ANDREW JOHNSON. Manuscript DS: "Andrew Johnson" as President, 2p, 10¾x15½. Washington, 1868 August 8. Countersigned: "W. Hunter" as Acting Secretary of State. Presidential pardon for a mother of ten.

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ANDREW JOHNSON. Manuscript DS: "Andrew Johnson" as President, 2p, 10¾x15½. Washington, 1868 August 8. Countersigned: "W. Hunter" as Acting Secretary of State. Presidential pardon for a mother of ten. In full: "Whereas, at the March term 1868, of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, one Amanda Johnson was convicted of Grand Larceny and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. And whereas, I am assured that her good conduct during imprisonment, and having a family of ten children wholly dependent upon her for support, render her a proper object of Executive clemency; And whereas, her pardon has been recommended by Chief Justice Carter, before whom she was tried; the United States District Attorney who prosecuted the case; eight of the Jurors who convicted her; Major General O.O. Howard and A.K. Barnes; Now, therefore, be it Known, that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant to the said Amanda Johnson a full and unconditional pardon." At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Committee on Detail added the power to grant pardons to people convicted of crimes to the presidential powers already conferred by the Convention. Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the President of the United States the "power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States." ANDREW JOHNSON, a Democrat who had run with Lincoln in 1864 on the National Union ticket, had unsuccessfully sought the 1868 Democratic presidential nomination at the July 4-9, 1868 convention in New York City. A month later he granted this pardon. President Johnson had appointed OLIVER O. HOWARD, who recommended this pardon, as the first Chief Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in May 1865. The Freedmen's Bureau, established by the U.S. Congress, served the needs of nearly four million former slaves. Since Johnson mentions Howard, it is possible that AMANDA JOHNSON was a former slave. Typically, pardons go only to people who have served their punishment and returned to a productive private life. An obvious exception was President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. Prisoners must wait at least five years after conviction to apply for a pardon, which clears a person's name. A President may also issue a reprieve or commute a sentence. Since a presidential pardon is an official U.S. government document, the President granting the pardon must order the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the United States to it. Johnson's Secretary of State was William H. Seward; WILLIAM HUNTER (1805-1886), who was Chief Clerk of the U.S. State Department from 1852-1866, was Second Assistant Secretary of State (1866-1886) at the time of this document. He also served as Secretary of State ad interim in 1853 and 1860. There is no limit on the number or timing of presidential pardons, but 19th century Presidents seemed to have issued a large number of pardons as their administrations came to an end, while recent Presidents have chosen the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons to grant them. President Clinton chose the last day of his eight years in office to issue 140 pardons. While documents authorizing the Secretary of State to affix the U.S. seal to a pardon often appear on the market, actual pardons do not and pardons of women are scarce and desirable. Folds, vertical fold between "re" in Andrew. Inexpert tape repairs are affixed to the seal and the mid-horizontal fold, which had separated. All words and seal intact. Tape repairs also at the vertical folds at the upper and lower blank margins. Tape repair on front of document touches 1 word. Stray ink marks at left blank margin. Seal is soiled.

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