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The coming dark age: The American Indian student group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is protesting a statue of Abraham Lincoln because “he owned slaves” and because there were Indian wars during his administration.
The activist group is now demanding a disclaimer be put up saying Lincoln was complicit in the murder of Native Americans.
Why would they be so angry about Lincoln?
“Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let’s be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men,” said one of the protesters.
For a college student to believe that Lincoln owned slaves is to illustrate an appalling level of ignorance. Moreover, the claim that Lincoln “executed” Indians is to also demonstrate an almost incomprehensible ignorance of the history of the American west. The author at the link gives an accurate though simplified history lesson:
During the war, Minnesota was in a state of chaos due to soldiers abandoning their posts and armies moving east to join the main war effort. On top of that, the Office of Indian Affairs was mired in corruption that was exacerbated by wartime negligence. As a result, money promised to the Sioux tribe in Minnesota in exchange for its land wasn’t coming through, and many of its people starved.
This led to a bloody uprising called the “Dakota War,” which the U.S. government eventually put down.
Over 300 Sioux were sentenced to death for connection to the rebellion. Lincoln saw this as extreme, however, and pardoned all but 38 of the alleged perpetrators, whom he believed were guilty of the worst crimes such as rape and murder.
It was the largest mass hanging in American history, but it could have been much worse if not for Lincoln’s compassion. He believed that the Sioux were getting a raw deal, but needed to ensure peace on America’s borders in a time when the future of the United States was seriously in question.