The New York City Draft Riots
The Union cause of preserving the United States and the abolition of slavery was not a harmonious one. A great many in the northern states opposed the war and had no wish for the freedom of blacks.
The gangs of New York felt this discord, and the New York City Draft Riots actually did happen as depicted in the movie. This riot was a response to the Emancipation Proclamation, and it started on July 13, 1863.
The Draft Riots
The movie was true about the fact that there was a clause written that allowed persons able to produce 300 dollars to be exempt from serving in the war. This clause actually meant that those who could afford $300 would, in essence, hire a substitute to take their place in military duty.
Many were outraged and saw this as a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. It has also been theorized that this riot was led by the Irish in fear of an overwhelming amount of freed black slaves migrating to New York City after the war to compete with Irish jobs.
It would be the Black Joke Fire Company who would kick off the riot by leading a crowd of around 500 to attack and ransack the assistant Ninth District Provost Marshal’s Office, where the drawing of the draft was taking place.
Rioters would continue throughout the city looting, burning, fighting, and killing. Blacks were highly targeted and used as scapegoats for the rioters to vent their rage on. Brutality among the blacks during this riot was the worst the city has ever seen.
Resurrecting Five Points For The Screen
In the post-Civil War period, the Irish gangs’ efforts on behalf of political candidates were paying off. Now with more say in the halls of government and better livelihoods, the Irish gladly ceded Five Points to new nations of strivers, mostly Italians and Chinese. But the squalor stayed on.
Reconstructing Five Points and other Manhattan locales from scratch at a Rome studio, Gangs of New York production designer Dante Ferretti was determined to get that squalorand the rest of the slumjust right.
Working from archival photographs, records, and illustrations, Ferretti says he “built everything as the original buildings were builtin brick, stone, cobblestones, and woodnot like in Gladiator or Lord of the Rings or other movies where they use a lot of digital effects.”
Though accurate in terms of size and materials, the new Five Points was just that at firsttoo new. “I had a special crew for aging everything with plaster, paint, patinas,” Ferretti says. “A really huge, huge job.” In the end, he says, “everything was correct.”
As proof of authenticity, Ferretti says, “In the movie you see many scenes that are like Jacob Riis pictures.”
Is Gangs Of New York A True Story
While events inspire the movie in the New York City of the 1860s, the movie is not based on a true story. The Gangs of New York, like many Scorsese movies, is an examination of organized crime in New York City. In essence, the movie is a vengeance drama. It is set in the American metropolis before and during the American Civil War. The movie’s focus is on the gangs that once controlled the Five-Points area of New York, which was a notorious slum.
It follows the leader of a criminal gang tied to the political establishment in New York City. Bill the Butcher, played by the Anglo-Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis rules the Five-Points. The character is a Nativist and wants America to remain a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant country. He despises the recent and numerous Catholic emigrants in New York.
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Every House A Brothel
“Every house was a brothel, and every brothel a hell,” wrote Five Points missionary Lewis Pease. New York Tribune reporter George Foster added in 1850, “It is no unusual thing for a mother and her two or three daughtersall of course prostitutesto receive their ‘men’ at the same time in the same room.”
Their claims aren’t so far-fetched, though children seldom worked as prostitutes. In Five Points, Anbinder writes, police records reveal that, “for the blocks radiating from the Five Points intersection, nearly every building did house a brothel” in the 1840s and ’50s.
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How Much Violence Was There In New York City
Gangs of New York is a compromisingly violent movie, and it is typical of Scorseses oeuvre. Many commentators likened it to modern gangster movies. The motion picture focuses on the recurring fights and battles between the native gangs led by Bill the Butcher and the Irish gangs. At the start of the film, Bill the Butcher and his mob engage in a pitched street battle with the Priest Vallon’s Irish gang.
The gangs are shown to be armed with weapons such as swords and axes. In other violent incidents throughout the movie, there are many casualties and many fatalities. While gang fights were very common in the 19th century, New York and bar brawls were probably much more common than now. Scorsese exaggerates the level of violence, and there were very few gang battles portrayed in the movie. There were only a few instances when guns and swords were used.
Even though Five Points was poor, it was not that violent, and murder was rare. At this time, there was hardly a murder a month in all of New York. New York is currently one of the safest cities in the United States, and it was probably even safer in the 1860s. The Rise of the Mafia and Prohibition led to a dramatic increase in violence that the city became famous for.
The Dead Rabbits Riots Of 1857
The famous Dead Rabbits Riots started on July 4, 1857, when the gang raided and destroyed the headquarters of the Bowery Boys at 26 Bowery Street. The Bowery Boys retaliated, and this led to a large-scale riot that waged back and forth on Bayard Street between Bowery and Mulberry street.
The very next day, the Bowery Boys and the Dead Rabbits rumbled again in front of 40 and 42 Bowery Street. They erected barricades in the street. On July 6, the fighting spread as the Bowery Boys fought the Kerryonians, another gang of Irishmen from County Kerry, at Anthony and Centre Street.
Because the police force at the time was disorganized and was ravaged by conflicts between the municipal and metropolitan police, the gangs took advantage. Widespread looting and property damage was committed by the gangs from the Five Points as well other parts of the city.
Order was restored by the New York State Militia, who were supported by detachments of city police at the behest of Major-General Charles W. Sandford. The aftermath of the Dead Rabbit Riots concluded eight people killed and at least 100 seriously injured.
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H L Mencken And The American Mercury
Asbury achieved first notoriety with a story that published in his magazine, , in 1926. The story profiled a prostitute from Asbury’s hometown of . The prostitute took her customers to the cemetery to conduct business, and took her Catholic customers to the Protestant cemetery some in Farmington considered this woman beyond redemption.
The article caused a sensation: The Boston had the magazine . Mencken then journeyed to Boston, sold a copy of his magazine on , and was arrested. Sales of the recently founded Mercury boomed, and Asbury became a celebrity. Asbury then focused his attention on a series of articles debunking crusader .
The following year he wrote a biography of .
Gangs Of New York: The Irish Immigrants
|Paper Type: Free Essay|
Gangs of New York, directed by Martin Scorsese, depicts how waves of Irish immigrants that came to the United States were treated upon arrival. English and Dutch natives in New Yorks city of Five Points clearly showed that they were not in favor of the newcomers. Bill the Butcher took the case into extremes when he leads a gang of locals into a war with the Irish. Bill kills Priest Vallon, the leader of the Irish, and his son Amsterdam runs away. Years later, Amsterdam reappears and seeks revenge for his father. Gangs of New York a historical film which follows the adventures of a young Irish American man, is a tool that somewhat illustrates history during the time of immigration important elements discussed in the text of Foners Give Me Liberty were not incorporated into the film.
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What Were The Attitudes Towards The Irish Immigrants During Gangs Of New York
It’s hard to imagine anti-Irish sentiments in America today. They’ve assimilated deep into American culture, and it seems like I’m always meeting someone who has Irish blood and ancestry. Concerning the real history of the gangs of New York, the movie genuinely captured the hatred and distrust towards the Irish by Americans at the time.
Newspapers at the time demonized Irish immigrants and often depicted them in cartoon drawings as slovenly, drunk, and hostile creatures with no morality or decency. They were received by most of America as an unwanted threat to the country.
In a scene in Gangs of New York where both William Tweed and Bill the Butcher are at the docks watching newly Irish immigrants walk off the ship onto American soil, Tweed remarks new Americans being born.
Bill the Butcher retorts, “I don’t see no Americans. I see trespassers: Irish harps who would do a job for a nickel what a n*gg*r does for a dime and what a white man use to get a quarter for.”
That quote in Gangs of New York was absolutely genuine to how many saw the Irish immigrants as a threat to American jobs. Many Irish were willing to work for less than the free black labor force at the time. It should be noted that there was much resentment from the Irish towards the blacks during the time as well.
Bill the Butcher then turns to him and says, “You ain’t.”
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Gangs Of New York Streaming: Where To Watch Online
Currently you are able to watch “Gangs of New York” streaming on Starz Play Amazon Channel, Starz Roku Premium Channel, Starz, Max Go, DIRECTV, Spectrum On Demand. It is also possible to buy “Gangs of New York” on Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store, Redbox, DIRECTV as download or rent it on Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store, Redbox, Apple iTunes, DIRECTV online.
How Did The Dead Rabbits Get Their Name
There are many tales of how the Dead Rabbits received their name. One tale is of an American journalist at the time misunderstanding of the Irish word , meaning “man to be feared.””Dead” was a slang intensifier meaning “very.” Since the phonetic sounds were similar, the press dubbed the gang the Dead Rabbits.
The Dead Rabbits were originally part of the Roach Guards, an Irish street gang in the Five Points formed during the early 19th century to protect the liquor merchants of the area. The gang would soon begin committing robbery and murder. The Roach Guards were known for their fighting uniforms which had a blue stripe on their pantaloons.
When members of the Roach Guards defected to form the Dead Rabbits, they replaced the blue stripe with a red stripe. The two gangs constantly fought each other, but also aligned against gangs like the Bowery Boys and the Natives.
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The Real Gangs Of New York
Scorsese based his movie on Herbert Asbury’s 1927 book The Gangs of New York. But the names of the legendary Five Points gangsthe Bowery Boys, the Dead Rabbits, the Plug Uglies, the Short Tails, the Slaughter Houses, the Swamp Angelsmay be among the few things that Asbury, who did little original research, got right, according to historians.
The perception of Five Points as an unrelievedly dangerous place is exaggerated, Anbinder says. “I looked at the statistics, and other than public drunkenness and prostitution, there was no more crime in Five Points than in any other part of the city.”
“The book The Gangs of New York says there was one tenement where there was a murder a day. At the period of time he was writing about, there was barely a murder a month in all of New York City,” Anbinder says.
Writing in the Al Capone era, Asbury interpreted the Five Points gangs as the precursors of 1920s organized-crime mobs, Anbinder says. Scorsese, the director of Mafia classics such as Goodfellas and Mean Streets, seizes on this idea in Gangs. “That’s one of the big problems with the movie,” Anbinder says.
In fact, gangs like the Dead Rabbits and Bowery Boys were political clubs that met at nights and on weekends to promote their candidates. “They would fight at the polls and sometimes beat up their opponents, but not just for fun or plunder,” Anbinder says.
John Morrissey’s Influence On The Amsterdam Vallon Character
Although the character of Amsterdam Vallon, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, was greatly a work of fiction, it can also be argued that the character of Amsterdam in Gangs of New York was very loosely based on the historical figure of John Morrissey.
John was born in Templemore, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1831. Two years later, his parents immigrated to the United States and settled in Troy, New York. Like William Poole, he was well known as a highly skilled boxer, gambler, and gang leader of the Dead Rabbits.
Unlike the movie, Morrissey’s father was not killed by Bill the Butcher and revenge was not his true motive in going head to head with the Butcher. In reality, he became Poole’s adversary when he was hired to prevent Poole from seizing ballot boxes and rigging an election. Morrissey and the Dead Rabbit gang were rewarded by Tammany Hall as they were allowed to open a gambling house without police interference.
Poole and Morrissey would go toe-to-toe, but not in an epic gang battle. The two fought in a boxing match, in which Morrissey lost. A few weeks later, Lew Baker, a friend of Morrissey, shot and fatally wounded Bill the Butcher at a saloon on Broadway in 1855.
Morrissey was a champion boxer, but when he retired, he ran for Congress and was backed by Tammany Hall. He ended up serving two terms in the House for the 40th and 41st Congress, representing the 5th Congressional District. As a Congressman, Morrissey always looked out for the interests of the Irish.
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Gangs Of New York: Fact Vs Fiction
Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar at the 2003 Academy Awards, director Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York brings to life 19th-century Manhattan’s Five Points neighborhood. But what was it really like to live in what was once the world’s most notorious slum?
Good-time girls swing from rafters in oversize canary cages, sword-slinging mobs rule the streets, and murder lurks in every corner. This is Manhattan’s infamous Five Points slum, inhabited by Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Daniel Day-Lewis in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. But is it the real Five Points?
Digging through layers of sediment and stacks of records, archaeologists and historians are unearthing a truer, though no less compelling, picture of the neighborhood Charles Dickens called “a world of vice and misery.”
When Dickens reported on Five Points in 1842, the neighborhood was on the edge of an explosion. Spurred on by the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s, waves of threadbare immigrants arrived in New York City with the wherewithal for only the most miserable lodgingsthe drooping tenements of Five Points.
For the next two decades, the Irish ruled Five Points, overcrowding a roughly five-square-block area centered on the intersection of Cross Street , Anthony Street , and Orange Street .
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The Five Points Neighborhood In Gangs Of New York
The film’s historical background is greatly entrenched within the history and climate of the Five Points neighborhood of the time. It was given the name of the Five Points because of the intersection of Mulberry Street, Orange Street , Cross Street , Worth Street, and Little Water Street to create the plot of land known as Paradise Square.
One of the great Gangs of New York quotes from Bill the Butcher is when he explains the intersection of the Five Points to William Tweed, “Mulberry Street… and Worth… Cross and Orange… and Little Water. Each of the Five Points is a finger. When I close my hand, it becomes a fist. And, if I wish, I can turn it against you.”
The Five Points area was built on what was known as the Collect Pond. The pond was a main source of fresh drinking water for the city. As a result, many businesses were erected along the shores of the pond and contaminated it in a short period.
The pollution became a problem and a hazard. It was proposed to be cleaned and used as a centerpiece or a recreational park, but that proposal was rejected. Instead, it was decided to fill in the pond, and the land fill was done poorly.
Buried vegetation began to release methane gas, which is a natural by-product of decomposition. The area also lacked adequate storm sewers. Because of the poorly filled in land, houses and buildings shifted on their foundations. The place was infested with mosquitos due to the poor drainage.