Andrew Johnson

Proclamation 170—Granting Pardon to All Persons Participating in the Late Rebellion Except Those Under Indictment for Treason or Other Felony

July 04, 1868

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas in the month of July, A. D. 1861, in accepting the condition of civil war which was brought about by insurrection and rebellion in several of the States which constitute the United States, the two Houses of Congress did solemnly declare that that war was not waged on the part of the Government in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor for any purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of the States, but only to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution of the United States and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that so soon as those objects should be accomplished the war on the part of the Government should cease; and

Whereas the President of the United States has heretofore, in the spirit of that declaration and with the view of securing for it ultimate and complete effect, set forth several proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to persons who had been or were concerned in the aforenamed rebellion, which proclamations, however, were attended with prudential reservations and exceptions then deemed necessary and proper, and which proclamations were respectively issued on the 8th day of December, 1863, on the 26th day of March, 1864, on the 29th day of May, 1865, and on the 7th day of September, 1867; and

Whereas the said lamentable civil war has long since altogether ceased, with an acknowledgment by all the States of the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and of the Government thereunder, and there no longer exists any reasonable ground to apprehend a renewal of the said civil war, or any foreign interference, or any unlawful resistance by any portion of the people of any of the States to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and

Whereas it is desirable to reduce the standing army and to bring to a speedy termination military occupation, martial law, military tribunals, abridgment of the freedom of speech and of the press, and suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus and of the right of trial by jury, such encroachments upon our free institutions in time of peace being dangerous to public liberty, incompatible with the individual rights of the citizen, contrary to the genius and spirit of our republican form of government, and exhaustive of the national resources; and

Whereas it is believed that amnesty and pardon will tend to secure a complete and universal establishment and prevalence of municipal law and order in conformity with the Constitution of the United States, and to remove all appearances or presumptions of a retaliatory or vindictive policy on the part of the Government attended by unnecessary disqualifications, pains, penalties, confiscations, and disfranchisements, and, on the contrary, to promote and procure complete fraternal reconciliation among the whole people, with due submission to the Constitution and laws:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do, by virtue of the Constitution and in the name of the people of the United States, hereby proclaim and declare, unconditionally and without reservation, to all and to every person who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late insurrection or rebellion, excepting such person or persons as may be under presentment or indictment in any court of the United States having competent jurisdiction upon a charge of treason or other felony, a full pardon and amnesty for the offense of treason against the United States or of adhering to their enemies during the late civil war, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except also as to any property of which any person may have been legally divested under the laws of the United States.

In testimony whereof I have signed these presents with my hand and have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, the 4th day of July, A. D. 1868, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-third.


By the President:


Secretary of State.

Andrew Johnson, Proclamation 170—Granting Pardon to All Persons Participating in the Late Rebellion Except Those Under Indictment for Treason or Other Felony Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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