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Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862
Transcript of Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862
"My Great Father (Lincoln) was to give me money and goods. I know that my Great Father is good and that he wishes only my good, but some of his children are not all as good as him. They are traitors. I was to receive a great quantity of money every year. The money left the hands of my Great Father but in passing from hand to hand, each one taking his part, nothing reached my hand......."
Immediately after the signing of the Treaty the chiefs were asked to sign "a duplicate." What they were really signing was a bogus agreement of debt to be paid to the Indian Traders.
Sibley claimed $145,000 in the "Trader's Papers." 11 years later he would be the commander in charge of putting down the Uprising and capturing the Sioux for execution. Later he would become the first governor of Minnesota and a congressman.
Henry H. Sibley
On December 26, 1862, 38 men of the Santee Sioux were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota for their part in the "Sioux Uprising". President Lincoln made the order in a letter to General Henry H. Sibley. This would become the largest mass execution in the history of North America.
On August 17, 1862, in Acton Township, four young Sioux, after an unsuccessful hunt, came upon some eggs in a hen's nest belonging to settler Robinson Jones. One accused the other,
“You are afraid to take even an egg from a white man, though you are half starved.”
The dares escalated and ended in the death of 3 white men and 2 white women. They would be the first to die in the Sioux Uprising.
". . .and being desirous to pay to our traders .... the sums of money which we acknowledge to be justly due to them, do hereby ... bind ourselves, ... to pay to these individuals ... designated, the sums of money...."
By the summer of 1862 Abraham Lincoln was president, the Union had just suffered a devastating blow in the Peninsular Campaign, General McClellan was demoted to commander of the Army of the Potomac, and the Sioux in Minnesota were starving.
"The paymaster did not come and week after week went by and still he did not come."
There was a shortage of food on the reservations because of the scarcity of game and of drought. It did not help matters that the annuity payment from Washington was late, making the Sioux unable to buy food from the traders. There was also fear among Sioux and traders that the money would not come because of the Civil War. The traders relied on that money by selling the Sioux food at outrageous prices. The warehouses on the Reservations were stocked with food that the Sioux desperately needed.
No Money, No Food
Growing desperate 800 Sioux warriors went to the agency warehouse. Their leader, Chief Little Crow, who had been friends with many of the white settlers, was there to keep order. When he appealed for food, Indian agent, Andrew Myrick would give his reply that would become infamous in Minnesota history;
August 4, 1862
Chief Little Crow
January 1, 1862
“I have discovered numerous violations of law & many frauds committed by past Agents & a superintendent.” Indians “have been defrauded of more than 100 thousand dollars…. "
Lincoln Was Warned
March 6, 1862
“… the neglect and want are fast dooming this people to death, and as sure as there is a God much of the guilt lies at the Nation's door.”
Bishop Whipple was
named "Straight Tongue"
by the Sioux for his honesty
March 24, 1862
“I have commended the matter of which it treats to the special attention of the Secretary of the Interior.”
Lincoln's Reply to
Bishop Whipple's Warning
Little Crow the Reluctant Leader of the Sioux Uprising
Fearing his people would suffer retaliation for the actions of the four young men, Little Crow reluctantly decided to lead his men in war against the whites. But he warned,
“See! The white men are like the locusts when they fly so thick that the whole sky is a snowstorm. Kill one, kill two, kill ten and ten times ten will come to kill you. You are fools. You will die like the rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them….”
After 6 weeks of of brutality on both sides the Sioux had been captured and imprisoned waiting for their a death sentence.
Lincoln Must Deal With the Aftermath
"The following named Indians have been condemned to be hung by the military commission for the massacre of men & women & Brutal violating of women & young Girls in the late Indian outrages in Minn."
General John Pope, banished to Minnesota after his defeat at 2nd Bull Run, informs Lincoln of the fate of 300 Sioux:
Lincoln carefully reviews the charges and exonerates 265 Sioux from hanging. He meticulously writes the names of the 38 who are to be executed "...lest the wrong man be hanged." He sends his orders to Henry Sibley.
"Ordered that of the Indians and Half-breeds sentenced to be hanged by the Military Commission, ..... and lately sitting in Minnesota, you cause to be executed on Friday the nineteenth day of December, instant, the following named,
Lincoln's Orders for the Execution of 38 Dakota
Lincoln the Humanitarian?
“Nothing but the Speedy execution of the tried and convicted Sioux Indians will save us here from Scenes of outrage.”
Alexander Ramsey; Territorial Governor
“The people of this State most of whom had relatives ... thus barbarously murdered & brutally outraged are exasperated to the last degree & if the guilty are not all executed I think it nearly impossible to prevent the indiscriminate Massacre of all the Indians, old men, women & children.”
Gen. John Pope
What if it were your “…wife or a daughter ravished, a son slain, or a child dashed against a stone.”
“I apprehend serious trouble with the people of this state who are much exasperated(sic) against the criminal Indians.”
Gen. John Pope
Nov. 20, 1862, Illinois
"... hundreds if not thousands of lives sacrificed -- the Indians demoralized and degraded and not a single good result attained--
" Henry M. Rice
"All Went Off Quietly"
Treaty of Traverse des Sioux
The Sioux agreed to give up 24 million acres of land in southern Minnesota for annuity payments.
"So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass or their own dung."
Bishop Henry B. Whipple
George E. Day
Commissioner of Indian Affairs
There is no known reply from Lincoln.
"Records of the Interior show that warnings like Day's were sent from all over the United States. Unfortunately, they were so common by 1862 that the government was no more alarmed than the father of the little boy who cried, 'Wolf!'-"
There Had Been Other Warnings
After the Uprising Myrick's body would be found by the warehouse, his mouth stuffed with grass.
Lincoln the Humanitarian Pardons 265 Men Under Extreme Pressure
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union"
Photo taken just before the Uprising
Condemned Sioux men in the Mankato prison.
"Of the 265 Sioux that Lincoln pardoned most were left in prison to die of starvation and disease."
Jon Wiener - Historian
Lincoln "... never ordered the executions of any Confederate officials or generals after the Civil War, even though they killed more than 400,000 Union soldiers."
Jon Wiener - Historian
After the 1864 election Alexander Ramsey informed Lincoln that he lost votes in Minnesota because of the pardon of 265 Sioux. Lincoln's Response;
"I could not afford to hang men for votes."
“If we get through this war, and I live, this Indian system shall be reformed!"
Lincoln's very words, according to Bishop Whipple. He would later vote for McClellan in the 1864 election.
He taught himself law, survived the loss of three children, became the president of the United States, held the Nation together and ended slavery. Is that not enough? How should history judge Lincoln? After the Civil War Lincoln no longer needed to worry about slavery spreading west. Would that have changed his Indian policies? If he had lived, would he have thwarted evil to protect the rights of Native Americans?
Superman or Human?
Thanks fer holdin'
my stuff fellas.....
....now excuse me
while I go save
Exploitation Begins with
The "Trader's Papers"
Little Crow warned his men to kill only men in battle. Women and children were not to be harmed. Some Sioux warriors committed horrible atrocities despite the warning of their leader. Little Crow did what he could to save those who had been his friends.
Settlers Become Victims
Gen. John Pope
“Please forward, as soon as possible, the full and complete record of these convictions.”
Lincoln writes back to Pope:
Lower Sioux Agency
Upper Sioux Agency
Refugees fleeing from the Sioux
In the spring of 1862 Lincoln passes the Homestead Act. 10,000 people applied for land in Minnesota that first year. Lincoln wanted to prevent slavery from spreading west. However with the loss of land Sioux became economic slaves to the U.S. government.
Homestead Act of 1862
"The measures provided… for the removal of certain Indian tribes have been carried into effect. Sundry treaties have been negotiated…. They contain stipulations for
extinguishing the possessory rights of the Indians to large and valuable tracts of lands.
Sound policy and our imperative duty to these wards of the Government demand our anxious and constant
attention to their material well-being……"
Historian Eric Foner states that Lincoln's "aims are mutually contradictory."
Lincoln's 3rd Annual Address to Congress, 1863
"Let Them Eat Grass"
Carrie Zeman, Author, Historian
Lincoln's letter to Greeley, August 22; Five days after the Acton Massacre
Ramsey claimed $75,000 in the Traders' Papers. He was the Territorial Governor of Minnesota. He later become the 2nd governor of the state of Minnesota. He was also a close friend of Lincoln's.