Lincoln and the Dakota War of 1862: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Lincoln Group of D.C. and the United States Capitol Historical Society present:

“Lincoln and the Dakota War of 1862: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

Thursday, November 15, 2012 / Noon to 2PM

Room A-5

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

901 G. Street NW

Washington, DC 20001

(Gallery Place Chinatown or Metro Center stations)

Free and open to the public. Seating limited to 250. No reservations needed.



Paul Finkelman, President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy, Albany Law School

Colette Routel, Assistant Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

Maeve Glass, Ph.D. candidate, Princeton University

One hundred and fifty years ago, during the height of the American Civil War, several bands of the Dakota (Eastern Sioux) raided white farms and settlements in southwestern Minnesota and clashed with militia and U.S. Army detachments. In some of the bloodiest fighting in the Indian wars, some 450 to 800 settlers (many of whom were recent German immigrants) and soldiers were killed. Only around sixty Dakota died in the fighting. Of the four hundred Dakota captured and tried for murder and rape, 303 were sentenced to death. President Lincoln intervened and reviewed the sentences and in the end approved 38. On December 26, 1862, the thirty-eight Dakota were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass execution in American history.

Join us at noon on Thursday, November 15, 1862, in Room A-5 of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library as three scholars examine the Dakota War of 1862. A specialist in American legal history, constitutional law, and race and the law, Professor Paul Finkelman is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles and more than 30 books. His op-eds and shorter pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and on the Huffington Post. Colette Routel spent several years practicing Indian law at Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Until recently, she was associated with the Indian law boutique firm of Jacobson, Buffalo, Magnuson, Anderson & Hogen in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her practice included both litigation and transactional work for Indian tribes, tribal members and businesses. She is currently a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN. Maeve Glass is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, where her research focuses on the relationship between the states and the general government during the Civil War, as examined through the biographies of members of the United States Congress. She is the author of an award winning scholarly article on the reasons why the United States Army convened a military commission in Minnesota during the Dakota War.

Below: A group of Dakota captives, pictured in foreground, were photographed with their guards by a young photographer, Adrian J. Ebell, and printed by Whitney’s Gallery in Saint Paul, MN. (Adrian J. Ebell, “Indian Jail,” in Plains Art Museum, Item #48)

Lincoln and the Dakota War, 1862: A group of Dakota captives