New York, state, United States: Immigration and Civil War

Immigration and Civil War

Migrants from New England had been settling on the western frontier, and in the 1840s famine and revolution in Europe resulted in a great wave of Irish and German immigrants, whose first stop in America was usually New York City. In 1850, Millard Fillmore became the second New Yorker to be President of the United States; the first was Martin Van Buren (1837–41). The split of the Democrats over the slavery issue into antislavery Barnburners and the Hunkers, who were not opposed to the extension of slavery, helped pave the way for New York's swing to the Republicans and Abraham Lincoln in the fateful election of 1860.

Despite the draft riots (1863) in New York City and the activities of the Peace Democrats, New York state strongly favored the Union and contributed much to its cause in the Civil War. Industrial development was stimulated by the needs of the military, and railroads increased their capacity. New York City's newspapers, notably the Tribune under the guidance of Horace Greeley, had considerable national influence, and after the war the publication of periodicals and books centered more and more in the city, whose libraries expanded. From 1867 to 1869, Cornelius Vanderbilt consolidated the New York Central RR system.

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