10 worst riots in American history

Forensic Colleges has the list with some video, including riots I’d never heard about, like the NY draft riots of 1863.

1. New York draft riots (July 13-16, 1863)

The backdrop: New York stood with the Union when the Civil War broke out in 1861, but the high body count meant the North’s soldiers were dwindling. In 1863, Congress passed the United States’ first conscription act, though men drafted for service could pay a commutation fee of $300 to get out of service. That financial inequity led to unrest among the lower classes who couldn’t afford to avoid the war the way rich men could.

The final straw: When the draft lottery began, riots broke out and ran for three days. Historians dispute the casualties, estimating that between 120 and 2,000 civilians were killed. The brawls were featured in part in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film, Gangs of New York.

Others include Stonewall, the Battle of Seattle, and the ’68 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

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