The Policeman’s Lot

Benevolent father figure? Bloody-handed Cossack? Slow-witted flatfoot? Irish grafter? Brave but underpaid public servant? Check your prejudice against this inquiry into police history

 

“The police … are virtually in a state of mutiny. Their hearts are not in their work, they have no pride in their office, they have the inclination to evade duty, give service grudgingly, and are constantly praying for a change. A sullen, discontented and discouraged army will not win battles. …”

A contemporary sociologist, describing the current crisis in the American police? No, it is William McAdoo. describing the New York Police Department shortly before he became its commissioner in 1904. Read more »

New York’s Bloodiest Week

The draft riots of 1863 turned a great city into a living hell.

We shall have trouble before we are through,” George Templeton Strong, a wealthy New Yorker and staunch friend of Lincoln, warned in his diary one July morning in 1863. Yet the first nationwide military draft, authorized by Congress on March 3 to fill the critically depleted ranks of the Union Army, began in a festive mood.