As immigrants continued moving to New York, the New York State Assembly passed a law to curb drinking habits. The Liquor Excise Law required that the city’s saloons would have to close on Sundays.
Many New York residents opposed the law and its impact which took effect on the 4th of July in 1857 - a Sunday that year.
Disregarding the law which was aimed directly at them, people of Irish descent who lived in the Five Points neighborhood kept their saloons open. When police tried to enforce the law, the Irish people - led by the "Dead Rabbits" gang - started a riot. The "Bowery Boys" gang aided the police.
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper reported the events. Highlights of the story include these headlines:
Click on the image for a better view.
Image, described above, online courtesy Library of Congress.