September 7, 1867: Proclamation Restoring All Rights to Rebellion Participants
By the President of the United States of America
Whereas in the month of July, A. D. 1861, the two Houses of Congress, with extraordinary unanimity, solemnly declared that the war then existing was not waged on the part of the Government in any spirit of oppression nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of the States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired, and that as soon as these objects should be accomplished the war ought to cease; and
Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, A. D. 1863, and on the 26th day of March, A. D. 1864, did, with the objects of suppressing the then existing rebellion, of inducing all persons to return to their loyalty, and of restoring the authority of the United States, issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as in those proclamations was specified and reserved; and
Whereas the President of the United States did on the 29th day of May, A. D. 1865, issue a further proclamation, with the same objects before mentioned, and to the end that the authority of the Government of the United States might be restored and that peace, order, and freedom might be established, and the President did by the said last-mentioned proclamation proclaim and declare that he thereby granted to all persons who had, directly or indirectly, participated in the then existing rebellion, except as therein excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, and except in certain cases where legal proceedings had been instituted, but upon condition that such persons should take and subscribe an oath therein prescribed, which oath should be registered for permanent preservation; and
Whereas in and by the said last-mentioned proclamation of the 29th day of May, A. D. 1865, fourteen extensive classes of persons therein specially described were altogether excepted and excluded from the benefits thereof; and
Whereas the President of the United States did, on the 2d day of April, A. D. 1866, issue a proclamation declaring that the insurrection was at an end and was thenceforth to be so regarded; and
Whereas there now exists no organized armed resistance of misguided citizens or others to the authority of the United States in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas, and the laws can be sustained and enforced therein by the proper civil authority, State or Federal, and the people of said States are well and loyally disposed, and have conformed, or, if permitted to do so, will conform in their legislation to the condition of affairs growing out of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States prohibiting slavery within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States; and
Whereas there no longer exists any reasonable ground to apprehend within the States which were involved in the late rebellion any renewal thereof or any unlawful resistance by the people of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and
Whereas large standing armies, military occupation, martial law, military tribunals, and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury are in time of peace dangerous to public liberty, incompatible with the individual rights of the citizen, contrary to the genius and spirit of our free institutions, and exhaustive of the national resources, and ought not, therefore, to be sanctioned or allowed except in cases of actual necessity for repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection or rebellion; and
Whereas a retaliatory or vindictive policy, attended by unnecessary disqualifications, pains, penalties, confiscations, and disfranchisements, now, as always, could only tend to hinder reconciliation among the people and national restoration, while it must seriously embarrass, obstruct, and repress popular energies and national industry and enterprise; and
Whereas for these reasons it is now deemed essential to the public welfare and to the more perfect restoration of constitutional law and order that the said last-mentioned proclamation so as aforesaid issued on the 29th day of May, A. D. 1865, should be modified, and that the full and beneficent pardon conceded thereby should be opened and further extended to a large number of the persons who by its aforesaid exceptions have been hitherto excluded from Executive clemency:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare that the full pardon described in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, A. D. 1865, shall henceforth be opened and extended to all persons who, directly or indirectly, participated in the late rebellion, with the restoration of all privileges, immunities, and rights of property, except as to property with regard to slaves, and except in cases of legal proceedings under the laws of the United States; but upon this condition, nevertheless, that every such person who shall seek to avail himself of this proclamation shall take and subscribe the following oath and shall cause the same to be registered for permanent preservation in the same manner and with the same effect as with the oath prescribed in the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:
I,_________, do solemnly swear (or affirm ), in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the late rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.
The following persons, and no others, are excluded from the benefits of this proclamation and of the said proclamation of the 29th day of May, 1865, namely:
First. The chief or pretended chief executive officers, including the President, the Vice-President, and all heads of departments of the pretended Confederate or rebel government, and all who were agents thereof in foreign states and countries, and all who held or pretended to hold in the service of the said pretended Confederate government a military rank or title above the grade of brigadier-general or naval rank or title above that of captain, and all who were or pretended to be governors of States while maintaining, aiding, abetting, or submitting to and acquiescing in the rebellion.
Second. All persons who in any way treated otherwise than as lawful prisoners of war persons who in any capacity were employed or engaged in the military or naval service of the United States.
Third. All persons who at the time they may seek to obtain the benefits of this proclamation are actually in civil, military, or naval confinement or custody, or legally held to bail, either before or after conviction, and all persons who were engaged, directly or indirectly, in the assassination of the late President of the United States or in any plot or conspiracy in any manner therewith connected.
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 7th day of September, A. D. 1867, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-second.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.