Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota's Great Sioux Uprising | HistoryNet MENU

Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota’s Great Sioux Uprising

6/12/2006 • American History Magazine, Politics

In late 1862, while suffering through continuing Union military disasters, handling a contentious cabinet and wrestling with the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln had to agonize over another matter. He had to decide whether to allow the execution of more than 300 Indians convicted of war crimes in Minnesota’s Great Sioux Uprising. One of the first and bloodiest Indian wars on the western frontier, the Great Sioux Uprising (today called the “Dakota-U.S. Conflict) cost the lives of hundreds of Native Americans, white settlers, and soldiers. After the U.S. Army suppressed the uprising it established a commission that condemned 303 Dakota men in trials that were patently unfair. Federal law, however, required the president’s approval of the death sentences. “Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, Lincoln ignored the howling of a white populace thirsting for revenge and began the arduous task of reviewing the trial records and deciding the fates of hundreds of men.

The Dakota had existed for generations on the land surrounding the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, site of the present-day cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Translated roughly into English, Dakota means “the allies, and they were a group of seven Indian bands that lived mostly in harmony in the region’s bountiful river valleys. Their only enemy was the Chippewa to the north. The first European explorers there had done little to alter the Indians’ way of life, although the French dubbed them the Sioux—a mutation of the Chippewa word for “snake. Real change began after 1819, when federal soldiers built Fort Snelling, a sprawling outpost above the mouth of the Minnesota River. After that the stream of white traders and settlers became a flood; land treaties in 1837 and 1851 and Minnesota statehood in 1858 pushed the Dakota off their native lands westward to a narrow, 100-mile-long reservation on the harsh prairie along the Minnesota River. The exodus also forced the Dakota to change their way of life. Government agents on the reservation favored those Dakota who settled on plots, learned English, cut their hair, and took up farming. Yet the crops failed year after year, and the Dakota grew dependent upon government gold annuities that were promised by the land treaties, and upon the foods and sundries peddled by white traders. The Dakota were often left with little after government agents paid annuity moneys first to the traders who had given credit to the Dakota for goods purchased at highly over-inflated prices. Those Dakota who refused to give up their traditional ways were in an even worse position and spent many winters in near-starving conditions.

The situation reached its flashpoint in the summer of 1862. The financial cost of the Civil War was bleeding the government dry, and rumors flew that there would be no annuity gold for the Dakota. Traders who had liberally given credit in the past now slammed the door. One trader named Andrew Myrick announced that if the Dakota were hungry they could “eat grass. Tensions mounted until four Dakota led by an Indian named Killing Ghost murdered five white settlers on August 17. Some Dakota leaders sensed this was an opportunity to strike back at the U.S. Government, and they pressed Chief Taoyateduta, or Little Crow, to strike at the whites while many soldiers were fighting in the Civil War. Little Crow initially wanted no part of a war with the whites, recognizing the calamity that would surely follow. But when faced with a challenge to his authority, he reluctantly relented. Ironically, the annuity gold shipment had left St. Paul that same day.

The Dakota raged across the countryside with a fury. Four to eight hundred white settlers were butchered during the first four days of the rampage, while their farms and fields burned. The Dakota hit first and hard at the reservation agency, killing dozens. One of the victims was trader Myrick. His killers stuffed his mouth with grass. The Dakota also struck at the region’s army outpost and towns. They annihilated a detachment of soldiers dispatched from nearby Fort Ridgely before being repulsed in two assaults on the garrison itself. They twice attacked and burned most of the town of New Ulm but failed to capture it from its armed residents.

Panic surged throughout Minnesota. Tens of thousands of terrified settlers fled and virtually depopulated the state’s western regions. Governor Alexander Ramsey dispatched 1,200 men from Fort Snelling under the command of Henry H. Sibley, a former fur trader, politician and friend of the Dakota. Sibley was not regular army, but he heeded Ramsey’s call and accepted a commission as colonel. Unsure of his authority, Sibley failed to declare martial law and moved excruciatingly slowly. He did not engage the Dakota until early September 1862, when Indians surprised and butchered a 150-man reconnaissance detail at Birch Coulee. The debacle slowed Sibley even more, and he did not meet Little Crow in full force until September 22, when he won a decisive victory at Wood Lake. The Dakota scattered over the prairie. Sibley finally managed to capture about 1,200 men, women, and children, but Little Crow was not among them. Sibley intended to prosecute as war criminals those Indians who had participated in the rebellion.

Sibley ordered a commission of five military officers to try the prisoners summarily and “pass judgment upon them, if found guilty of murders or other outrages upon the Whites, during the present State of hostilities of the Indians. Major General John Pope, recently banished to Minnesota by President Lincoln after Pope’s humiliating defeat at the Civil War’s Battle of Second Bull Run, saw an opportunity to redeem himself at the Dakota’s expense. He immediately approved Sibley’s plans. “The horrible massacres of women and children and the outrageous abuse of female prisoners, still alive, call for punishment far beyond human power to inflict, Pope wrote. “It is my purpose utterly to exterminate the Sioux if I have the power to do so… They are to be treated as maniacs and wild beasts.

The commission began the hearings on the reservation on September 28 and tried 16 men that day alone. This breakneck pace continued, and by November 3—a mere five weeks later—the commission had conducted 392 trials, including an astonishing 40 in one day. Observer Reverend J.P. Williamson noted that the trials took less time than the state courts required to try a single murder defendant. The accused were hauled before the commission, sometimes manacled together in groups, and were arraigned through an interpreter. The charges ranged from rape to murder to theft, although most Dakota were accused of merely participating in battles. The defendants entered a plea, and those who pleaded not guilty had an opportunity to speak. The commission then called and examined its own witnesses, but it did not permit the Dakota to have counsel for their defense. As one man who assisted in gathering evidence against the Indians noted, “[T]he plan was adopted to subject all the grown men, with a few exceptions to an investigation of the commission, trusting that the innocent would make their innocence appear.

The commission received testimony from eyewitnesses to some of the murders. Most of the evidence turned out to be hearsay, with witnesses declaring what they heard others say about particular killings. Some witnesses said they merely saw a defendant “whooping around or bragging about killings. The commission relied heavily on six witnesses, each of whom offered evidence in dozens of trials. The most damning of these was Joseph Godfrey, a mulatto who had lived among the Dakota and taken a Dakota wife. He was one of the first tried and convicted of engaging extensively in “massacres, but the commission, impressed with Godfrey’s courtroom presence, recommended imprisonment instead of hanging because he was willing to testify against other defendants. The court reporter noted that Godfrey’s “observation and memory were remarkable. Not the least thing had escaped his eye or ear. Such an Indian had a double-barreled gun, another a single-barreled, another a long one, another a lance, and another one nothing at all… Godfrey testified in more than 50 trials. In a remarkable irregularity the commission even allowed him to question particular witnesses. The Dakota quickly dubbed him Otakle, or “One Who Kills Many. Most defendants admitted to participating in some sort of warfare, whether in battles, attacks on armed settlements, or skirmishes with settlers. After news of the first few death sentences spread among the prisoners, however, many defendants then claimed they did not shoot at settlers or soldiers, or they did not hit them because of poor aim, or their weapons did not fire. Some testified they merely watched others fight or commit atrocities. Others offered evidence that they had saved the lives of whites, but the commission largely ignored it, even when the accounts were corroborated.

Sibley and Pope desperately wanted to begin the executions immediately, but the sentences required presidential review. On November 7 Pope telegraphed the names of the condemned to Lincoln, at a cost of $400. The editors of the New York Times berated Pope for his profligacy and suggested the amount be deducted from his salary.

Lincoln responded three days later, asking Pope to send “the full and complete record of these convictions” and to identify “the more guilty and influential of the culprits.” Lincoln pointedly added, “Send all by mail.” Pope grudgingly complied but said, “The only distinction between the culprits is as to which of them murdered most people or violated most young girls. All of them are guilty of these things in more or less degree.

Pope’s opinions were only the tip of the iceberg. As Lincoln began his deliberations, people on both sides of the issue bombarded him with letters and telegrams. Politicians, army officers, and clergy called on the president at the White House, each adding his take on the situation and offering advice. Lincoln dutifully and patiently listened. One of his own secretaries, John Nicolay, had been in Minnesota at the time of the conflict, and he told Lincoln that from “the days of King Philip to the time of Black Hawk, there has hardly been an outbreak so treacherous, so sudden, so bitter, and so bloody, as that which filled the State of Minnesota with sorrow and lamentation . . . .” Nicolay’s words must have struck a chord with Lincoln, for the president had been a militia volunteer during the 1832 Black Hawk War in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Governor Ramsey telegrammed Lincoln, “It would be wrong upon principle and policy” to refuse the executions. “Private revenge would on all this border take the place of official judgment of these Indians.” Two congressmen and a senator from Minnesota warned Lincoln that, should he grant clemency, “the outraged people of Minnesota will dispose of these wretches without law. These two peoples cannot live together.” A “resolution” from St. Paul residents declared, “The blood of hundreds of our murdered fellow citizens cries from the ground for vengeance . . . . The Indian’s nature can no more be trusted than the wolf’s.” Pope chimed in again as well, warning Lincoln that the “indiscriminate massacre” of all Dakota would occur if the president was too lenient. One man stood almost alone with a voice of moderation.

Bishop Henry Whipple, head of the Minnesota Episcopal Church, spoke often of the hypocrisy of federal Indian policies. In a newspaper editorial he wrote, “[I]f . . . vengeance is to be more than a savage thirst for blood, we must examine the causes which have brought this bloodshed . . . . Who is guilty of the causes which desolated our border? At whose door is the blood of these innocent victims? I believe that God will hold the Nation guilty.” Whipple was a cousin to Henry Halleck, Lincoln’s general-in-chief, so the bishop gained an audience with the president in November and urged clemency. Lincoln was impressed. “He came here the other day,” Lincoln said later, “and talked with me about the rascality of this Indian business, until I felt it down to my boots.

The timing of the Dakota crisis could not have been worse for the president. On a personal level, he and his wife, Mary, still grieved over the death, nine months earlier, of their 11-year-old son, Willie. On a political level, the administration faced one crisis after another. The war effort was in tatters. Major General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac lay no closer to Richmond after the ill-conceived Peninsula Campaign and the bloody draw at Antietam. McClellan tolerated precious little advice from the president and sometimes even refused to meet with him. Finally the exasperated president dismissed the insolent general and replaced him with Ambrose Burnside, soon to be responsible for the Union disaster at Fredericksburg. As the blunders mounted, Lincoln also faced a challenge to his leadership from disgruntled cabinet members. Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase, perpetually jealous of Lincoln and furious that the president did not turn to him for military advice, sulked and plotted behind the president’s back. Lincoln knew of these designs and only tolerated them because Chase was a supremely able leader of his department.

Slavery issues preoccupied Lincoln as well. Somewhere between the bad tidings and bouts of depression the president managed to work on the final drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that would free the slaves in most of the South, even as he was being called upon to suppress the Dakota. The Minnesota business weighed heavily on Lincoln’s mind.

“Three hundred Indians have been sentenced to death in Minnesota by a Military Commission, and execution only awaits my action,” he wrote to Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt. “I wish your legal opinion whether if I should conclude to execute only a part of them, I must myself designate which, or could I leave the designation to some officer on the ground?” Holt answered, “I am quite sure the power cannot be delegated.” So Lincoln began reviewing the trials. The president first reviewed them as the expert lawyer he truly was. His political fortunes had often risen and fallen, but Lincoln’s brilliant legal career had remained a constant. Largely self-taught, he gained a formidable reputation as both a defense lawyer and court-appointed prosecutor known for his piercing cross-examinations and folksy, countrified manner. He continually asserted he was “not an accomplished lawyer,” but Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court more than 200 times and made a small fortune as one of the principal lawyers for the Illinois Central Railroad. The president often utilized his legal skills when called upon to review the hundreds of Civil War military court verdicts appealed to him. By law and practice, there were basically two types of military courts at the time: courts martial and military commissions. Courts martial were comprised of a dozen officers and were generally held to try officers and enlisted men for dereliction of duty—sleeping while on sentry duty, cowardice, desertion, conduct unbecoming an officer—and for crimes such as rape and murder. Military commissions usually consisted of less than a dozen officers and were convened in areas where martial law had been declared, to try civilians accused of military crimes—spying, smuggling, conducting guerrilla actions against Union troops, and recruiting for the Confederacy.

The law allowed the convicted to appeal to Lincoln in most cases, and in capital cases it was a matter of right. In the midst of the havoc wrought by the war, Lincoln spent many hours of many days reviewing transcripts and receiving visits from the pleading family members of convicted men. Lincoln could easily see the defects of the Dakota trials.

Most importantly, the Dakota defendants had not been allowed representation by counsel. Defense lawyers would have raised objections to the jurisdiction of the commission in an area where martial law had not been ordered, as required by law. They would have questioned the impartiality of the five officers on the commission, all of whom fought against the Dakota and undoubtedly harbored ill will toward them. Defense lawyers would have cross-examined the commission’s witnesses, pointing out inconsistencies in their testimony and exposing their biases, particularly those—such as Godfrey—who “turned government’s evidence” and likely testified falsely in attempts to curry favor with the commission and save their necks. Without counsel, the defendants— already trapped behind a language and cultural barrier—did not have anyone to help them understand the proceedings, offer credible mitigating evidence, or develop and practice their own testimonies.

The president could also see how the trials’ rapidity prevented a full and fair analysis of the facts. The weight and impact of evidence simply could not be properly processed in a few minutes, especially in capital cases with their ultimate stakes. Undoubtedly the brevity of the trials resulted from the absence of defense counsel. The president could also see how the commission convicted many men with insufficient evidence. Lincoln, a master politician, also reviewed trials with a political perspective. On December 1 he gave the requisite nod to those who had pressured him against clemency by telling Congress, “The State of Minnesota has suffered great injury from this Indian war.” While he did not tip his hand about his imminent decision, it was a signal he would offer some satisfaction there. Yet he also knew how the rest of the world, especially Britain—still considering whether to recognize the Confederacy as an independent nation—would perceive the mass execution of some 300 men. As Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles noted in his diary: “When the intelligent Representatives of a State can deliberately besiege the Government to take the lives of these ignorant barbarians by wholesale… , it would seem the sentiments of the Representatives were but slightly removed from the barbarians they would execute.”

Nevertheless, Lincoln’s compassion played the largest role in the predicament. In their lengthy debates over Civil War military court verdicts, Judge Advocate Holt often urged execution. Lincoln usually demurred, saying, “I don’t think I can do it,” or “I am trying to evade the butchering business lately.” Holt said Lincoln’s “constant desire was to save life.” John Hay, the other of Lincoln’s personal secretaries, wrote in his diary, “I was amused at the eagerness with which the President caught at any fact which would justify him in saving the life of a condemned soldier.” Statistics confirm these observations. In his review of death sentences for desertion, Lincoln disagreed with the trial courts at a rate of 75 percent initially, increasing to 95 percent by the middle of the war. He rarely approved execution for cowards because “it would frighten the poor devils too terribly,” and he never allowed execution for those who slept on sentry duty. In reviewing the death sentences of civilians handed down by military commissions, Lincoln disagreed with 60 percent of the trial courts. He was only merciless in cases involving cruelty or sex offenses.

Any death sentence for rape or murder, whether from courts martial or commission, stood a 50- to-80 percent chance of being upheld upon presidential review. Lincoln issued his decision in the Dakota cases on December 6, 1862. He later explained his rationale to the Senate: “Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I caused a careful examination of the records of trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females. Contrary to my expectations, only two of this class were found. I then directed a further examination, and a classification of all who were proven to have participated in massacres, as distinguished from participation in battles.” Lincoln’s order to Sibley—in his own handwriting—allowed the execution of only 39 of the 303 condemned Dakota.

Of these, 29 had been convicted of murder, three for having “shot” someone, two for participating in “massacres,” and one for mutilation. As Lincoln told the Senate, only two had been convicted of rape. Curiously, the president allowed the executions of two men who were convicted merely for participating in battles. Lincoln spared Godfrey, as the military commission requested, and two weeks later spared another man due to newly discovered exculpatory evidence. “The other condemned prisoners,” Lincoln ordered Sibley, “you will hold subject to further orders, taking care that they neither escape, nor are subject to any unlawful violence.” With his “massacres” versus “battles” standard, Lincoln offered clemency to 265 of the condemned Dakota, or 87 percent of them. Some analysts have argued that jurisdictional defects in the proceedings—namely, that the commission lacked authority because martial law had not been declared, and that the Dakota were not tried for military-type violations, but the common-law crimes of rape and murder—nullify Lincoln’s well-intentioned efforts. While these arguments are probably true in theory, the reality of the situation was different.

This was wartime; Lincoln could not have reversed the convictions wholesale, either ordering new trials or disapproving the proceedings entirely. The former would have caused great delay and the latter great outrage, either of which could have led to mob violence in Minnesota. Such actions would not necessarily have prevented the Dakota from being tried in state courts, where they would have received little sympathy from citizen juries. Lincoln had to make a final decision on the matter, and he did: his “massacres” versus “battles” standard recognized all legal and political issues and encompassed all reasonable solutions. His standard presented a plausible, practical effort to correct the verdicts and assign more appropriate standards of responsibility. On December 27 President Lincoln received a telegram from Sibley: “I have the honor to inform you that the thirty-eight Indians and half-breeds, ordered by you for execution, were hung yesterday at Mankato, at 10 a.m.

Everything went off quietly, and the other prisoners are well secured.” The politicians and citizens of Minnesota had taken the president’s order with a smoldering reserve, and there were no acts of vigilantism or mob law. The Dakota plunged simultaneously to their deaths on one giant gallows before thousands of spectators. It remains the largest mass execution in American history. In the next year Sibley led a punitive expedition against those Dakota who had escaped after the conflict.

A settler killed Little Crow after the Indian had sneaked back into Minnesota. After spending a freezing, disease-ridden winter at Fort Snelling, the remaining Dakota were banished to an inhospitable reservation in South Dakota. All, that is, except one man named Chaska. In an example personifying the trial defects, Chaska—who had saved the lives of captive white women—was errantly hanged instead of one Chaskaydon, convicted of shooting and mutilating a pregnant woman.

The marshal of the prison had gone to release Chaska: “[B]ut when I asked for him, the answer was ‘You hung him yesterday.’ I could not bring back the redskin.

This article was written by Daniel W. Homstad and originally published in the December 2001 issue of American History Magazine.

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66 Responses to Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota’s Great Sioux Uprising

  1. Holly Verret says:

    None of this is true…were you there?

    • Arkynut says:

      your lame, like the rest-look the other way. I guess the holocaust didn’t happen either!! Both white and black damn near wiped out a race of people. if you don’t bother to research before you answer, keep your frikin mouth SHUT! Cause your lame ass don’t know nothing! FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF!

    • Adam says:

      You are saying none of this true? Everything must be a “conspiracy”

    • Nakisha says:

      It is true that is why only 5% of natives make up America and I don’t get why white ppl don’t appreciate native because they tribes do a lot of things for this country

    • Nakisha says:

      This is true that’s why natives only make up at least 5% of America.

    • Nakisha says:

      This is true that’s why natives only make up at least 5% of America today

    • tomdickandharry says:

      ” were you there?” Seriously, that’s your response? I guess, by that rationale, we should then throw all history out the window, except for modern history, simply because no one was there too eye witness the events. That’s when documented eyewitness accounts become relevant, such as those quoted in this article.

  2. tiffany says:

    so the indians won or lost? You describe it so confusing that i don’t know who won the war. I thought it was the Dakota…or was it the settlers. I don’t know…I’m so lost I’m heading towards crazy town.

  3. mariah says:

    this is lame its not true

  4. Michael Mack says:

    You commentators who dispute the truth of this article, do your research THIS DID HAPPEN.

  5. David Irish says:

    I read this as part of my research for my next writing which I will focus on Abraham Lincoln. I published on an Internet site and have written poems concerning the Civil War. I have had a lady friend that is half Sioux and was born in South Dakota and raised in Montana.

    This relationship with her has created a stronger interest in the Native American people that I have a great respect for. I live in Arizona where their is a significant Native population.

    Honest Abe’s decision concerning this very difficult situation combined with the Civil War under way must have been very difficult and demanding. I do believe that Lincoln was a strong supporter of human rights.

  6. Tony says:

    Abe Lincoln was as much a racist as Adolf Hitler-he hated Indians and didn’t care much for blacks either. He didn’t care if the slaves were freed or not-just so the United States would be united. All those who are on Mount Rushmore were Indian haters and the person who sculpted it (Borglund) was a member of the KKK. The more you learn about history the more you realize that humankind and human behavior is very abnormal and that history is a lot of B.S. People need to stop worshing Presidents and celebrities..stop being shallow!!!!!

    • maureen mccarthy says:

      well said tony i so agree with you

    • Lamashtar says:

      If Lincoln was as racist as Hitler, he’d’ve ordered the executions of all 300. But you seem to have issues with reading comprehension.

      • JAVA06 says:

        Had all 300 been hung, the news would have spread to Europe and the chance of them sympathizing with the South would have made the war more difficult to win for the Union.

    • Sue says:

      “The more you learn about history the more you realize that humankind and human behavior is very abnormal…”

      Then, it sounds to me, that it’s very normal!

    • Know the times says:

      You have to realize that nearly everyone at this point in American history would be considered a racist by today’s standards. Adolf Hitler was both a racist and a mass murderer who we can definitely judge by different standards. Although Lincoln was by no means perfect, and I tend to agree with you on the point that a lot of history is left out, I do not think it is fair to even consider comparing him to Hitler in any way.

  7. Darryl says:

    The victor always writes the history, assuming this to be correct we have a white account of what happened. The native american version is not heard. I am sure if their truth were to be written the level of hatred, butchery,corruption and injustice wrought upon the native american people who were responding to the genocide of their people might be perceived differently. As the article points out none spoke english, a biased interpret was used and no legal representation was allowed. Using todays standard of justice, ethics and human rights any person involved in this execution of the Native Americans is a murderer, thats includes honest Abe who gave the excutive approval to hang 29. The truth hurts…but it sets you free

    • Lee says:

      It is simply too convenient to revise our view of America’s heroic. Particularly, as we have such great need to justify our own behavior, and those of our elected officials. Execution by hanging is certainl gruesome, we seem to center our thought on the fact that these were native americans, and fail to recall the number of innocents who were victimized by these raiders. That is, of course if one insists on believing the accounts given in the article are accurate. It seems to me very clear that Lincoln grieved over any such decision whether it had to do with treason, or murder and rape. The article indicates, perhaps by mere coincidence that Lincoln was instrmental in sparing some 85% of both soldiers and natives despite an overwhelming bias not to do so. Certainly, Pope’s position was shameful, however, given the circumstances, I expect that the thirty some individuals who were hanged had innocent blood on their hands. Please don’t make this a white and native victimization thing.

    • Lamashtar says:

      You’re only an internet click away from Native American versions. But it’s interesting that you don’t care at all about the 800 victims who died previous to the mass hanging.

    • Tucker says:

      Murderers are so honest they just can’t help but tell the truth. Pah-lease murderers side of the story is… “I didn’t do it”

  8. Half Breed says:

    United Native America
    The American Indian And The “Great Emancipator”

    By Michael Gaddy
    Published 01. 9. 03 at 21:31 Sierra Time

    Perhaps the veneer of lies and historical distortions that surround Abraham Lincoln are beginning to crack. In the movie, “Gangs of New York,” we finally have a historically correct representation of the real Abraham Lincoln and his policies. Heretofore, many socialistic intellectuals, politicians and historians have whitewashed these policies in order to protect Lincoln’s image because of their allegiance to the unconstitutional centralization of power he brought to our government.

    The false sainthood and adulation afforded Lincoln has its basis in the incorrect assumption he fought the war to free an enslaved people. To believe this propaganda one must ignore most everything Lincoln said about the Black race and his continued efforts at colonization. Lincoln’s treatment of the American Indian has been very much ignored, though not exactly misrepresented.

    One would find it hard to refute that Abraham Lincoln’s political idol was Henry Clay. Lincoln would say of Clay; “During my whole political life, I have loved and revered Henry Clay as a teacher and leader.” Lincoln delivered the eulogy at the funeral for Clay. When elected President, Lincoln set about implementing Henry Clay’s political philosophies.

    Throughout Clay’s political life he was a strong believer in National Socialism and a complete racist in all references to the American Indian. As Secretary of State Clay would declare: “The Indians’ disappearance from the human family will be no great loss to the world. I do not think them, as a race, worth preserving.”

    This mentality lead to the forced walk of all Cherokees from the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia to Oklahoma during the winter of 1838. Over 20,000 Cherokees were dragged from their homes, which were then plundered and burned. They were force marched most of them barefooted to Oklahoma during the dead of winter with the sky for their blanket and the earth for their pillow. Over 4,000 Cherokees died on this march and it became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

    Similar atrocities occurred all through the Lincoln Administration. In 1862, the Santee Sioux of Minnesota grew tired of waiting for the 1.4 million dollars they had been promised for the sale of 24 million acres of land to the federal government in 1851. Appeals to President Lincoln fell on deaf ears. What made this even more egregious to the Sioux was the invasion of this yet unpaid for land by thousands of white settlers. Then, with a very poor crop in august of 1862, many of the Indians were hungry and facing starvation with the upcoming winter.

    When Lincoln outright refused to pay the owed money, remember he had a war to finance the Indians revolted. Lincoln assigned General John Pope to quell the uprising and he announced at the beginning of his campaign: “It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux. They are to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts, and by no means as people with whom treaties or compromise can be made.” Lincoln certainly did not challenge this statement.

    The Indians were quickly defeated in October of 1862 and Pope herded all the Indians, men, women and children, into forts where military trials were immediately convened. None of the Indians tried were given any semblance of a defense. Their trials lasted approximately 10 minutes each. All adult males were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death with the only evidence against them being they had been present during a “war” which they themselves had declared against the government.

    The authorities in Minnesota asked Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 males found guilty. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. Remember, he only owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land.

    So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.

    Lincoln’s western armies, using the tactics of murder, rape, burning and pillaging, simultaneously being used against Southern noncombatants by the eastern armies, turned their attention to the Navajos.

    In 1863-64, General Carleton and his subordinate, Colonel Kit Carson, invaded the Navajo land, especially those concentrated in the Canyon de Chelly area. Crops were burned, innocents were murdered, women were raped and general chaos was rained upon these noble people simply because, like the Santee Sioux, they demanded from Lincoln what they had been promised; their land and to be left alone. General Carleton, believing there was gold to be found in the area, stated: “This war, will be pursued against you if it takes years until you cease to exist or move.” Again, there was no protest of this policy from Lincoln, his Commander in Chief.

    The Navajo were forced to march over 300 miles to Bosque Redondo in eastern New Mexico. Over 200 Navajos died on this march and, eventually, over 2,000 perished before a treaty was signed in 1868. While at Bosque Redondo, the Navajo suffered the vilest conditions; bitter water, no firewood and impossible growing conditions for crops. The soldiers and the Mexican guards subjected the women to rape and humiliating treatment. Children born at this “concentration camp” were lucky to survive their first few months of life.

    As our Founding Fathers did in our Declaration of Independence from the British, the Cherokee Nation listed its grievances with the Union when they declared their unification with the Confederate States on October 28th 1861. These brave people had already observed the atrocities of Lincoln’s war criminals and saw through any so-called war for liberation.

    “When circumstances beyond their control compel one people to sever the ties which have long existed between them and another state or confederacy, and to contract new alliances and establish new relations for the security of their rights and liberties, it is fit that they should publicly declare the reasons by which their action is justified.

    The Cherokee people had its origin in the South; its institutions are similar to those of the Southern States, and their interests identical with theirs. Long since it accepted the protection of the United States of America, contracted with them treaties of alliance and friendship, and allowed themselves to be to a great extent governed by their laws.

    In peace and war, they have been faithful to their engagements with the United States. With much hardship and injustice to complain of, they resorted to no other means than solicitation and argument to obtain redress. Loyal and obedient to the laws and the stipulations of the treaties, they served under the flag of the United States, shared the common dangers, and were entitled to a share in the common glory, to gain which their blood was freely shed on the battlefield.

    When the dissentions between the Southern and Northern States culminated in a separation of State after State from the Union, they watched the progress of events with anxiety and consternation. While their institutions and the contiguity of their territory to the states of Arkansas, Texas and Missouri made the cause of the seceding States necessarily their own cause, their treaties had been made with the United States, and they felt the utmost reluctance even in appearance to violate their engagements or set at naught the obligations of good faith.

    But Providence rules the destinies of nations, and events, by inexorable necessity, overrule human resolutions. The number of the Confederate States increased to eleven, and their government is firmly established and consolidated. Maintaining in the field an army of two hundred thousand men, the war became for them but a succession of victories. Disclaiming any intention to invade the Northern States, they sought only to repel invaders from their own soil and to secure the right of governing themselves.

    They claimed only the privilege asserted by the Declaration of American Independence, and on which the right of the Northern States themselves to self-government is formed, of altering their form of government when it became no longer tolerable and establishing new forms for the security of their liberties.

    Throughout the Confederate States, we saw this great revolution effected without violence or suspension of the laws or the closing of the courts, The military power was nowhere placed above the civil authorities. None were seized and imprisoned at the mandate of arbitrary power. All division among the people disappeared, and the determination became unanimous that there should never again be any union with the Northern States. Almost as one man, all who were able to bear arms rushed to the defense of an invaded country, and nowhere has it been found necessary to compel men TO SERVE, or to enlist mercenaries by the offer of extraordinary bounties.

    But, in the Northern States, the Cherokee people saw with alarm a violated constitution, all civil liberty put in peril, and all rules of civilized warfare and the dictates of common humanity and decency unhesitatingly disregarded. In states which still adhered to the Union, a military despotism had displaced the civil power and the laws became silent amid arms. Free speech and almost free thought became a crime. The right of the writ of habeas corpus, guaranteed by the constitution, disappeared at the nod of a Secretary of State or a general of the lowest grade. The mandate of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was at naught by the military power, and this outrage on common right, approved by a President sworn to support the constitution. War on the largest scale was waged, and the immense bodies of troops called into the field in the absence of any law warranting it under the pretense of suppressing unlawful combination of men.

    The humanities of war, which even barbarians respect, were no longer thought worthy to be observed. Foreign mercenaries and the scum of the cities and the inmates of prisons were enlisted and organized into brigades and sent into Southern States to aid in subjugating a people struggling for freedom, to burn, to plunder, and to commit the basest of outrages on the women.

    While the heels of armed tyranny trod upon the necks of Maryland and Missouri, and men of the highest character and position were incarcerated upon suspicion and without process of law, in jails, in forts, and prison ships, and even women were imprisoned by the arbitrary order of a President and Cabinet Ministers; while the press ceased to be free, and the publication of newspapers was suspended and their issues seized and destroyed.

    The officers and men taken prisoners in the battles were allowed to remain in captivity by the refusal of the Government to consent to an exchange of prisoners; as they had left their dead on more than one field of battle that had witnessed their defeat, to be buried and their wounded to be cared for by southern hands”

    Lincoln’s armies, after decimating and destroying the South in the War for Southern Independence, turned its war criminals loose on the Indians of the Great Plains and the Southwest. The tactics of murder, rape and pillaging, perfected in such places as Atlanta, the March to the Sea and the Shenandoah Valley, were repeated in places with names like Sand Creek and Wounded Knee.

    Small wonder one of Lincoln’s favorite Generals was William T. Sherman, who wrote to his wife in 1862 that his goal was the “extermination, not of soldiers alone, that is the least of the trouble, but the people of the South.” He said while campaigning against the Indians: “The only good Indian I ever saw was dead,” and lamented to his son shortly before his death that he had been unable to kill all of the “Red Sob’s.”

    Abraham Lincoln’s “American System,” adopted from Henry Clay, brought about the necessity for the removal of the Indians from the west. This concept of government had been vetoed as unconstitutional by virtually every president, beginning with James Madison.

    The system called for the subsidizing of the railroads with stolen taxpayer money. Lincoln had long been the primary attorney representing the railroads before being elected President. For the railroads to complete their lines into the west, the Indian had to be either “neutralized” or eliminated. Thus, Lincoln left his fingerprints on the campaign against the Indian well into the 19th century.

    Lincoln’s policies of taxpayer-supported railroads would lead, not only to the attempted annihilation of the Indian, but to tremendous scandals in the administration of another of Lincoln’s war criminals, Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, like Lincoln, handed out his “political plum” appointments of Indian Agent to cronies who proceeded to gain tremendous wealth by selling supplies and stealing money that should have gone to the Indians.

    Today, as we Southerners protest the conversion of the Battlefields of the National Park Service into “the beginnings of reparations for slavery,” by Marxist politicians and journalists, and challenge the erection of a statue of Lincoln in Richmond, we might ask ourselves as the Indian has done for years: Why, in the most sacred land of the Sioux, is there a monument carved into the granite mountain, a figure of Lincoln, who promised the annihilation of a band of the Sioux to please his political cronies?

    To continue to idolize Lincoln is to refute history and intellectual thought and to worship at the foot of Marxist government. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, Americans will be able to see the Lincoln Administration and its legacy of how we are governed today in the light of truth. We may even be able to see its consequences as clearly as the Cherokee Nation saw them in 1861!


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  9. […] this date, President Lincoln ordered the execution of 39 of the 303 Santee Sioux Indians that had been condemned after a very hasty trial. A mass hanging of these unlucky ones was […]

  10. Philip Rushe says:

    Hitler was rightly condemned for invading France and Poland and Russia and killing huge numbers of the natives of those countries. Yet where is the condemnation of the Europeans that invaded the Americas, killed God knows how many natives, stole the land, slaughtered women and children, did their best to wipe out entire nations, etc. Is it any wonder that there is such close ties between the US and Israel, seeing as Israel is trying to do to the Palestinians what the Europeans did to the Native Americans. Every US President should start a tern by apologising to the Native Americans and making a large payment in compensation. Indeed the US should pay rent to the Native Americans for using their land along with a cut of all revenue from oil and minerals.

    • MGarcia says:

      Cobell made step in the direction of making it right… but no amount of money can make the injustices of the world “right” or disappear.

      We are all grateful that light has been shed on issues and information like this.

      Nothing can justify racism or genocide. People need to start researching and learning what they can about the history of the world before words are spoken that are more harmful and ignorant than they are beneficial.

    • wayne says:

      Very well said.

  11. Michael Mack says:

    The history of this incident is part of offcial federal records – the government has never hidden it. Many other such similar incidents are found throughout government records dating back to when the U.S. was founded in 1776. In those days these occurrences were not crimes or “civil rights” issues, etc. rather they were about government record keeping for expenditures, regarding the effectiveness of government policies, etc. These records include the U.S. Serial Set, the Congressional Record, etc. so the truth of their occurrence is readily available for those who take the time to do the research.

    It is the U.S. government that set up the treaty-making process in the U.S. Constitution. Although the tribes basically didn’t want anything to do with the U.S. government at all, when the tribes recognized they were outnumbered, they signed the treaties (contracts) because they believed (hoped) the U.S. government would keep its part of the contacts – which they never did. According to the U.S. Constitution treaties remain “the law of the land”. Subsequently tribes have worked, with little success, to get the U.S. government to FULLY live up to the stipulations IT put in the treaties. Any benefits the tribes and their members might receive from the U.S. government, is because the U.S. government committed to do so in specifically legally documented terms.

  12. Abe Supporter says:

    Being ignorant isn’t an excuse to slander a man that helped more blacks and Natives then anyone commenting on this article. and Tony your clearly biased/ Do your research,that goes for all those listed below.

    Holly Verret
    maureen mccarthy

  13. Philip Rushe says:

    Lincoln was Hitler but with a lot less firepower. Oddly enough if the Native Americans had been united under a crazy dictator like Stalin they would probably have come out on top. The victors write the history and the Yanks have been telling massive lies for centuries. It is no wonder the United States is such a messed up country when you consider its disgraceful history. Most Americans are just as brainwashed and in denial as the Germans were in the thirties, or as most Muslims today. If it was not for the media coverage the Palestinians would have gone the same way as the Native Americans although it seems the Israelis have not completely given up on their genocidal intentions.

  14. Historian says:

    When informed of the perfidious treatment of Native Americans on reservations by Bishop Whipple, President Lincoln was visibly shaken, and vowed that if he outlasted the all-consuming Civil War, he would see to it that the government’s relationship with the Tribes was changed.

  15. Liam Urban says:

    my english class is doing a reaport on this and it is true

  16. […] by right-wing extremists. Lincoln ordered the the largest mass execution in American history – Source – He would fit right in with today's GOP Sign in or Register Now to […]

  17. Bob Hamilton says:

    If Lincoln wanted to unify the nation he wouldn’t have freed the slaves, and he wouldn’t have sent General Sherman down to burn half the south. By the way, Hitler murdered millions of Jews for no reason other than they were Jewish, Lincoln only sentenced 39 people of the 300 who were convicted of terrible crimes. you should watch what you say because no one in history should ever be compared to Hitler.

  18. Spencer courtis says:

    ‘The truth does not matter, it’s what’s communicated that does’ – from the movie The International. It has to do with the ‘love of money’ …greed!

  19. Joshua says:

    Haha the war is never over if we all survive Native Nation!!!

  20. […] U.S. federal holiday celebrates colonialism, slave-owning presidents, regressive religions, or outright genocide – July 4th is no different. Only one of our holidays celebrates a American of morality and virtue […]

  21. […] part my so-far futile efforts to leave Ferguson in the rear view mirror, let’s revisit one of the Abraham Lincoln’s great ethical dilemmas during the Civil War, in which today’s date, December 1, was […]

  22. Sam Thompson says:

    Talking about the false adulation and sainthood that we view past presidents with, you may be right about Lincoln to some degree, but the same can be said about JFK even more so than Lincoln. Also I would still argue if you actually study Lincoln he was by far a much greater president than many others especially JFK who has been propped up and viewed in a higher regard after his death than he ever would have been had he not been shot.

  23. Peter says:

    Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, why do people always use him? They History knowledge is very limited and VERY general. Why does no one ever mention King Leopold of England who slaughtered 10 MILLION Africans? Blacks don’t count because they don’t control usury?

  24. […] complete account of the story, written by Daniel W. Homstad, was originally published in the December 2001 issue of American History […]

  25. Greg Patterson says:

    Philip…equating Hitler’s action with Israel’s handling of the palestinians is flawed …an overly simplistic and uniformed view…you will never see a Jew or Christian strap on explosives and blow a bus with women and children…Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood are terror organizations that want to kill every Jew…they are part of a murder cult…

  26. TruthbeTold says:

    First the account as provided above by Michael Gaddy, a known, right wing extremist kook mixes his hatred of all with politics, policies and even various historical dates – most unassociated with Lincoln’s Presidency.

    The real truth – Lincoln was not endured to either Native Americans or Blacks, but rather the law. In that he felt he must uphold the founding Father’s standard of equality for all but admittedly the majority of White Americans – then and now – are bigots. So he found himself in constant compromise as a means to maintain order. In the day Native Americans were hated more so than blacks because they were too independent to be enslaved. Although Mr. Gaddy above wants to put the burden of murder, theft and pillage upon the plate of President Lincoln in fact it was more Congress that introduced, lobbied and voted for the most heinous atrocities committed against native Americans.

    The Southerners were no better – they simply were getting their butts beat at every juncture and needed friends.

    As to the politics – Lincoln did the right thing in keeping the US together, which was the real reason for the Civil War, but it is a nice side note that he was able to accomplish emancipation even if his reasoning was to take away the real intellect, work force and economic contributors of the South – the blacks – not the whites. Without the blacks the South would fall, white Southerner’s were incapable of doing the work and did not possess the intellect or work ethic to accomplish what the black man did.

    But back to the point as to Native Americans…they were brutalized and there is no doubt the accounts as published by whites is at least in large part a lie – likely the incidents are exaggerated but the event itself did occur. Were the Native Americans provoked – yes from day of white European settlements, whites proved they were dirty, filthy, dishonest in all dealings so the question as to provocation is a moot one. Mr. Gaddy is a modern day example of how whites manipulate as a means to garner or promote corrupt ideologies. They’ve been using Native Americans since day one to push their dictatorship upon the world, but Mr. Gaddy and his ban of lunatics is no different than any other ban of lunatics historically. Mr. Gaddy has an agenda and that agenda is one that not only serves to the detriment of all Native Americans, but any person who consider themselves an American. He is not trustworthy and has no credibility in any reputable audience – especially Native Americans

    The truth is not all white people are alike – same as not all Native Americans are alike. I dare say Native Americans and White Americans are now more on the same side of the battle for Freedom than every before. People like Mr. Gaddy and the party he represents were not satisfied the genocide of Native Americans they are now moving into the first phase of enslaving White Americans to the same extent.

    More truth, there was a great deal to learn for the Native Americans and after 400 years on these shores it is only now become apparent Native Americans got it right. What they knew 400 years ago is just now being understood by whites. I think it is long overdue we reevaluate the supposed superiority of the white race. Good news – not all whites evolve at the same rate. Many then and many now are equal to the Native Americans and recognize the need for retribution. They are equally respectful. It is time for tow great people to come together to make amends to one. It is time for two greats to lead this nation forward and remove from authority haters such Michael Gaddy and the politically corrupt views he represents. No human is perfect, but that does not mean there does not exist right from wrong.

    It is great to honor White people who have contributed to the countries development, but wrong to do so on the sacred lands of other people. We owe it to ourselves, to them, to those founding fathers and to America to do the right thing, once and for all.

    We must make right our great wrong. No one white person can do this and no one Native American can compel them to do so. It is time we join hands as one nation, equal in our mandate of equality. If not we won’t survive but I promise you the Native Americans will and those whites who have evolved to recognize the truth.

    • william wynn says:

      Truthbetold. I wouldn’t use my real name if Ihad wriiten that either. Your comment goes mute when you can only slander Mr Gaddy. Your history lesson seems a bit slanted. You can’t have it both ways. History can’t be changed by the right or the left. When you write without slander it might mean something. Until then, you seem like a left wing radical.Your opinion means nothing to clear thinking people. (White, red, yellow, pink, black) yes, all of us!

  27. Qdog69 says:

    Exactly. King Leopold, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, The Kim family of North Korea and quite a few other dictators throughout history. People who comment on history of our nation or world history, more specifically the mass genocide of people should really pay attention and right papers to organize their thoughts and cite sources. It also would help if they would include all details in order to finalize a decision instead before spouting off with a know it all attitude.

  28. […] Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians … – Jun 12, 2006 · Even as the Civil War intensified, President Abraham Lincoln faced the aftereffects of a bloody Indian war in Minnesota. More than 300 men faced execution …… […]

  29. Neil Miller says:

    When it comes to the history of the United States in the time of the Civil War everything seems to be slanted to the North. This article stretches itself to make every excuse it can to justify President Lincoln’s decision to execute the Indians. The Indians were not given a fair trial. Abraham was more concerned with the white population in Minn. and the opinion of Europeans than he was about justice. He was willing to set aside justice and fair trial or political expediency. The article even uses grief as an excuse. I would have thought the lose of a son and the death of thousands in the war would have driven the president to say, enough death, give these Indians mercy. No he feared Minn would remove their support from the presidents bloody unjust war and in the end that is all that mattered. Abraham Lincoln was one of the best politicians in US history and one of the worst presidents.

  30. […] The Dakota had been reduced to starvation and dependence on government traders who exploited the native population shamelessly; as the Civil War bled government resources, there were desperate fears among the Indians that they would not receive the subsidies necessary for their survival, and they erupted into the Dakota War of 1862. The Dakota lost. The US Army then herded together hundreds of men and put them on “trial”. […]

  31. all of my native brothers and sisters follow me into war with these intruders and send them all back where they came from , I’m sick of whites and blacks and government lies
    please follow me into the final fight for our true freedom and the lies that the illuminati tells us and controls us brothers and sisters and our ancestors as mother earth cries for freedom once more . we shall arise and go to war one more time and die for mother earth and heal her from her wounds that white man has scared her deeply thanks to the white man we shall kick them out and their deadly diseases they carry and their lies please follow me into battle and get our land back for our ancestors and take down buildings and cars that hurts our mothers earth lungs for when she breathes she wheezes with a flu and cold help me heal her and fight off the infectious disease that white man created .

  32. John Tiessen says:

    First Nation People have had America try to exterminate them and they still are today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTrbVf6SrCc

  33. arobinson says:

    America is full of tragedy and assaults upon the fragmented lives of humanity.

  34. amazoncubes says:

    Watch the Lone Ranger, and know that the framing of Indians by staging massacres by white radicals and paid assassins working for the coal and railroad industry was commonplace and was the case here as well. This particular ‘mass’ execution was intended to frame 300 people, and instead framed 29, and sent the rest to starve and die by disease and famine. God bless all and give the Natives back their land and rights.

    • Mary Stevens says:

      Wait a minute. I thought Honest Abe was the great emancipator?

      • SDsc0rch says:

        not “america” —– if it was “america” we would still be doing it – the evil that was perpetrated back then was done by hateful LIBERALS!

  35. Mary Stevens says:

    Abe also ordered for the mass kidnapping of 400 women and children who worked at a Roswell Georgia Mill. They were sent by train to unknown destinations in the North. Many were never located or able to return to their Southern homes. Lincoln should be removed from our currency, his Memorial in DC destroyed or removed to a Museum, removed from MT Rushmore and charged with War Crimes.

    • Dustin Sandage says:

      I would love to see your source for this information.

      • Randy Moore says:

        Lincoln himself presided over slave states in his own United States through the entire war and after when he was killed 5 days after the Lee’s surrender. Even his own Emancipation Proclamation did not free his own slaves, it only applied to “rebelling states”, which is the term he used for the Confederacy. If he called the Confederate States of America what it actually was, he was a war criminal for attacking the CSA. He knew that, so he never recognized CSA as a separate nation, which they were. Lincoln was a slave-holder throughout the War. So, what was the Civil War all about then? For those who disbelieve, this is history so just Google it and you will find the true answers.

  36. George Lewter Jr. says:

    I believe this article is WRONG, it was not an up rising, 300 Indians where caught hunting out of the area they where suppose to be hunting in, here is the article and source.

    I Never Knew That Abraham Lincoln Ordered The Largest MASS HANGING IN US HISTORY, Or Why He Did It

    By Emmanuel
    Posted on April 19, 2016

    Sometimes the truth is hidden from us as kids. Should you bring it up as an adult you get ridiculed…
    People think that Abe Lincoln was such a benevolent President. He was actually a bit of a tyrant. He attacked the Confederate States of America, who succeeded from the Union due to tax and tariffs. (If you think it was over slavery, you need to find a real American history book written before 1960.)

    This picture is of 39 Santee Sioux Indian men that were ordered to be executed by Abraham Lincoln for treaty violations (IE: hunting off of their assigned reservation). Yes, the “Great Emancipator” as the history books so fondly referred to him as.
    Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds.

    So, on December 26, 1862, the “Great Emancipator” ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.
    You have no idea the things that are hidden from you with the textbooks assigned to you as a child by your government. Stay mindful people, be aware….in the age of information being ignorant is indeed a choice.

    You are currently seeing the wholesale attempt to REWRITE yet another chapter in American History were the Confederate Battle Flag is concerned. Now there is talk of digging up graves and moving bodies that ‘offend’ people. This is nothing more than desecration of the dead.
    Have a disagreement with history, and not wanting to remember the War Between the States, is one thing. But to erase a significant event in national history is another. And sets a dangerous precedent. What will fall victim next to Political Correctness?

    Source: Rick Harmon, Facebook / History.com

  37. George Lewter Jr. says:

    President Abraham Lincoln was a Tyrant and here is the is the PROOF.

    The Terrible Truth About Abraham Lincoln and the Confederate War
    Michael Hutcheson
    3 years ago

    President Lincoln has been all but deified in America, with a god-like giant statue at a Parthenon-like memorial in Washington. Generations of school children have been indoctrinated with the story that “Honest Abe” Lincoln is a national hero who saved the Union and fought a noble war to end slavery, and that the “evil” Southern states seceded from the Union to protect slavery. This is the Yankee myth of history, written and promulgated by Northerners, and it is a complete falsity. It was produced and entrenched in the culture in large part to gloss over the terrible war crimes committed by Union soldiers in the War Between the States, as well as Lincoln’s violations of the law, his shredding of the Constitution, and other reprehensible acts. It has been very effective in keeping the average American ignorant of the real causes of the war, and the real nature, character and record of Lincoln. Let us look at some unpleasant facts.
    In his first inaugural address, Lincoln stated clearly that (1) he had no legal authority to interfere with slavery where it existed, (2) that he had no inclination or intention to do so even if he had the legal authority, (3) that he would enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, returning runaway slaves escaping to the North to their masters in the South, and (4) that he fully supported the Thirteenth Amendment then being debated in Congress which would protect slavery in perpetuity and was irrevocable. He later famously stated, “Do not paint me with the Abolitionist brush.”
    Although there was some opposition to slavery in the country, the government was willing to concede everything the South wanted regarding slavery to keep it in the Union. Given all these facts, the idea that the South seceded to protect slavery is as absurd as the idea that Lincoln fought the war to end slavery. Lincoln himself said in a famous letter after the war began that his sole purpose was to save the Union, and not to either save or end slavery; that if he could save the Union without freeing a single slave, he would. Nothing could be clearer.
    For decades before the war, the South, through harsh tariffs, had been supplying about 85% of the country’s revenue, nearly all of which was being spent in the North to boost its economy, build manufacturing, infrastructure, railroads, canals, etc. With the passage of the 47% Morrill Tariff the final nail was in the coffin. The South did not secede to protect slavery, although certainly they wished to protect it; they seceded over a dispute about unfair taxation, an oppressive Federal government, and the right to separate from that oppression and be governed “by consent”, exactly the same issues over which the Founding Fathers fought the Revolutionary War. When a member of Lincoln’s cabinet suggested he let the South go in peace, Lincoln famously replied, “Let the South go? Where, then, would we get our revenue!” He then launched a brutal, empirical war to keep the free and sovereign states, by force of arms, in the Union they had created and voluntarily joined, and then voluntarily left. This began his reign of terror.
    Lincoln was the greatest tyrant and despot in American history. In the first four months of his presidency, he created a complete military dictatorship, destroyed the Constitution, ended forever the constitutional republic which the Founding Fathers instituted, committed horrendous crimes against civilian citizens, and formed the tyrannical, overbearing and oppressive Federal government which the American people suffer under to this day. In his first four months, he
    1. Failed to call Congress into session after the South fired upon Fort Sumter, in direct violation of the Constitution.
    2. Called up an army of 75,000 men, bypassing the Congressional authority in direct violation of the Constitution.
    3. Unilaterally suspended the writ of habeas corpus, a function of Congress, violating the Constitution. This gave him the power, as he saw it, to arrest civilians without charge and imprison them indefinitely without trial—which he did.
    4. Ignored a Supreme Court order to restore the right of habeas corpus, thus violating the Constitution again and ignoring the Separation of Powers which the Founders put in place exactly for the purpose of preventing one man’s using tyrannical powers in the executive.
    5. When the Chief Justice forwarded a copy of the Supreme Court’s decision to Lincoln, he wrote out an order for the arrest of the Chief Justice and gave it to a U.S. Marshall for expedition, in violation of the Constitution.
    6. Unilaterally ordered a naval blockade of southern ports, an act of war, and a responsibility of Congress, in violation of the Constitution.
    7. Commandeered and closed over 300 newspapers in the North, because of editorials against his war policy and his illegal military invasion of the South. This clearly violated the First Amendment freedom of speech and press clauses.
    8. Sent in Army forces to destroy the printing presses and other machinery at those newspapers, in violation of the Constitution.
    9. Arrested the publishers, editors and owners of those newspapers, and imprisoned them without charge and without trial for the remainder of the war, all in direct violation of both the Constitution and the Supreme Court order aforementioned.
    10. Arrested and imprisoned, without charge or trial, another 15,000-20,000 U.S. citizens who dared to speak out against the war, his policies, or were suspected of anti-war feelings. (Relative to the population at the time, this would be equivalent to President G.W. Bush arresting and imprisoning roughly 150,000-200,000 Americans without trial for “disagreeing” with the Iraq war; can you imagine?)
    11. Sent the Army to arrest the entire legislature of Maryland to keep them from meeting legally, because they were debating a bill of secession; they were all imprisoned without charge or trial, in direct violation of the Constitution.
    12. Unilaterally created the state of West Virginia in direct violation of the Constitution.
    13. Sent 350,000 Northern men to their deaths to kill 350,000 Southern men in order to force the free and sovereign states of the South to remain in the Union they, the people, legally voted to peacefully withdraw from, all in order to continue the South’s revenue flow into the North.
    These are just a few of the most egregious things Lincoln did during his despotic presidency. He set himself up as a tyrannical dictator with powers never before utilized or even imagined by any previous administration. During this four years of terrible war he was one of the greatest despots the world has ever known, his tyranny focused against his own countrymen, both North and South. He was called a despot and tyrant by many newspapers and citizens both North and South, until he had imprisoned nearly all those who dared to simply speak out against his unconstitutional usurpations of power. Those who disagreed with him were branded as “traitors”, just as were the brave and honorable men in the states which had legally seceded from the Union over just such issues as these criminal abuses of power by the Federal government.
    Four months after Fort Sumter, when Lincoln finally called Congress back into session, no one dared oppose anything he wanted or speak out against him for fear of imprisonment, so completely had he entrenched his unilateral power and silenced his other many critics.
    The Union army, under Generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and President Lincoln, committed active genocide against Southern civilians—this is difficult for some to believe, but it is explicit in their writings and dispatches at the time and indisputable in their actions. Tens of thousands of Southern men, women and children—civilians—white and black, slave and free alike—were shot, hanged, raped, imprisoned without trial, their homes, lands and possessions stolen, pillaged and burned, in one of the most horrific and brutal genocides ever inflicted upon a people anywhere; but the Yankee myth of history is silent in these well-documented matters. For an excellent expose of these war crimes and their terrible extent, see War Crimes Against Southern Civilians by Walter Brian Cisco.
    Only after the Union had suffered two years of crushing defeats in battle did Lincoln resolve to “emancipate” the slaves, and only as a war measure, a military tactic, not for moral or humanitarian purposes. He admitted this, remarking, “We must change tactics or lose the game.” He was hoping, as his original draft of the document shows, that a slave uprising would occur, making it harder for Southerners to continue the war. His only interest in freeing the slaves was in forcing the South to remain in the Union. His Emancipation Proclamation was denounced by Northerners, Southerners and Europeans alike for its absurdity and hypocrisy; for, it only “freed” the slaves in the seceded states—where he could not reach them—and kept slavery intact in the North and the border states—where he could have freed them at once.
    The Gettysburg Address, the most famous speech in American history, is an absurd piece of war rhetoric and a poetry of lies. We were not “engaged in a great Civil War, to see whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, can long endure.” The South was engaged in a War of Independence from a tyrannical North, and after having legally seceded, wished only “to be let alone.” The North was engaged in a war of empire, to keep the South involuntarily under its yoke. Government “of the people, by the people and for the people” would not have “perished from the earth” had the North lost the war; on the contrary, it perished in the United States when the North won the war; for, freely representative government, by consent of the governed, is exactly what the South was fighting for and exactly what Lincoln’s military victory destroyed.
    The checks and balances of powers, the separation of powers, the constitutional constraints so carefully and deliberately put into place by the Founding Fathers, had all been destroyed in Lincoln’s first months. The Republic which the Founders gave us had been completely destroyed and a new nation-state was set up; one in which the free and sovereign States would afterward be only vassals and tributaries, slaves to an all-powerful, oppressive Federal government. This new nation-state is completely different in both nature and consequence to the original American Republic. One only has to look around today to see the end results and legacy of Lincoln’s war, his destruction of freedom, and his institution of despotic, centralized governmental power and tyranny.
    In retrospect, it is a tragedy that John Wilkes Booth did not act four years earlier. Slavery would have ended naturally, as it has everywhere else (except in African and Arab states); the American Republic, liberty, and 700,000 lives would have been saved, and untold thousands of those young men would have lived to contribute their ingenuity, inventions, creativity and talents to the political, economic, literary, scientific and social legacy of our people. And the greatest despotic tyrant in American history would never have gained the foothold of power or been able to establish the oppressive and omnipotent Federal government we all suffer under today.
    Categories: History, Op-ed
    Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Confederate, Constitionalism, Constitution, Emancipation Proclamation, federal government, Founding Fathers, Gettysburg Address, habeas corpus, history, Honest Abe, John Wilkes Booth, military history, Morrill Tariff, presidential history, Republic, revisionist history, succession, taxation, taxes, Yankee
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