The same mindset counseled sympathetic understanding for labor's rabid anti-Asian racism in the West in the late Nineteenth Century, and tolerated the New York draft riot
of 1863, anti-feminist and anti-abortion activism, and whites' anti-busing riots.
In fact, at 53 dead it was the deadliest riot in America since the so-called New York Draft riots
of 1863, during the Civil War, when between 100 and 200 died and when thousands of Irish immigrants, loyal to the Democratic Party, ran wild, lynching free blacks and burning down the black children's orphanage, beating the children with sticks and stones.
In language that could as easily be applied to the New York draft riots
, Thucydides writes that "human nature, always ready to offend even where laws exist, showed itself proudly in its true colours, as something incapable of controlling passion, insubordinate to the idea of justice, the enemy of anything superior to itself" (111.
The New York draft riots
were initially the work of skilled as well as unskilled workers, Irish and non-Irish alike, but quickly became an uprising of unskilled Irish laborers; they exemplified the degree to which Irish men and women had come to regard the war with disdain and the draft with undying hatred.
Although sparked by the Union military draft, the predominantly Irish immigrant participants in New York draft riots
(called "the devil's own work" by poet Walt Whitman) quickly turned much of their wrath upon the city's African American population, but to call the affair simply a race riot would perhaps over-simplify the political, ethnic, class, and other social conflicts that played out in the riots and their aftermath.