The Lakota Uprising of 1862 is a major event in Minnesota history. Beginning with a spree killing, the Lakota attacked settlers along the Minnesota River and murdered several hundred whites. The Army ultimately put down the rebellion and captured hundreds of Lakota warriors. Ultimately, 38 of them were hanged by order of President Lincoln. This is usually portrayed as a racist act by the white victors, and Lincoln’s role is considered dishonorable. The truth is the opposite: Many more Indians would have been hanged, but Lincoln personally reviewed the transcripts of all of the Indians’ military trials–in the middle of the night, during the darkest days of the Civil War–to ensure that no one would be unjustly punished. He refused to allow any Lakota to be hanged unless he was personally convinced by the trial record that the Indian was guilty of either murder or rape of civilians. No one was allowed to be punished for participating in the rebellion or for killing soldiers. Lincoln named the 38 defendants against whom he thought the evidence was compelling, and directed John Pope, the local military commander, to release the others. Pope responded that if he let the Indians go, the settlers would rise up and attack them. Lincoln directed Pope to do his duty and protect the Indians.
Four years ago, the Trunk and I wrote an article about this episode, defending Lincoln and debunking the politically correct narrative. Today my son, who is a high school sophomore, told me that in his American History class, they studied the 1862 uprising, and his teacher used our article as a counterpoint to the PC account in their textbook. She clearly found our article compelling, and told my son she has been using our article as part of her curriculum for the past four years. So, guys, our efforts are not always in vain.
I’m not aware that our article is available anywhere on the internet, but if I can find it, I’ll link to it.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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