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38 Nooses ~ Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End
A History Book Club Main Selection ~ Winter 2012
A riveting account of the little-known Dakota War of 1862, which culminated in the largest government-sanctioned execution in United States history.
In August 1862, after decades of broken treaties, ever-increasing hardship, and relentless encroachment on their lands, Dakota Indian warriors began a series of devastating attacks on white settlers and soldiers on the Minnesota frontier. After six weeks of intense conflict that left hundreds dead, federal forces quashed the uprising and convened a military commission that found more than 300 Indians guilty of capital crimes. President Lincoln, embroiled in the darkest period of the Civil War, personally intervened to spare the lives of 265 of the condemned men, but still the toll on the Dakota nation was staggering: a way of life destroyed, a tribe forcibly relocated to barren and unfamiliar territory, and 38 Dakota warriors hanged the morning after Christmas.