History: December 25, 1868: President Johnson Pardons all Confederate Veterans

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A Brief History

On December 25, 1868, much maligned and embattled President of the United States Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederate veterans of the US Civil War.

Digging Deeper

A Southerner himself, Johnson had been born in North Carolina and lived in Tennessee where he served as Governor and US Senator before becoming Abraham Lincoln’s vice-president in the 1864 election.  When Lincoln was killed and Johnson assumed the presidency in 1865, the Civil War was now over and Johnson was eager to get the South back into normal operation, allowing the former Confederate States to hold elections and re-form their governments.

The Republican congress took exception to this, and imposed harsh “reconstruction” laws on the former Confederate states, enabling African-Americans to hold public office much to the chagrin of White Southerners.

Clashes with congress resulted in Johnson becoming the first US president to be impeached in 1867, but he avoided conviction and remained in office, allowing him the opportunity to issue his pardon of former Confederate soldiers  and other Confederate office holders, including Confederate President Jeff Davis and even Dr. Samuel Mudd (the guy convicted of helping John Wilkes Booth escape) shortly before leaving office.

Presidential pardons are often made right before leaving office and are just as often controversial.  What do you think about Johnson issuing the blanket pardon for former Confederates?  Did this act of leniency help heal the country?  Did the pardon hurt the country?  Let us know what you think.

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.

  • Danielle B

    I suppose I don’t really know enough information to say whether Johnson’s pardon helped or healed our country. I do think that Samuel Mudd should not have been pardoned considering he helped the man who assassinated President Lincoln. As Lincoln’s Vice President, I believe that was wrong of Johnson.

  • Meghan R

    I think Johnson just wanted a quick repair for the nation and did what he thought would be best. I feel like since he was from the South he was all for pardoning his former people. Samuel Mudd should have been punished and not pardoned because of his involvement with John Wilkes Booth.

  • Brett N

    I am not sure weather the pardon helped or didn’t help the country. I do not like the idea that Mudd was pardoned because he assassinated one of the greatest leaders of our country. I don’t think Johnson did a very good job when he was put into the presidents role.

  • Emmaline K

    I think Johnson attempted to do what was easiest in an attempt to restore the unity of the country. Whether this worked, or didn’t work, is subject to personal opinion. I do not understand why this pardon included Samuel Mudd, someone who doesn’t seem worthy of a pardon, but I am not informed enough to make an educated statement.

  • Amber Moore

    I think forgiveness is a powerful thing and could be utilized for the best in a few political situations. Johnson did the best thing he could for the country when he pardoned the Confederates. Otherwise, the Northerners could have developed a rogue organization dedicated to taking out the war criminals. He relieved the South of guilt and helped them to get back on their feet. It would be up to them to learn from their past.

  • KC

    I think Johnson did the right thing with pardoning the Confederate soldiers.

  • Madeline Bowen

    Since Samuel helped assassinate Lincoln he should not have been pardoned. I believe that Johnson had the right plan in mind when he wanted to make the country stronger.

  • Sarah G

    I think Johnson did the right thing with the Confederates but not when he released Mudd. It was a good start when they allowed African Americans the right to run for office.

  • Diana N

    I think Johnson was just trying to mend the union back together. He tried to leave it in better condition than how he received it as president. I’m not too sure if it worked out the way he wanted it to.

  • Ahmed Alnassar

    this was interesting. i think what he did as president probably helped to reunite the north and south.

  • Raquel F

    I think that Johnson issuing the blanket pardon for former Confederates was wrong. I don’t think this act of leniency helped heal the country. If anything the pardon hurt the country because Confederate President Jeff Davis and Dr. Samuel Mudd didn’t get charged.

  • Morgan

    I believe Johnson knew what he was doing and had a well thought out plan.

  • Nicole Z

    I think the pardon was wrong because Mudd and Davis didn’t get charged. But I do feel like he was trying to do the right thing.

  • Austin Miko

    This was a very interesting article, and I think Johnson was trying to do the right thing, and anyone else in his position would have done the same.

  • Amber Pope

    Johnson knew that it was impossible to charge all of the Confederates, and I think he tried to do the right thing. That being said, I do not think everyone should have been pardoned, especially not Davis and Mudd.

  • Melody Ortiz

    good artile but I could not be final on the decision if Jonhnson pardon helped heal or hurt our country. It is definitely something I would enjoy researching about.

  • Andrew R

    I thought this was an interesting article. Johnson was just doing what he felt was right. Can’t ask for much more than that.

  • Erika Grumbach

    I think Johnson was doing the best he could do. I think he was just trying to put the country back together again.

  • Sabrina Peelman

    I do not think President Johnson meant any harm by issuing the pardon.

  • Colton M

    I think Johnson was a corrupt man and never deserved to be president.

  • Casey Holtmann

    I think that the pardon was perfectly okay. he was just trying to unify the nation. Although i think Mudd should still have been charged

  • Brandon

    President Johnson definitely made the right decision. They deserved the pardon, bring the nation back together

  • JW

    I find it interesting that Presidential pardons are often made right before leaving office. I guess they don’t really have anything to lose at that point.

  • Claire Fraser

    I think by President Johnson pardoning the Confederate soldiers, he was just trying to bring a country that was just divided together. It was a tense time in American history and he was probably just trying to unify every body.

  • Mikayla Hutchings

    I think President Johnson did the right thing by pardoning all confederate veterans. His goal was to restore the country and unite the North and South. I do not think he meant any harm.

  • Mike Andelbradt

    It is a hard question to answer because I do not know his motivation. On one hand he could be giving a slap to the North by saying all these people are ok for what they did. On the other hand, he could have been trying to unite the nation by saying that no matter what happened we are all one country and we have to move forward.

  • Dana Roman

    I think that President Johnson pardoning the Confederates was his way of attempting to unite the country since his aim was to get the South back to normal operation. Many people did not see it that way and therefore attempted to impeach him.

  • Daniel Cora

    Because it was right before impeachment, the pardon Johnson gave could have been a way of getting back at congress. Nevertheless, I think the action probably helped bring the Confederate states back into the United States instead of keeping them angry and in prison, possibly to revolt again.

  • Ellen Liebenguth

    I think that the reason he did it was to bring them together and to make the Southerners feel like they were still citizens of the United States. The Civil War was over, but I still think that in the hearts and minds of those that fought, there was still a separation. I think he did it as a way of mending the fence. It could have also been for more selfish purposes, such as trying to prevent any other kind of Southern rebellion. Honestly, we can only speculate.

  • Matt E.

    I believe it was a wise decision to pardon the Confederate veterans in order to unify the country.

    The confederates needed to be able to return to their lives, otherwise the south would deteriorate into nothing more than a dead limb still attached to our nation. That would not be good for anyone.

  • Alexander Correa

    President Johnson meant no harm in issuing the pardon for the Confederate soldiers, at the time it may have been seen as harmful but like everyone else said it should have been seen as an opportunity to unite as a nation.

  • Lauren Synek

    The pardon, even if controversial at the time, was meant to bring the country together after the war was over. When the war ended the US needed to be bonded again as a whole and Johnson was doing that for us.

  • Matt Grazia

    I think pardoning the Confederate veterans was the right decision. It was supposed to bring the country together during these times. I think he was trying to do one last good thing before leaving office.

  • Maria Ndini

    I do not know if Johnson’s pardon actually hurt or healed the country. I do believe, however, that his intentions were good and he meant no harm for anyone. I think his vision was to bring the country together and I believe he did the right thing by pardoning the Confederates.

  • Morgan price

    Johnsons parden helped heal the country. The United States was already divided and had just been through an enormous amount of loss and pain. In order to heal and become one country United it was absolutely necessary to start on a good note. Pardoning the confederate officers shows that the states were ready to move forward and begin to heal. Johnson probably recognized that the people of America had suffered enough.

  • Amanda Lopuchovsky

    Johnson pardoning Confederate veterans probably helped the country. Enforcing harsh punishments only one part of a nation is a recipe for disaster, especially if they have just had their spirits crushed. To maintain peace and to promote unity, Johnson did the right thing.

  • Nicholas Mog

    Of course pardoning the Confederate veterans was essential in reuniting the North and the South. Johnson had no choice but to pardon these men. However, I do not think that Davis or Mudd should have been pardoned because they were high ranking officials during the war. Mudd helped Booth escape, so I do not think that he should have been pardoned by Johnson.

  • Frank F.

    President Johnson almost getting impeached is very interesting and was great that he did not. Not impeaching Johnson made it possible for President Barack Obama to become president. Johnson allowed African Americans to hold public office positions.

  • Mark Baniewicz

    I was unaware that President Johnson was impeached but never convicted and remained in office. I can understand why the white southerners were upset about African Americans being able to hold public office because this was such a radical idea due to the blacks just recently being freed from slavery. President Johnson did the right thing and took a step towards racial equality in doing so.

  • Hannah Grazia

    The pardon of the Confederate soldiers made by Johnson was meant to help the country and bring it back together. I think Johnson’s intentions were good and were meant to help the country, but many had taken it the wrong way and thought otherwise. I never knew the history of President Johnson, but am glad he took a step towards equality and tried bringing our country back together as a whole.

  • Alexandra

    I’ve noticed that towards the end of a presidents final term, his true colors tend to come out and one of the ways they’re shown is through the presidents pardons. I’ve always thought this was an intriguing concept, but one I agree with as an exercise of presidential power.

  • Christina Hickey

    Johnson was very excited to hold office and make changes but shortly after he was kicked out of office. This is an ironic twist.

  • Peyton Elliott

    I never knew a whole lot about President Johnson and his presidency, but it is good to know that he tried to make a step closer to equality for all. Disappointing so many took it the wrong way.

  • Joshua Dzurko

    I am sure President Johnson’s pardon was beneficial to the country in the long run. While a lot of people were mad in the present, and rightly so, it was a huge step in unifying the country and moving past the awful Civil War. Nothing hurts a country’s progress more than divisiveness.

  • Robert Kratman

    To answer a question posed, I believe the pardon of confederate soldiers was a necessary step towards the healing of a country. Many of the soldiers were made to fight because they simply lived in one of the southern states.

  • Sarah

    The pardon by Jackson was to alleviate and heal the country. I believe this was done for very good reasons, to initiate no more hate and a sense of relief or restart.

  • Erin Kochan

    The blanket pardon, at the time, created some havoc and worry amongst people. As we see time go on it may have been a beneficial step in calming those extreme emotions of hate of others.

  • Nikos Nacopoulos

    For the most part the pardon was necessary and appropriate. It was important to reintegrate the southern states into the Union. Many Confederate soldiers were just acting on orders so pardoning them was easy. I am only surprised that Mudd was pardoned.

  • Justin Puccetti

    I think that it was helpful for the pardon to be issues to the Southerners. While it was difficult to bring these people back into the country, it was an important step in the healing process after the war was over. I think it made great strides in helping the North forgive the South.

  • Brandon Simpson

    I felt his reasoning was for the good of the country and it is unfortunate that some took his ideas the wrong way.

  • joe leary

    I believe his actions were for the good of the country and he only had good intentions.

  • MP

    I believe that he had good potential and that he had good intentions towards him helping our country.

  • CM

    I did not know that president Johnson almost got impeached but he avoided it.

  • SR

    I think it’s weird that Johnson was almost impeached, he shouldn’t of been able to avoid it

  • MM

    I also think it was strange that Johnson was almost impeached. I don’t think he should have been able to get away with it. Aside from that, I would think it would be very hard to reconstruct a country with such a stubborn and unwilling president.

  • MT

    It is very strange that Johnson would make a dramatic pardon like that right after he narrowly escaped complete impeachment.

  • Tim Burris

    Johnson being from the south the men he pardoned were from his home even though he didn’t share the same view as the men who fought with the south he still had some what of a bias towards the men and i believe it did help put the country back together

  • GF

    “Clashes with congress resulted in Johnson becoming the first US president to be impeached in 1867, but he avoided conviction and remained in office….” I would have never known this piece of information if i had not read this article.

  • CL

    Being as Johnson held opposing views to the men who fought with the south, his pardons towards them helped put the country back on its feet after the war.

  • BS

    Though it is frustrating that many Confederates were pardoned, I believe it did help put the country back together faster than if each soldier had been individually tried.

  • Kody

    It may be true that pardoning many Confederates was frustrating to many Americans, I do believe that it helped the economy and the country come back together.

  • TC

    I feel like Johnson pardoning so many confederates, although very controversial and probably frustrating for many people, did in the end help the country come together after the Civil War

  • Michaela Ping

    It was probably for the best that Johnson pardoned people. The punishments had to be stopped somewhere, although I would not be one to say exactly where it should or should not have stopped.

  • EK

    I do not necessarily agree with the choice Johnson made but in the end I agree that it helped shaped our country in a better form.

  • mason saunders

    I think he only did this with the hopes that they will help secure his election

  • JO

    President Johnson didn’t agree with most of Abrahams choices in fact he was very racist.

  • AA

    Even with the rise of the KKK in this time period and other resentments the Confederates had for the North, I think the blanket pardon did help at least a little. It could’ve gone worse, right?

  • VV

    I think that he pardoned so many people it helped the economy after the war.

  • MM

    I don’t exactly agree with what he did, but I do believe it helped bring the country back together after the Civil War.

  • Allison Lester

    I believe that he made too many pardons that resulted in him getting away with too many actions, therefore when others realized he was nearly impeached. Regardless of his pardons, I do respect Johnson’s efforts to re-form the south back into order. -Allison Lester

  • AM

    I think this probably helped unite the north and the south. Which was needed at the time.

  • Reilly

    I can see the idea, its hard to have differing thoughts than the majority of your community, therefore resulting in some confederate soldiers to just conform- but to be of high ranks, you probably really believe the cause youre fighting for.

  • Paula Wollenslegel

    I think the pardon was necessary. The South are not bad people they are part of our country and for us to show them a pardon was needed. I think they should of been more gracious towards that pardon considering we could have done so much worst.

  • Kelynn Heckman

    I think it was the best option Johnson had with reuniting the North and South

  • David Birkbeck

    The reunion was good but letting them all off with pardons was not.

  • Kayla Fox

    Seems like there are some sketchy things that go on in government and in the white house, not just in this generation but many generations ago as well. Although I do not agree with what he did, the outcome was great, a reunited country!

  • Samantha Didion

    It almost seems as though he only pardoned the soldiers and stuff because he knew he wouldn’t be president for much longer

  • JT Siurek

    In a way I can see what he was trying to do. He was trying to bring the country past the civil war and into the next phase of life without having the war be apart of the lives of many for years to come. As we look back on this, it may not have been the greatest decision to be made at the time.

  • SG

    In the eyes of the South the pardon was a great thing but the North probably saw it as the South can get away with anything.

  • Abeer

    Why get angry whites than blacks for taking positions Beks The president did the right thing

  • lm

    i feel like Johnson made a good choice and anyone else would have done the same thing

  • Jacob Oswalt

    I did not know that it was so long ago that Johnson had been impeached.

  • Nic V

    I have never realized that Johnson was almost impeached. Although this was going on I feel he had the best intentions throughout end of his term.

  • Katelyn Sowers

    I think its a good thing Johnson put these pardons into place, I think in order to move on especially from something as largely impacted as the civil war you are going need change, rather some believe it be good change or bad change.

  • Lori Caudill

    His pardons almost seem to be a retaliation against the Republican congress for the push back he received when attempting to rebuild the South.

  • Lydia Ott

    The Confederate states definitely needed to reconstruct their government to make African Americans viewed more as people instead of slaves. This reformation may give them rights that every human being deserves.

  • Audrey Manahan

    I am not surprised that Johnson was the first president impeached after reading this article. After the Civil War had ended and all those lives were lost it would have been a horrible waste to return to slavery and the was of the confederation.

  • Elizabeth Bon

    I believe some of the reconstructions needed some guidelines as imposed on the south by the Republicans but probably not too harsh because the south needed to move forward and begin to rebuild. I do feel it was a good move to allow African Americans to begin to take part in politics as well. To pardon everyone even Davis may have been going a little too far though. He really should have been punished for his involvement with Lincolns murder.

  • Jennifer Maurer

    I think this is an example of why checks and balances in government are essential. A presidential pardon may have been able to take effect but Johnson should have utilized some trusted cabinet members/advisors to make it a little less of a “blanket pardon”. Turning it over to congress may have resulted in a deadlock, though, so it may have been a “lose-lose” situation for Johnson.

  • Natalie antonio

    When I read this article I thought of the system of checks and balance in the government. I think that it is a great tool to utilize. A presidental pardon could have made an effect on the people.

  • Brandon Wagner

    Pardoning Confederate solders and leaders was a way to bring the country back together. President Johnson was doing good by releasing them from prison.

  • Ben McClay

    I think the fact that Johnson was the first president to become impeached shows a lot of bad decisions on his part. There have been seldom to few presidents in our country getting impeached, therefore I believe that this is a really big deal.

  • Shannon Read

    I agree with Brandon, that it was a way to bring the country back together. However I can also see how by him being the first president to be impeached shows that he also did bad. The fact that he is impeached says a lot because not many presidents are impeached when in office.

  • Shuling He

    I think Johnson’s pardon was necessary at that time. It can help the economy.

  • Kala Strong

    I believe that Johnson took the steps necessary for the time period and situations that he was facing. The impeachment could prove the disapproval of the country.

  • Jingshan Jiang

    I am agree with Kala’s viewpoint. It was necessary that Johnson took the steps at that time. But, I would say that he was also a presidency as a failure.

  • Diana Minich

    I do not think a blanket pardon was a good idea. President Johnson should have looked at each person’s crimes and then decide on an individual basis. I am amazed he pardoned Dr. Mudd knowing he helped Booth escape after killing Lincoln.

  • Rose Jepson

    I agree with Lori in that it seemed like the pardons were Johnson’s way of retaliation against the Republicans since they were pushing against Johnson’s idea of reforming the South. There was obviously disagreement among the people if he was impeached.

  • Jordin Vidmar

    In a way, I sort of agree that Johnson was at least trying to make an effort by the pardons.

  • Dakota Zimmerman

    This pardon was much needed and I agree of President Johnson for giving it. They fought for what they believed was right.

  • Taylor Young

    At the time, I think Johnson only meant good by the pardons but I do not think it is fair at all.

  • Alyssa Hanes

    I don’t agree with the idea of a blanket pardon. Although I think that Johnson had good intentions, I feel that he could have come up with something better and more beneficial. It may have been a way to bring the country together again, but I feel that it could have been done in a more effective manor.

  • Daina Thomas

    Johnson may have had good intentions with the pardons, but I’m not sure if it was a decision I personally would have made.

  • Keagan Frey

    I can understand the pardon of veterans of the confederacy maybe ten or so years after the end of the war but not after only 3 years.

  • Lessie Parish

    I think that Johnson did what he thought was right but I am not sure or not if it was the right decision or not. I think Johnson was just trying to avoid conflict.

  • Kristin Fellure

    It is nice that Johnson pardoned the confederate veterans. I believe that maybe his southern roots influenced his decision to do this. I think he made the decision a little soon, but i understand that he wanted to put the war in the past.

  • Breanna Beckley

    I think that Johnson was doing what he thought was best when he pardoned the confederate veterans.

  • Azia

    I do not agree with Johnson’s decision but he probably had his reasons.

  • Michaela Ping

    I think he was trying to avoid more violence after the bloody war.

  • Travis Tarnowski

    Johnson did what he thought was the right thing to do. I believe that by doing this is did not allow for many of them to individually try to ask for pardon. It helped our country grow together faster.

  • Hunter Music

    I think that a large part of history and growing as an individual is forgiveness. I think Johnson knew in order to grow the nation that people needed to stop labeling one another as different. If we expected the slaves to be introduced into society without a label then we needed to remove the labels from the white men as well.

  • Alexis Dykes

    I think that Johnson was doing what he saw to be right in order to avoid further violence and hatred. This obviously was not favored by many in the country when his impeachment was sought out.

  • Dan Sumpter

    Johnson did a good thing for the states when he granted that pardon. These soldiers were common people, family people and farmers who fought for land and freedoms. Many of them were not trained and still fought. The pardon was a step in the right direction. Today, presidential pardons are different and they tend to release criminals who were convicted.

  • Cara Zang

    I do like how he offered a blanket pardon for the Confederates as they were fighting for their “country” that they believed in. Even though the Confederates lost to the Union they still risked their lives for the greater good. I do not like how they mention that Johnson almost in spite pardoned others who probably didn’t deserve it. A President should not abuse their power or do something to make others upset in any way even before they leave office.

  • Luke Lyden

    I don’t think it would help the country at all. I am a person who believes in justice though. If someone does something wrong or commits a crime they should face consequences for that action.

  • Kay McCargish

    I cannot say I agree with the blanket pardon. Many of those imprisoned were fighting to keep slavery. I think that each prisoner should have been looked at on an individual basis. Johnson allowed Samuel Mudd pardoned, which is utterly reprehensible!

  • Shannon Smith

    Upon doing a little extra digging, it seems that Johnson made the decision to pardon the confederate veterans in a last effort to promote peace in the country and regain unity.

    • Chelsey Stillings

      do you think that it helped though?

  • Jason

    I think it was completely wrong what Johnson did. It was obvious he was playing the biased card in regards to not prosecuting the Southern soldiers. I believe if he would have it would have sent a strong message to anyone who was not loyal to the North and against the “reconstruction”.

  • Dan Fidoe

    Somebody has to give everyone a clean slate to begin the reconstruction. It was a solid move and allowed the country to move forward rather than staying embattled.

  • Kacey Kovac

    I feel like Johnson’s blanket pardon can be justified on both sides of the argument. On one end, I believe that it makes sense that Johnson gave the pardon because it was a last-stitch effort in order to “reconstruct” the country after war; but on the other end of the argument, I believe it was wrong because the Confederate soldiers fought to suppress African-Americans from being considered equal citizens to Caucasian people, which I believe doesn’t deserve reward.

  • Jared A. Hutt

    I think Johnson was justified in issuing the pardon in cases of soldiers and lower level officials that were simply following orders. I think he may have overreached a bit in pardoning the leaders and the individuals that issued the orders. Overall, I think this act demonstrated that we are all still Americans and helped more than it hurt.

  • Jeffrey Keenan

    I personally believe that president Johnson had good intensions when pardoning the southern veterans. Being that president Johnson was from the south, I’m sure that he had a strong desire to help re-form the southern states. I believe that this pardon helped the country by providing the south with a chance to start over and put the war behind. However, I also believe that African-Americans should have always had the same rights and privileges as white people and I find it disappointing to read of such racism that occurred in the past. Interesting to know that Johnson was the first president to get impeached.

  • Nakia Bridges

    I believe that Johnson had good intentions on trying to get the South back to normal operations. It was a chance in his eyes I believe at giving the former Confederate States a chance at a clean start and leaving the war behind them.

  • Jeremiah Linden

    Although Andrew Johnson was not for the same admirations as Abraham Lincoln, I do believe that he pardoned the Confederate soldier to bring unity among the U.S. citizens. It brought suspicion when Andrew Johnson had such close ties with Jeff Davis. Was there a conspiracy created?

  • Shaun Emerick

    Ultimately I think the pardon helped heal the country. With so much tension and residual feelings left over from a still recent civil war I think those in congress still were out to punish the south. Andrew Johnson’s pardon gave southerns a break and even some hope in the mindset that they would not always be “hunted” for what they did. I think it also helped the north take a step back and realize that maybe the south had been punished enough. I don’t think Johnson deserved the impeachment since he was a man who was hoping to bring some peace in a time of anger and painful memories.

  • Christie Benton

    I think the presidential pardon did help heal the United States. I think many of the soldiers during the Civil War were simply a product of their geographical location, and by pardoning them it closed the wound left by the war.

  • John Milton

    I do believe that when Johnson pardoned the Confederate veterans, it showed the nation that a nation can work as one and the trust was there that the right track for the country should be followed.

  • Juan Rodriguez

    I do believe that when President Johnson pardoned the Confederate veterans, it showed the south that it can be forgiven for their actions and still be part of U.S. I also think it allow everyone to start forgiving each other for civil war and start working to together, because during the civil war their were a lots of families that had to choose sides and that broke up a lot of families. The war would sometimes put brother against brother, and was time for the country has a whole to heal. I am a soldier and I have been in combat, where I agree or not with the war, I follow orders because that is my job. Even back then soldiers were doing what they were told regardless of there opinion about the Civil War, so by giving them a pardoned it allows them to move on with their lives.

  • Michelle Ross

    I believe that it was very hard for the families back then to go through the war because they could have had to fight their own family members. After the pardon from President Johnson, people could start to forgive others for what was going on during that time. It started the healing process for our country.

  • Sarah Marie Sykes

    Pardoning the Confederate veterans was the only way to begin to put a nation divided back together again. This was an important and necessary move at the time.

  • jared good

    Im not much into history but i think if he didn’t pardon them who knows what our country would be right now. We could in worse shape so I think it helped. I think it probably was a tough decision to do that to our country.

  • Misty Prosser

    I feel by giving the blanket pardon he helped close the divide and bring the country back together. Who knows what this country would have been without him doing this.

  • Autum Grandstaff

    Johnson provided a “reset” button to our country. If he wouldn’t have granted the pardon, all of the handwork and growth that Lincoln achieved for the United States.

  • Angela Kessinger

    I think that Johnson pardoned the Confederates he felt that he was bringing the country back together and he was doing a good thing. It is acts like this that shows why there should be a group of people making such a large decision. This is an example of why something as large as our US Government and as small as a mom and pop business should always have a form of checks and balances to hold every action and decision accountable.

  • Sean Merritt

    By pardoning the Confederates, Johnson brought our divided country back together. This decision was a good choice and I can only imagine where we would be if Johnson never made this choice.

  • Rose Sexton

    I think it was necessary to pardon the Confederates. Otherwise we may have seen some lasting resentment that resurfaced such as we saw with World War I and World War II with the German people. They were given a huge financial burden to repay costs from the war and were much maligned. This led to a resurgence of nationalism behind Adolph Hitler. As it is I am still called Yankee by some of my Southern friends.

  • Kyle Gelenius

    I believe what President Johnson did by pardoning the Confederate veterans was necessary for our Nation to heal and move on from the Civil War. As the article said, “Johnson was eager to get the South back into normal operation, allowing the former Confederate States to hold elections and re-form their governments.” It would not have done the Country any good to continue punish the Confederates. President Gerald Ford did something similar when he pardoned Richard Nixon, after he resigned over the Watergate scandal. It allowed the Country to move on. I believe what President Johnson did took a lot of courage, particularly given the circumstances at the time. I did not know and was interested to learn that President Johnson’s pardon was only after avoiding conviction on his impeachment. I wonder if he were convicted and removed from office if the next President would have done the same thing.

  • Adrian Lewers

    The pardon was like a second chance. I am a firm believer of second chances. I agree with Kyle who thinks it was necessary for the country to heal and move forward after the civil war. I was shocked to read that African Americans were allowed to hold office. That wasn’t a bad thing only sad that it took more than a century after that time for them to establish equal rights.

  • Tiffany

    It is a shame that such clashes got Johnson the boot from the office. What he did, saved the country and helped continue what Lincoln started. If he wouldn’t have issued that pardon, who knows what would have happened years later. I was surprised to know that African Americans were able to hold office at that time.

  • Jessica Kessinger

    I feel Johnson did what he thought needed to be done by issuing the pardon to mend the broken pieces. I feel he wanted unity again and he knew he was going to get it if he issued the pardon. After issuing the pardon and the nation began to come together again it showed them what it was like to live as one civilization again instead of two.

  • Robin Crandel

    Johnson acted in a way that he felt would help America or his cause, I cannot firmly state the correct one.

  • james tomassetti

    Johnson was taking the most logical course of action to bring the country back together, it is one of the more iconic actions of this country’s presidential history and had a forever lasting affect

  • Michelle

    Before his blanket pardon, high ranking Confederate veterans, wealthy land owners, and particularly notable Southern Democrats had to go to Washington to get pardoned to vote by Johnson. Some outright refused to take the oath to be loyal to the United States. Johnson believed in limited government, allowing this pardon put the vote back into the hands of the entire population (minus women at this point of course) which is the correct order in which the country should be ran- everyone should have a chance to vote if they live in our country. I don’t agree with the belief system of the Southern Democrats racial issues in this time, but I do believe that they should have their rights to vote.

  • McKenna Kapper

    I thought this article was really interesting. I can not say if this was the right decision or not but I think he was doing what he thought would be best for the country as a whole at the time.

  • Jaisun

    Johnson’s pardoning of the Confederate veterans reminded me a lot of Ford’s pardoning of Nixon after Watergate. In both scenarios, the president at the time did what he felt was best not for himself or his political party, but for his country, in forgiving the acts and transgressions committed against the United States by other parties. In Ford’s case specifically, he remarked that he knew that pardoning Nixon could possibly cost him the 1976 election. He did it anyway, because he saw it as the only way to heal the nation. That was a decision that came with the highest levels of character and integrity.

  • James Cole

    After reading the article, I believe that Johnson did the best job he could do given the problem that he was facing. This country was still in turmoil after the Civil War, and tensions were still at a high level.

  • Ashley Betsa

    Given the state of the country at the time, I believe President Johnson was trying to make amends with Southern States and promote unity and growth with forgiveness.

  • Marquita Smith

    There was still going to be turmoil even after his decision. I feel that some people try to lesson some of the tension that is and was going on


    I do not know if the blanket pardon hurt or help,as I am not educated enough on the subject to state one way or another. I do believe that people mostly do what they think is best with what information they have at the time.

  • Yang Shao

    The article is basically talking about how Andrew Johnson as a president was getting impeached by the first time of U.S. president. He was assuming to be a president after Lincoln’s death. He was having a clashes with congress, finally leaving the office.

  • Patrick Barker

    In what world would a person who collaborated with the murderer of a president, be pardoned? That is absurd.

  • Justin Hodson

    Johnson did what he thought was right at the time. Right or wrong he did what he felt would help to rebuild the south.

  • WenYu Zhang

    After Lincoln was killed, Johnson was later becoming the US president, but clash with congress made Johnson becoming the first president who had been Judged by public. Even though Johnson was having a presidential pardons, it could be controversial, but I think he was still a kind and nice president.

  • Jacob DeSmit

    I think Johnson’s pardon of the Confederate soldiers was a necessary first step for our nation to come together following the war. Although some of those who were pardoned might not have deserved it, a blanket pardon was useful for avoiding controversy over who should be pardoned and who should not.

  • BG

    I did not realize Johnson was first president to be impeached, but avoided it and still remained in office until he completed his task he wanted to and then left.

  • AB

    Why would he pardon Dr. Samuel Mudd? If it was thought that he helped plan the murder of Lincoln then why would he pardon him? That seems outrageous to me.

  • Dani McBride

    Given Johnson’s background and seeing that he himself was a Southerner, it makes sense why he would want to pardon all Confederates. Although, I think that it was the wrong decision and I understand why so many people wanted Johnson impeached. I also find it outrageous that Dr. Samuel Mudd was pardoned if he was suspected of helping John Wilkes Booth escape, it’s an obstruction of justice!

  • RB

    I was really surprised to learn that Dr. Samuel Mudd was pardoned. I think its pretty weird especially since Lincoln was President and he was the Vice President.

  • Amanda Chahulski

    After reading this article, the main thing that I want to know is how Johnson managed to avoid his impeachment and stay in office. I didn’t think this could be remotely possible, so I wonder how he managed to do that.

  • JG

    I also want to know how Johnson avoided his impeachment as someone has previously stated below. It seems quite suspicious as to how he managed to stay in office following those convictions.

    • Johnson was not convicted, and that is why he was not thrown out of office.

  • Mary Van Scoy

    It amazes me how Johnson was able to avoid his impeachment and stayed in office. I commend his efforts to want to rebuild the south but it is unfortunate that the efforts of president Lincoln were stalled for so long because the mindset of the south regarding African Americans and their rights. I would love to know more about how he managed to stay in office.

  • AM

    It’s hard to say what could have happened if Johnson hadn’t pardoned the former confederate soldiers. I think that the pardon helped us to rebuild the country. At the same time, I think it hurt the healing of the country because the confederates were not punished for their treatment of the African American community.

  • Alexis Whitright

    This article got me thinking/wondering what Johnson had to do/say to be able to avoid his impeachment. It’s not common that our president gets impeached, or threatened with this, so as the President, he had apparently done something bad enough to be considered for this, but managed to get himself out of it.

  • MT

    I didn’t know that Johnson was born in North Carolina, and I also found it interesting that this event takes place on Christmas. Regardless, I can understand how tensions with Congress can cause all this to happen when Johnson was in office.

  • AB

    It’s interesting that after being faced with impeachment, Johnson still acted boldly. Many leaders today would conform to what people wanted in order to maintain power.

  • SB

    Although I do not agree with all of the decisions that Johnson made while in office, if I were in his position I probably would have done that same thing as far as pardoning the south. So much destruction and so many lives were lost as it was, I would want the United States to get back to what it once was as soon as possible.

  • CJ

    I respect Johnson for sticking to his decision. While it was controversial, I do not feel that the country needed to be any more divided than it already was and pardoning the south allowed them to move on and resume their lives without driving the wedge farther in between the two sides.

  • De Vaughnte Askew

    By pardoning the south, Johnson was definitely trying to put everything behind the country and move on to unite the country once more. It was good on him for not folding when he was facing losing his position. Curious on how things would have been handled if it were to happen these days….

  • JJ

    “but he avoided conviction and remained in office, allowing him the opportunity to issue his pardon of former Confederate soldiers and other Confederate office holders…” It was very interesting to me that Johnson made this accomplishment before leaving office.

  • NTM

    I believe Johnson’s intentions were good. He pardoned with the South as a last attempt to unite the country and leave this awful conflict in the past. He saw the long toll the Civil War had on this country, destroying lives and nation’s stability, and tried what he saw was in America’s best interest to move forward.

  • Dylan Winkel

    Andrew Johnson was an important person for serving as a Governor and senator before being vice president under president Lincoln. Then, Lincoln got shot and Johnson became president. Very Interesting life!

  • AP

    I believe Johnson was trying his best to pardon the South as a lost attempt to bring the country back together quickly after the civil war. I also believe that he had some ties to the South that also made him make this decision. But I think his number one intention was to bring the nation together and expecially help with the financial burden on the South. It’s sad his plan backfired.

  • HM

    Congress did not want Johnson in office anymore because of the decisions he was making. Since Johnson remained in office, he made more decision he knew would make Congress mad just to show that he won.

  • MC

    I believe Johnson was trying to get the country to move on from the Civil War by pardoning the confederates. It was a way of making a clean slate, even though it ended up upsetting many people, including Congress.

  • HD

    Though in the end, I believe his pardons did the country well, I would like to know more about his thinking and how he came to these decisions. Yes it was an attempt to bring the country back together, but it was bold and could’ve angered many people as well.

  • KD

    I think Johnson was trying to bring the nation back together. He was doing what he thought was best. I think he also could have been influenced by people he knew in the south.

  • CY

    I cannot believe that Dr. Samuel Mudd was also given pardon when he had a part in the president’s assassination! That is just crazy to me. I think that giving all of those pardons could have lead to the rise of some white supremacy groups.

  • Abdulaziz

    I trust Johnson’s aims were great. He absolved with the South as a last endeavor to join the nation and leave this horrendous clash before. He saw the long toll the Common War had on this nation, crushing lives and country’s dependability, and attempted what he saw was to America’s greatest advantage to push ahead.

  • AC

    While some may have seen the situation as Johnson turning a blind eye to the South, I truly believe it was him trying to bring unity after the Civil War. Not only bring people together and to move on, but to bring about a comfortable process of operations to everybody again.

  • ES

    I think Johnson used his position of power to help heal and unify the country. He had great perseverance since they tried to impeach him but he avoided the conviction.

  • KM

    I agree with what President Johnson was trying to do. He had good intentions to bring unity. I didn’t realize that once a president was impeached, he could avoid conviction and remaining office. I also found it interesting that the first president to be impeached was not elected by the people but instead took over after the death of the president.

  • EB

    Johnson to me was a huge productive president. He brought many great things to our country during his time as president and this article shows us that.

  • ML

    I find it very inspiring to see someone who held such a high position in power, stand up for something they believed in. I think he had the right mindset and was truly trying to do what was best for the country.

  • JH

    I thought it was interesting that Johnson was able to become the first US president to become impeached but avoid conviction and remain in office. I truly did not realize this was possible.

  • Sage Bourdess

    I did not know that Johnson was the first president to become impeached .

  • Alexis Mount

    I had no idea that President Johnson was impeached, and I found it interesting that he was able to avoid conviction and remain in office. I found it ironic that Johnson was a Southerner and issued pardon to all Confederate veterans.

  • Hailey Lockwood

    I did not know President Johnson was the first president to be impeached. It was good that he was able to avoid conflict while remaining in office.

  • NN

    It amazed me that Johnson was able to avoid his impeachment and stayed in office. I would love to know more about how he managed to stay in office.

  • Hollis Marie

    I think it is pretty funny actually that even though he was impeached he was able to stay in office. I feel like he had to be a really smart to be able to do this.

  • mengting zhang

    I think President Johnson is doing the right thing. Johnson’s goal is for better unity. He saw the heavy costs of war for this country, and the war also destroyed the lives of the people and the prosperity of the country. What he wanted to see was the peaceful development of the United states. I think he has the right mindset, and he’s doing the right thing for the country.

  • burton roberts

    Once again another important part of our history takes place on Christmas. I wonder if it is a coincidence he pardoned all the soldiers on the birthday of Jesus.