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Letters
Abraham Lincoln & Mass Execution of American Indians
By Simon < simplesimon91@hotmail.com>
Feb 12, 2009, 2:53pm

From Transform Columbus Day News - tcd-news-owner@yahoogroups.com

Today, as it is his 200th birthday, I thought I'd share a very interesting fact that not many people are aware of, but, incontrovertibly, is quite noteworthy.

In 1862, the same year Lincoln ratified his Emancipation Proclamation, freeing Africa-American slaves from servitude and, in doing so, proclaiming their humanity before the north and, of course, the south, Abraham Lincoln set a record:

President Abraham Lincoln holds the record for the largest mass execution of people in American history -- 38 American Indians in a single day. The indigenous men met their fate at the gallows at the behest of Lincoln.

No other president holds that record. Some laud him for vindicating the other 264 American Indians of the originally 303 convicted for "murder and other outrages" in a Minnesota uprising. Nevertheless, 38 American Indians were sentenced to the gallows for rebelling against the tyranny inflicted upon them at the hands of the U.S. government and European settlers desiring more western land.

Below are a few links if you're interested in reading some objective, and subjective, literature on the event:

(I will confess I do not entirely agree with this Irish times author found in the link below, as he is attempting to, for all practical reasons, absolve Lincoln for his order. Still, the author does remark some objective things that are empirically true):

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0210/1233867928984.html

From the American Indian view point:

http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/hanging.html

A macabre image of the hanging of 38 Dakota Indians on Dec. 16, 1862:

http://campus.lakeforest.edu/~ebner/mackiag/lincoln.html


With one last-minute pardon, 38 Indians were executed at Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862. Image from The Dakota Conflict Trials of 1862. (From site above!)

In all, and as I feel, Abraham Lincoln is a study in contradictions; for in the same year he proclaimed the humanity and rights of one grossly mistreated and neglected race, he lent his voice and hand in the continued and fervent persecution of another -- the American Indian.

I hope this made you think today, the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

-Simon

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