was estimated at roughly one million dollars. Still in the end, the state raised twenty-three ethnic regiments, dominated by individuals of German and Irish descent, as well as three regiments of African American troops.
Despite the outcome of the Civil War, social conflicts and inequities that existed within New York prior to the war endured well into the future. Still, New York's economy grew, industrialization of the state proceeded, wages increased, and the city of New York assumed its place as the financial center of the nation.
Using the information from the following documents, and your own knowledge of history, answer the questions in Part A that follow each document. Your answers to these questions will help you complete the writing assignment given in Part B.
Part A: Instructions
Read and analyze each document and answer each of the questions in the space provided.
Part B: Essay
a. Using information and evidence from all of the documents to support your thinking, and using your own knowledge of history, write an essay that describes the different ways that people were affected by the Civil War, as civilians, soldiers, and support staff. Your essay should be well organized and should include an introduction, at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion.