The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Jimmy Carter
Restoration of Citizenship Rights to Jefferson F. Davis Statement on Signing S. J. Res. 16 into Law.
October 17, 1978

In posthumously restoring the full rights of citizenship to Jefferson Davis, the Congress officially completes the long process of reconciliation that has reunited our people following the tragic conflict between the States. Earlier, he was specifically exempted form resolutions restoring the rights of other officials in the Confederacy. He had served the United States long and honorably as a soldier, Member of the U.S. House and Senate, and as Secretary of War. General Robert E. Lee's citizenship was restored in 1976. It is fitting that Jefferson Davis should no longer be singled out for punishment.

Our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded. Our people need to turn their attention to the important tasks that still lie before us in establishing those principles for all people.

Citation: Jimmy Carter: "Restoration of Citizenship Rights to Jefferson F. Davis Statement on Signing S. J. Res. 16 into Law. ", October 17, 1978. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29993.
 
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