Monday, August 06, 2007

Johnson, Ford and Robert E. Lee

As part of Reconstruction after the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson gave amnesty and pardon to most Confederates, although certain people were excluded and had to apply for a return to citizenship individually. As one of these “excepted” people, Robert E. Lee submitted just such an application in and wrote to President Johnson to be pardoned and receive his citizenship back. He even signed his Amnesty Oath in 1865 to comply with Johnson’s requirements. Yet President Johnson never pardoned Lee, nor was his citizenship restored in his lifetime and his oath buried and paperwork lost. In 1970, an archivist rediscovered the oath and in 1975 President Ford finally restored Lee’s citizenship!

1 comment:

The Tour Marm said...

Obviously, Robert E. Lee was too much of a gentleman to press the issue.

I wonder how much history would have been altered if it weren't for loss of paperwork and red tape?

By the way, Andrew Johnson freed of slaves on August 8, 1863.