1977 January 21

President Carter Pardons Vietnam War Protesters


The day after he was sworn in as president, Jimmy Carter issued Executive Order 11967, pardoning anti-Vietnam War protesters facing federal criminal charges. His order involved the dismissal of all pending criminal charges related to violations of the selective service law between August 1964 and March 1973. Anyone unable to reenter the U.S. because of a violation of the selective service act would now be able to enter, as would be any other alien. Finally, any person granted conditional clemency, or granted a pardon, under President Gerald Ford’s plan, announced on September 16, 1974, would be eligible for a pardon under the terms of Carter’s order. Carter also issued Proclamation 4483, which restated Ford’s executive order.

There is a long history of presidential pardons and grants of amnesty following major wars. On December 23, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted amnesty to all the remaining victims of World War I Espionage Act prosecutions who were still in prison. President Truman President Truman on December 24, 1947 pardoned 1,523 young men who were still in prison for resisting the draft in World War II. President Gerald Ford granted condition pardons to young men convicted of crimes because of their opposition to the Vietnam War or who had fled the country to avoid being drafted, on September 16, 1974.

Read Carter’s Proclamation 4483: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=7255

Learn more: James Dickerson, North to Canada: Men and Women Against the Vietnam War (1999)

Learn more about Carter’s post-presidential work at the Carter Center: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

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