Amnesty proclamations.As a consequence of the secession of the Southern States and the war that ensued, four very important amnesty proclamations were issued by Presidents of the United States. The first one was by President Lincoln, Dec. 8, 1863. The text of the proclamation is as follows:
President Lincoln in 1863.Whereas, in and by the Constitution of the United States, it is provided that the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment” ; and whereas a rebellion now exists whereby the loyal State governments of several States have for a long time been subverted, and many persons have committed and are now guilty of treason against the United States; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion and treason, laws have been enacted by Congress declaring forfeitures and confiscation of property and liberation of slaves, all upon terms and conditions therein stated; and also declaring that the President was thereby authorized at any time thereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion, in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such times and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare: and whereas the congressional declaration for limited and conditional pardon accords with well-established judicial exposition of the pardoning power; and whereas, with reference to said rebellion, the President of the United States has issued several proclamations with provisions in regard to the liberation of slaves; and whereas it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States, and to reinaugurate loyal State governments within and for their respective States. Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereinafter excepted, that a full pardon is hereby granted to them. and each of them, with restoration of all rights of property. excepting as to slaves, and in property cases where rights of third parties shall have intervened, and upon the condition that, every such person shall take and subscribe an oath, and thenceforward keep and maintain such oath inviolate; and which oath shall be registered for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:
I, ------, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty Got. 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 acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves, so long and so far as not repealed, modified, or held void by Congress, or by decision of the Supreme Court: and that I will. in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves, so long and so far as not modified or declared void by decision of the Supreme Court. So help me God.The persons excepted from the benefits of the foregoing provisions are: all who are, or shall have been, civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or shall have been, military or naval officers of said so-called Confederate government. above the rank of colonel in the army. or of lieutenant in the navy: all who left seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion all who resigned (commissions in the army or navy of the United States, and afterwards aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known, that whenever, in any of the States of Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida. South Carolina, and North Carolina, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth in number of the votes east in such State at the Presidential election of the year of our Lord 1860, each having taken the oath aforesaid, and not having since violated it, and being a qualified  voter by the election law of the State existing immediately before the so-called act of secession, and excluding all others, shall re-establish a State government which shall be republican, and in nowise contravening said oath, such shall be recognized as the true government of the State, and the State shall receive thereunder the benefits of the constitutional provision which declares that the “United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the legislature, or the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.” And I do further proclaim, declare, and make known that any provision which may be adopted by such State government in relation to the freed people of such State, which shall recognize and declare their permanent freedmen, provide for their education, and which may yet be consistent, as a temporary arrangement, with their present condition as a laboring, landless, and homeless class, will not be objected to by the national executive. And it is suggested as not improper that, in constructing a loyal State government in any State, the name of the State, the boundary, the subdivisions, the constitution, and the general code of laws, as before the rebellion, be maintained, subject only to the modifications made necessary by the conditions hereinbefore stated, and such others, if any, not contravening said conditions, and which may be deemed expedient by those framing the new State government. To avoid misunderstanding, it may be proper to say that this proclamation, so far as it relates to State governments, has no reference to States wherein loyal State governments have all the while been maintained. And for the same reason, it may be proper to further say that whether members sent to Congress from any State shall be admitted to seats, constitutionally rests exclusive with the respective Houses, and not to any extent with the executive. And still further, that this proclamation is intended to present to the people of the States wherein the national authority has been suspended, and loyal State governments have been subverted, a mode in and by which the national authority and loyal State governments may be re-established within said States, or in any of them; and, while the mode presented is the best the executive can suggest, with his present impressions, it must not be understood that no other possible mode would be acceptable. Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 8th day of December, A. D. 1863, and of the independence of the United States of America the eighty-eighth. Abraham Lincoln.
President Johnson in 1865.The second one was issued by President Johnson, under date of May 29, 1865, and was the beginning of the reconstruction measures. The following is the text:
Whereas, the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, 1863, did, with the object of suppressing the existing rebellion, to induce all persons to lay down their arms, to return to their loyalty, and to restore the authority of the United States issue proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to certain persons who had directly or by implication, engaged in said rebellion; and Whereas, many persons who had so engaged in the late rebellion have, since the issuance of said proclamation, failed or neglected to take the benefits offered thereby; and Whereas, many persons who have been justly deprived of all claims to amnesty and pardon thereunder, by reason of their participation directly or by implication in said rebellion, and continued in hostility to the government of the United States since the date of said proclamation, now desire to apply for and obtain amnesty and pardon: To the end, therefore, that the authority of the government of the United States may be restored, and that peace, and order, and freedom may be established, I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do proclaim and declare, that I hereby grant to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the existing rebellion, except as hereafter excepted, amnesty and pardon, with restoration of all rights of property, except as to slaves, except in cases where legal proceedings under the laws of the  United States, providing for the confiscation of property of persons engaged in rebellion, have been instituted, but on the condition, nevertheless, that every such person shall take and subscribe to the following oath, which shall be registered, for permanent preservation, and shall be of the tenor and effect following, to wit:
I,------, do solemnly swear or affirm, in presence of Almighty God. that I will henceforth support, protect, and faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States. and will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God.The following classes of persons are excepted from the benefits of this proclamation: 1. All who are or have been pretended diplomatic officers. or otherwise domestic or foreign agents of the pretended Confederate States. 2. All who left judicial stations under the United States to aid in the rebellion. 3. All who have been military or naval officers of the pretended Confederate government above the rank of colonel in the army, and lieutenant in the navy. 4. All who have left their seats in the Congress of the United States to aid in the rebellion. 5. All who have resigned or tendered the resignation of their commissions in the army and navy of the United States to evade their duty in resisting the rebellion. 6. All who have engaged in any way in treating otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war persons found in the United States service as officers, soldiers, seamen, or in other capacities. 7. All persons who have been or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion. 8. All military or naval officers in the rebel service who were educated by the government in the Military Academy at West Point, or at the United States Naval Academy. 9. All persons who held the pretended offices of governors of the States in insurrection against the United States. 10. All persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction and protection of the United States, and passed beyond the Federal military lines into the so-called Confederate States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion. 11. All persons who have engaged in the destruction of the commerce of the United States upon the high seas, and all persons who have made raids into the United States from (Canada, or been engaged in destroying the commerce of the United States on the lakes and rivers that separate the British provinces from the United States. 12. All persons who, at a time when they seek to obtain the benefits hereof by taking the oath herein prescribed, are in military, naval, or civil confinement or custody, or under bond of the military or naval authorities or agents of the United States as prisoners of any kind, either before or after their conviction. 13. All persons who have voluntarily participated in said rebellion, the estimated value of whose taxable property is over $20,000. 14. All persons who have taken the oath of amnesty as prescribed in the President's proclamation of Dec. 8, 1863, or the oath of allegiance to the United States since the date of said proclamation, and who have not thenceforward kept the same inviolate; provide, that special application may be made to the President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted classes, and such clemency will be extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and dignity of the United States. The Secretary of State will establish rules and regulations for administering and recording the said amnesty oath. so as to insure its benefits to the people, and guard the government against fraud. In testimony whereof. I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this the 29th day of May, 1865, and of the independence of America the 89th. Andrew Johnson.
President Johnson in 1868.In this year President Johnson issue two such proclamations. The first dated July 4. pardoning all persons engaged in the Civil War except those under presentment or indictment in any court of the United  States having competent jurisdiction, was as follows:
Whereas, in the month of July, A. D. 1861, in accepting the conditions 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 the 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 these 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 its ultimate and complete effect, set forth several proclamations, offering amnesty and pardon to persons who had been or were concerned in the aforesaid 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 acknowledged guarantee to all the States of the supremacy of the federal Constitution and 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 freedom of speech and of the press, and suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, and 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 citizens, contrary to the genius and spirits 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, 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 offence 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 fixed. Done at the city of Washington, the fourth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-third. Andrew Johnson.
The second, issued Dec. 25, proclaimed  unconditionally a full pardon and amnesty. It was as follows:
Whereas, the President of the United States has heretofore set forth several proclamations offering amnesty and pardon to persons who had been or were concerned in the late rebellion against the lawful authority of the government of the United States, which proclamations were severally issued on the 8th day of December, 1863, on the 6th day of March, 1864, on the 29th day of May, 1865, on the 7th day of September, 1867, and on the 4th day of July in the present year: and, Whereas, the authority of the federal government having been re-established in all the States and Territories within the jurisdiction of the United States, it is believed that such prudential reservations and exceptions, as at the dates of said several proclamations were deemed necessary and proper, may now be wisely and justly relinquished, and that a universal amnesty and pardon, for participation in said rebellion, extended to all who have borne any part therein, will tend to secure permanent peace, order, and prosperity throughout the land, and to renew and fully restore confidence and fraternal feeling among the whole people, and their respect for and attachment to the national government, designed by its patriotic founders for the general good: Now, therefore, be it known that T, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, by virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Constitution, and in the name of the sovereign people of the United States, do 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, a full pardon and amnesty for the offences of treason against the United States. or of adhering to their enemies during the late Civil War, with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof. 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 twenty-fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninety-third. Andrew Johnson.