New York Draft Riots
Overview
 
The New York City draft riots (July 13 to July 16, 1863; known at the time as Draft Week) were violent disturbances
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself. President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 sent several regiments of militia and volunteer troops to control the city.
Encyclopedia
The New York City draft riots (July 13 to July 16, 1863; known at the time as Draft Week) were violent disturbances
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself. President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 sent several regiments of militia and volunteer troops to control the city. The rioters were overwhelmingly working class men, resentful, among other reasons, because the draft unfairly affected them while sparing wealthier men, who could afford to pay a $300 commutation fee to exclude themselves from its reach.

Initially intended to express anger at the draft, the protests turned ugly and degraded into "a virtual racial pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

, with uncounted numbers of blacks murdered on the streets". The conditions in the city were such that Major General John E. Wool
John E. Wool
John Ellis Wool was an officer in the United States Army during three consecutive U.S. wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. By the time of the Mexican-American War, he was widely considered one of the most capable officers in the army and a superb organizer...

 stated on July 16, "Martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 ought to be proclaimed, but I have not a sufficient force to enforce it." The military suppressed the mob using artillery and fixed bayonets, but not before numerous buildings were ransacked or destroyed, including many homes and an orphanage for black children.

Monday

There were reports of rioting in Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

, and certain other cities, but the first drawing of numbers on July 11, 1863 occurred peaceably, although the draft coincided with efforts by Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society...

 to enroll immigrants, particularly from Ireland, who already spoke English, as U.S. citizens so they could vote in local elections. Many of these soon learned they were also expected to enroll in the draft to fight for their new country.

The second drawing was held on Monday, July 13, 1863, ten days after the Union victory at Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

. At 10 a.m., a furious crowd of around 500, led by the Black Joke Engine Company 33, attacked the assistant Ninth District Provost Marshal's Office, at Third Avenue and 47th Street, where the draft was taking place. The crowd threw large paving stones through windows, then burst through the doors and set the building ablaze. Many of the rioters were Irish laborers who did not want to compete with emancipated slaves for jobs.

Since the New York State Militia
New York Guard
The New York Guard is the State Defense Force of New York State. As of June 2008, the New York Guard, a recognized command under the New York State's Military law, has line-item funding in the state budget....

 had been sent to assist Union troops in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, the police were left to suppress the riots. The police
New York City Police Department
The New York City Police Department , established in 1845, is currently the largest municipal police force in the United States, with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City...

 superintendent, John A. Kennedy
John Alexander Kennedy
John Alexander Kennedy was the superintendent of police for New York City.-Biography:He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 9, 1803. His father was a native of Ireland who became a teacher in Baltimore. John moved to New York City and worked with his brother...

, came by on Monday to check on the situation. Although not in uniform, he was recognized by people in the mob and they attacked him. Kennedy was left nearly unconscious, having had his face bruised and cut, an injured eye, swelled lips, his hand cut with a knife, and a mass of bruises and blood all over his body. In response, police drew their club
Club (weapon)
A club is among the simplest of all weapons. A club is essentially a short staff, or stick, usually made of wood, and wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times....

s and revolver
Revolver
A revolver is a repeating firearm that has a cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. The first revolver ever made was built by Elisha Collier in 1818. The percussion cap revolver was invented by Samuel Colt in 1836. This weapon became known as the Colt Paterson...

s, and charged the crowd, but the crowd overpowered them. The police forces were badly outnumbered and unable to quell the riots; however, they were able to keep the rioting out of Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

, below Union Square. Immigrants and others in the "Bloody Sixth" Ward, around the seaport
South Street Seaport
The South Street Seaport is a historic area in the New York City borough of Manhattan, located where Fulton Street meets the East River, and adjacent to the Financial District. The Seaport is a designated historic district, distinct from the neighboring Financial District...

, refrained from getting involved in the Draft Riots.

The Bull's Head hotel on 44th Street, which refused to provide alcohol, was burned. The mayor's residence on Fifth Avenue, the Eighth and Fifth District police stations, and other buildings were attacked and set on fire. Other targets included the office of the leading Republican
History of the United States Republican Party
The United States Republican Party is the second oldest currently existing political party in the United States after its great rival, the Democratic Party. It emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas Nebraska Act which threatened to extend slavery into the territories, and to promote more vigorous...

 newspaper, the New York Tribune
New York Tribune
The New York Tribune was an American newspaper, first established by Horace Greeley in 1841, which was long considered one of the leading newspapers in the United States...

. The mob was turned back at the Tribune office by staff manning two Gatling gun
Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

s. Fire engine companies responded, but some of the firefighters were sympathetic to the rioters, since they too had been drafted on Saturday. Later in the afternoon, authorities shot and killed a man as a crowd attacked the Armory at Second Avenue and 21st Street.

Blacks became scapegoat
Scapegoat
Scapegoating is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame. Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals , individuals against groups , groups against individuals , and groups against groups Scapegoating is the practice of singling out any...

s and the primary target of the rioters' anger. Many immigrants and the poor viewed freed slaves as competition for scarce jobs. Blacks were also seen as the cause of the Civil War and any who fell into the clutches of the mobs were beaten, tortured and/or killed, including one man who was attacked by a crowd of 400 with clubs and paving stones, then hanged from a tree and set alight. The Colored Orphan Asylum on Fifth Avenue, which provided shelter for hundreds of children, was attacked by a mob. The police were able to secure the orphanage for enough time to allow the orphans to escape.

Tuesday

Heavy rain fell on Monday night, helping to abate the fires and sending rioters home, but the crowd returned the next day. Commerce in the city was halted, with workers joining the crowd. Rioters went after the homes of notable Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

s, including activist Abby Hopper Gibbons
Abigail Hopper Gibbons
Abigail Hopper Gibbons was a schoolteacher, abolitionist, and social welfare activist, who assisted in founding numerous programs and societies during and following the Civil War....

, among others. Governor Horatio Seymour
Horatio Seymour
Horatio Seymour was an American politician. He was the 18th Governor of New York from 1853 to 1854 and from 1863 to 1864. He was the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States in the presidential election of 1868, but lost the election to Republican and former Union General of...

 arrived on Tuesday and spoke at City Hall
New York City Hall
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA, between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as...

, where he attempted to assuage the crowd by proclaiming the Conscription Act was unconstitutional. General John E. Wool
John E. Wool
John Ellis Wool was an officer in the United States Army during three consecutive U.S. wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. By the time of the Mexican-American War, he was widely considered one of the most capable officers in the army and a superb organizer...

 brought approximately 800 troops in from forts in the New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 and from West Point. He also ordered the militias to return to New York.

Wednesday and Thursday: order restored

The situation improved on Wednesday, when assistant provost-marshal-general Robert Nugent
Robert Nugent (officer)
Brigadier General Robert Nugent was an Irish-born American U.S. Army officer during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars...

 received word from his superior officer, Colonel James Barnet Fry
James Barnet Fry
James Barnet Fry was an American soldier and prolific author of historical books.-Biography:He was born in Carrollton, Illinois. He graduated from West Point in 1847 and served for a time as assistant instructor of artillery there. He was stationed successively in Oregon, Louisiana, and Texas, and...

, to suspend the draft. As this news appeared in newspapers, some rioters stayed home. But some of the militias began to return and used harsh measures against the remaining mobs.

Order began to be restored on Thursday, after a peaceful rally of 5,000 at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral to hear Archbishop Hughes, and as New York State militia and some federal troops returned to New York, including the 152nd New York Volunteers, the 26th Michigan Volunteers
26th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 26th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.-Service:The 26th Michigan Infantry was mustered into Federal service at Jackson, Michigan on December 12, 1862...

, the 30th Indiana Volunteers and the 7th Regiment New York State Militia from Frederick, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Frederick is a city in north-central Maryland. It is the county seat of Frederick County, the largest county by area in the state of Maryland. Frederick is an outlying community of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of a greater...

, after a forced march. In addition, the governor sent in the 74th and 65th regiments of the New York state militia, which had not been in federal service, and a section of the 20th Independent Battery, New York Volunteer Artillery
20th Independent Battery, New York Volunteer Artillery
The 20th Independent Battery, New York Volunteer Artillery garrisioned Fort Schuyler and Fort Columbus, NY during the American Civil War and took part in quelling the New York Draft Riots.-External links:* - 20th IB, NYVA...

 from Fort Schuyler in Throgs Neck
Throgs Neck
Throggs Neck is a narrow spit of land in the southeastern portion of the borough of the Bronx in New York City. It demarcates the passage between the East River , and Long Island Sound...

. The New York State militia units were the first to arrive. By July 16, there were several thousand Federal troops in the city. A final confrontation occurred on Thursday evening near Gramercy Park
Gramercy Park
Gramercy Park is a small, fenced-in private park in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park is at the core of both the neighborhood referred to as either Gramercy or Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Historic District...

. According to Adrian Cook's analysis in his Armies of the Streets, twelve people died on the last day of the riots in skirmishes between rioters and the police and the army, including one African-American, two soldiers, a bystander and two women.

Aftermath

The exact death toll during the New York Draft Riots is unknown, but according to historian James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

 (2001), at least 120 civilians were killed. At least eleven black men were lynched. The most reliable estimates also indicate that at least 2,000 people were injured. Herbert Asbury
Herbert Asbury
Herbert Asbury was an American journalist and writer who is best known for his true crime books detailing crime during the 19th and early 20th century such as Gem of the Prairie, Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld and The Gangs of New York...

, the author of the 1928 book Gangs of New York
The Gangs of New York (book)
The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld was a 1928 non-fiction book by Herbert Asbury about New York gangs in the 19th century, and was loosely adapted into the film of the same name by director Martin Scorsese. It details the rise and fall of gangs prior to the domination of...

, upon which the 2002 film was based, puts the figure much higher, at 2,000 killed and 8,000 wounded. Total property damage was about $1–5 million. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison, Rear Admiral, United States Naval Reserve was an American historian noted for his works of maritime history that were both authoritative and highly readable. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1912, and taught history at the university for 40 years...

 wrote that the riots were "equivalent to a Confederate victory". The city treasury later indemnified
Indemnity
An indemnity is a sum paid by A to B by way of compensation for a particular loss suffered by B. The indemnitor may or may not be responsible for the loss suffered by the indemnitee...

 one-quarter of the amount. Fifty buildings, including two Protestant churches, burned to the ground. On August 19, the draft was resumed. It was completed within 10 days without further incident, although far fewer men were actually drafted than had been feared: of the 750,000 selected for conscription nationwide, only about 45,000 actually went into service.

While the rioting mainly involved the working class, the middle and upper-class New Yorkers had split sentiments on the draft and use of federal power or martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 to enforce the draft. Many wealthy Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 businessmen sought to have the draft declared unconstitutional
Constitutionality
Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution. Acts that are not in accordance with the rules laid down in the constitution are deemed to be ultra vires.-See also:*ultra vires*Company law*Constitutional law...

. Tammany
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society...

 Democrats did not seek to have the draft declared unconstitutional, but helped pay commutation fees on behalf of those who were drafted.

New York City's support for the Union cause continued, however grudgingly. By the end of the war over 450,000 soldiers, sailors and militia enlisted at New York City. 46,000 of them died during the war. The city's Irish and Excelsior brigades were among the six Union brigades with the most combat dead.

Fictional portrayals

The Draft Riots are fictionally portrayed in the novels On Secret Service
On Secret Service
On Secret Service is a 1933 British thriller film directed by Arthur B. Woods and starring Greta Nissen, Karl Ludwig Diehl, Don Alvarado and Austin Trevor...

(by John Jakes
John Jakes
John William Jakes is an American writer, best known for American historical fiction.-Early life and education:...

), Paradise Alley (by Kevin Baker
Kevin Baker
Kevin Baker is an American novelist and journalist. He was born in Englewood, New Jersey and grew up in New Jersey and Rockport, Massachusetts....

), The Banished Children of Eve (by Peter Quinn) and New York: the Novel (by Edward Rutherfurd
Edward Rutherfurd
Edward Rutherfurd is a pen name for Francis Edward Wintle known primarily as a writer of epic historical novels...

), as well as Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

's alternate history novel Grant Comes East
Grant Comes East
Grant Comes East: A Novel of the Civil War is a New York Times bestseller written by former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, William R. Forstchen, and Albert S. Hanser. It was published in 2004 and is the sequel to Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War...

. The short-lived 1968 Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 Maggie Flynn
Maggie Flynn
Maggie Flynn is a musical with a book by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss and music and lyrics by Peretti, Creatore, and Weiss....

, starring Shirley Jones
Shirley Jones
Shirley Mae Jones is an American singer and actress of stage, film and television. In her six decades of television, she starred as wholesome characters in a number of well-known musical films, such as Oklahoma! , Carousel , and The Music Man...

, was set in the Tobin Orphanage for black children (Maggie's maiden name was Tobin), that came under siege during the Draft Riots, and was subsequently burned to the ground (although the children were allegedly saved).

The Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

 film Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York
Gangs of New York is a 2002 historical film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of New York City. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks, Steven Zaillian, and Kenneth Lonergan. The film was inspired by Herbert Asbury's 1928 nonfiction book, The Gangs of New...

(2002), which culminated around the time of the beginning of the Riots, was a fictional portrayal of conflated events, purportedly depicting "the birth of Manhattan and the way the different waves of immigrants have shaped New York City's evolution
Sociocultural evolution
Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have changed over time...

". According to author and journalist Pete Hamill
Pete Hamill
Pete Hamill is an American journalist, novelist, essayist, editor and educator. Widely traveled and having written on a broad range of topics, he is perhaps best known for his career as a New York City journalist, as "the author of columns that sought to capture the particular flavors of New York...

: "...The Irish hoodlums established the nexus between New York crime and New York politics that would last more than a century. A path was established among the Dead Rabbits
Dead Rabbits
The Dead Rabbits were a gang in New York City in the 1850s, and originally were a part of the Roach Guards. Daniel Cassidy claimed that the name has a second meaning rooted in Irish American vernacular of NYC in 1857 and that the word "Rabbit" is the phonetic corruption of the Irish word ráibéad,...

, the Plug Uglies
Plug Uglies
The Plug Uglies were a street gang that operated in the westside of Baltimore, Maryland from 1854 to 1860. The Plug Uglies coalesced shortly after the creation of the Mount Vernon Hook-and-Ladder Company, a volunteer fire company whose truck house was on Biddle Street, between Pennsylvania Avenue...

, the Bowery Boys
Bowery Boys
The Bowery Boys were a nativist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Irish gang based north of the Five Points district of New York City in the mid-19th century. They were primarily stationed in the Bowery section of New York, which was, at the time, extended north of the Five Points...

 that continues all the way to today’s Latin Kings, Crips
Crips
The Crips are a primarily, but not exclusively, African American gang. They were founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1969 mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams...

 and Bloods
Bloods
The Bloods are a street gang founded in Los Angeles, California. The gang is widely known for its rivalry with the Crips. They are identified by the red color worn by their members and by particular gang symbols, including distinctive hand signs...

."

Conservative writer and columnist Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn is a Canadian-born writer, conservative-leaning political commentator, and cultural critic. He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller...

 noted: "By the time Scorsese gets to the riots, he's pretty much given up on his lame-o plot and the background—the riot—is all there is. He artfully dodges any point of view on the material: The riot just sort of happens, and spreads, like a disease or a meteorological disaster. The director is broadly pro-immigrant, pro-poor people, but, in this case, as he surely must know after all that research, the poor people—the immigrants, the draft dodgers—happened to be pro-slavery, pro-lynching, anti-Negro and anti-American. Yes, it's a shame the treasonous racists got gunned down by the soldiers, but it's difficult to understand the mindset of a director who yearns to film this incident for his entire adult life and then goes to inordinate lengths to obliterate the context of it."

See also

  • History of New York City (1855-1897)
    History of New York City (1855-1897)
    The history of New York City started with the inauguration in 1855 of Fernando Wood as the first mayor from Tammany Hall, an institution that would dominate the city throughout this period. There was chaos during the American Civil War, with major rioting in the New York Draft Riots...

  • Opposition to the American Civil War
    Opposition to the American Civil War
    Popular opposition to the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, was widespread. Although there had been many attempts at compromise prior to the outbreak of war, there were those who felt it could still be ended peacefully or did not believe it should have occurred in the first place...

  • List of people associated with the New York Draft Riots

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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