Lincoln Ordered Largest Mass Execution in History

Largest Mass Execution in US History: 150 Years Ago


December 26, 1862: thirty-eight Dakota Indians were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass execution in US history–on orders of President Abraham Lincoln. Their crime: killing 490 white settlers, including women and children, in the Santee Sioux uprising the previous August.

The execution took place on a giant square scaffold in the center of town, in front of an audience of hundreds of white people. The thirty-eight Dakota men “wailed and danced atop the gallows,” according to Robert K. Elder of The New York Times, “waiting for the trapdoors to drop beneath them.” A witness reported that, “as the last moment rapidly approached, they each called out their name and shouted in their native language: ‘I’m here! I’m here!’ ”

Lincoln’s treatment of defeated Indian rebels against the United States stood in sharp contrast to his treatment of Confederate rebels. He never ordered the executions of any Confederate officials or generals after the Civil War, even though they killed more than 400,000 Union soldiers. The only Confederate executed was the commander of Andersonville Prison—and for what we would call war crimes, not rebellion.

Minnesota was a new frontier state in 1862, where white settlers were pushing out the Dakota Indians—also called the Souix. A series of broken peace treaties culminated in the failure of the United States that summer to deliver promised food and supplies to the Indians, partial payment for their giving up their lands to whites. One local trader, Andrew Myrick, said of the Indians’ plight, “If they are hungry, let them eat grass.”

The Dakota leader Little Crow then led his “enraged and starving” tribe in a series of attacks on frontier settlements. The “US-Dakota War” didn’t last long: After six weeks, Henry Hastings Sibley, first governor of Minnesota and a leader of the state militia, captured 2,000 Dakota, and a military court sentenced 303 to death.

Lincoln, however, was “never an Indian hater,” Eric Foner writes in his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. He did not agree with General John Pope, sent to put down a Sioux uprising in southern Minnesota, who said “It is my purpose utterly to exterminate the Sioux if I have the power to do so.” Lincoln “carefully reviewed the trial records,” Foner reports, and found a lack of evidence at most of the tribunals. He commuted the sentences of 265 of the Indians—a politically unpopular move. But, he said, “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”

The 265 Dakota Indians whose lives Lincoln spared were either fully pardoned or died in prison. Lincoln and Congress subsequently removed the Sioux and Winnebago—who had nothing to do with the uprising—from all of their lands in Minnesota.

Mankato today is a city of 37,000 south of Minneapolis, notable for its state university campus, which has 15,000 students. In Mankato, which has heretofore neglected its bloody past, a new historical marker is being erected at the site of the scaffold, at a place now called Reconciliation Park. The marker, a fiberglass scroll, displays the names of the thirty-eight Dakota who were executed.

The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul is currently featuring an exhibit titled “Minnesota Tragedy: The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.” “You can’t turn your head from what is not pretty in history,” said Stephen Elliott, who became the director of the Minnesota Historical Society last May after twenty-eight years at Colonial Williamsburg. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Whatever we do, it’s not going to somehow heal things or settle it.” The impressive state-of-the-art exhibit includes the views of both white settlers and Indians, voices from the past as well as the present. “Visitors are encouraged to make up their own minds about what happened and why,” the official guide declares. The website and online video are particularly impressive.

Via: thenation


9 comments to Lincoln Ordered Largest Mass Execution in History

  • more blood on this psycho's hands. so glad Booth blew his brains out

  • Well, Well, Well, do tell, guess we poor old Southerns weren't the only ones on this bastardo's must annihilate list….
    SOB atheist, he and Obama would be great half friends, being Lincoln was only partial to whites and was the most destructive racist of them all, and would have like only the white side of Obama, but nothingness, would love sharing their similarities, which are many…
    The Indians were enemies, they were killing, raping, pillaging, committing genocide, enslaving and torturing long before the white man showed up and we did some horrible things to the other, and both are guilty for atrocities that should never be celebrated, both races were in the wrong period…
    But what Lincoln committed, were crimes, he was evil, and till this day are getting praises off of nothing more than lies, falsified historical teachings and more whole lies. not even half truths…He was a damn murderer and is being celebrated, that's what erks my senses…And we Southerners will never forgive him…
    We are still paying the price for his lies today and others are still continuing to instill them as truths, suffering the South even more gravely, they are ripping our heritage and traditions apart because of this War Criminal and they're making movies praising him, when all were born of lies…
    I would have loved to have shot him myself personally, to bad, I feel robbed???

  • chip benetante

    jericho you're just flat out retarded. you know nothing about lincoln and I recommend you read a book. if you can read (probably can't since you're from the south).

    • Lincoln was an invader and you sir know nothing about this mans evil….An Atheist and mass murderer…
      Retarded, how about doing some research on your own before berating another….Lincoln was a pussy and and a damn coward, he got exactly what he deserved, a lead ball to the head, just punishment for his crimes…You think this was about slavery do ya, then you my friend are hopelessly inseparable from your stupidity!
      The South offered Lincoln the sale of all their slaves prior to the war and the Yankee SOBs refused the deal, a deal of a life time and one that proved he cared little of the Blacks or the South…
      The South was on the verge of releasing the slaves because of the new inventions, cotton gins and pickers that were making slaves obsolete, they weren't cheap to up keep, insurance, food, healthcare not to mention their cost at auction $5000-$7000…It was the Souths growing economy that scared the Atheist bastard compared to the Norths ailing one, especially the Souths growing ship yards for ship building, so he did what most evil men do and conspired to killed 100s of thousands of his fellow Americans…
      Retarded, Ha! You are an example of pure ignorance…

    • The Northern States were floundering, they were going belly up broke and because the Southern States "The Great Confederacy" were building up quite a number of ship yards in the Carolina's due to their being able to build ships all throughout the year because of our moderate weather, we also had the control of an always profitable and highly in demand commodity of the cotton trade, we, the Southern States were becoming feared because of our growing economy and the Northern States wanted control of it.

      …Also the Southern States offered a compromise prior to the war, before slavery even became an issue, that the North purchase the slaves and take possession of them, that would have been on of the best damned deals in the history of mankind, the north rejected it, and by doing so, they showed right then and the right there that the slaves were the last things on their minds…

      …Slavery was already becoming obsolete, with the cost of slaves hitting the $5 and even $6000 range "$1 in 1835 is equal to $25 by 2011 inflation standards, that's $125.000 – $150.000 in 1835 for a slave" the cotton gin and other rapidly developing machinery were helping them yield their crops far cheaper, in record time, with less less maintenance and up keep, it was not cheap to care for slaves and the owners had to maintain their very expensive investments…

      • …For instance, many don't know that slave owners insured their slaves "Investments" and they had to, they were an expensive investment and they got sick, injured and they died, this BS about their getting beaten in large numbers on a regular basis is just that, BS. Yes, there were evil owners who committed evil and inhuman acts upon their slaves, just as there were good decent slave owners who showed them the utmost care, but the evil heartless owners were very few and far in-between, remember, many Christian slave owners practiced from their bibles and at the time seen slavery as being OK "despite it's not" as long as they practice from the guidelines within it according to YHVHs living word, they treated their slaves with great care due to it and because they were an expensive investment..

        …Insurance cost: Premium:$17.40, Policy fee:$2.00, Total:19.40. The amount insured on the slave was $1000. In an article written on February 1865, it stated that a healthy negro who was 36 years old, sold for $4,900. A 15 year old negro girl was $400 less. Black mechanics went for $2,000. Slave owners took care of their investments for the most part.

        …Lincoln was an evil racist himself, an atheist bastard invader and murderer of innocent Southern men, woman, and children and who cared less about slavery as he did for the South and her Southerners, by the way, both White and Black. It is estimated that 2-3% of the nearly 300.000 free black slaves who fought for the Great Confederacy owned themselves, African slaves, which by the way, it were the Africans themselves who were practicing slavery, captured and sold those slaves to the Dutch who then brought them to the States, both North and South to the slave owners, booth of the North and South, African Blacks and Whites, Indians, Asian's, Irish, French, German, Scots, Easterners and even Westerners owned slaves…

        …There was a very high probability that many of the Blacks who suffered slavery in the United States under both the Stars & Stripes and later in 1862 during the 2cd Bulls run Battle where it was commissioned, the Stars and Bars, not prior to the war as is taught, also practiced slavery in their native Continent of Africa.

        …History is being rewritten to cover up the atrocities committed by the North, the Dixiecrat and later the role of the Democrats who did all in their power to hold back the black man and woman from being treated humanly and to this day just as Lincolns North had perpetrated and it's being practiced by politicians hell bent on ensuring their voting block remains fattened, and are by all inhuman standards still enslaving blacks and whites alike using entrapment practices by giving away free incentives and entitlements…

        …A story a friends "upaces88" Momma told her as a child: The Africans were GIVEN LAND, lumber for a house, land; a cow and a bull; a few chickens and a rooster along with a hog and a sow. The Africans had worked plantations, etc., so I would think they’d know better than to kill “the ROOSTER”, the BULL, etc.
        Can’t have babies without the Male of the two, now can you!
        So? They’d sneak to the other farmers land and steal their livestock!!!! Mind you…the nearest Sheriff was 40 miles away. They would have to get in their “wagon” and travel to him. It might be a month before the Sheriff came around to investigate.
        By then, the evidence had been “eaten.” Well, the farmers got together and made a pact to resolve it once and for all. They worked out some kind of system to watch each other’s land giving them a chance to sleep (don’t ask me how. I was a child..and I am remembering bits and pieces. Long story short. They found out who was stealing their FOOD, their livelihood. They didn’t bother calling the authorities. They hung them then and there.

        …My reply to her was this, Lincoln” thought to take away from the Southern Whites what little they did have and gave it to the blacks, it was a ruse of good will intended to keeping everything damn well stirred up in the South to prevent any healing, as they are doing to this very day with race baiting and the hideous lies about the South and the covering up of their own guilt, nothing has changed for them, it is working as well today for them as it did with Lincoln in 1863, if it's broken, keep it broken, it works well in the long run for their desired end "GREED", and her story fit that truth wonderfully in the manner she spoke of it. Hint Hint, seeing the picture are we today? …When you take what little a man has to feed his family and you threaten to take even more from him, then you are as much threatening them with death as if you were pointing a gun to his children’s head, and hang em they did, and they deserved the dying part of it because of it.

        … Are we that stupid to even try revisiting this era once again…it looks that way?

        • Twiggierjet

          Why do you put atheist and evil together? Just because someone is an atheist does not make them evil.

          • Fair and easy to explain….Lincoln the butcher was both an Atheist and he was evil!!!!
            Paul Newman was an Atheist and a great guy, Lincoln was an Atheist and a monster….

          • BTW—According to the Christian Bible, my faith, Newman won't be cast in hell because he was an Atheist or because he was evil, again he was an exceptional human being.
            He'll be cast into hell because he denied Christ.
            The only difference between a Christian and an Atheist, is the Christian recognizes Christ as their savior, it's their saving grace, there fore YHVH will know and recognize them, if you deny the son, so will the father deny knowing you and will refuse you entry into the kingdom of heaven, that easy, that clear cut, there are evil believers also, but that doesn't mean they'll gain access to heaven either, both the Christian and Atheist are sinful in nature,

            Lincoln will be cast in hell because he denied the son, not because he was an evil murderer…

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