On April 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War,
the first wartime conscription law passed in the United States went
into effect. It included a clause allowing a person to pay $300 to
avoid military service, a controversial "rich man's" exception that
precipitated the July 1863 New York City Draft Riots.
The riots, the worst in US history to that point, killed as many as 100 people and had to be quelled by troops, some of whom had recently fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Learn more about the Draft Riots.