Q&A: What was the August 14th Petition?

Days before the attacks on the Lower Agency, an irrefutable warning was written by the residents of New Ulm and sent to Governor Alexander Ramsey.  The petition was made on August 14, 1862, and signed by forty-seven concerned citizens.  In the petition, the residents advised the Governor that because annuity payments had been delayed, the Dakota “threaten to overwhelm these frontier settlements with Indian warfare.”  They alluded to rumors of corruption in the state’s office of Indian Affairs noting that annuity monies had been “corruptly misapplied,” and they requested that a thorough investigation be made.  All of this led the residents to refer to their situation as one of “eminent danger” and warned of a potential massacre by the Indians.

Attack on New Ulm by Anton Gag

Within just nine days of this petition, New Ulm had been besieged twice, while two signatories had been killed trying to defend themselves against the attacks.  Although this clear warning may have come too late to prevent war, it made it obvious that the U.S. – Dakota War was not a random event.  It was brought about by many years of injustice created by an ineffective treaty system which fostered corruption and neglected its obligations.

Read the August 14 Petition – page 53-54

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Source:

Colin Mustful, A Welcome Tragedy:  Factors that Led to the U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862, (Colin Mustful, 2014).