civil rights

What was the Amnesty Act?

An In-Depth Background of the Amnesty Act 

Amnesty Act

On the basis of historical data, the Amnesty Act, which was passed on May 22, 1872, was renowned in the United States of America as a federal law, that mainly served as a reversal on the numerous penalties that were handed in imposition to the previous Confederates of the Fourteenth Amendment, as legally adopted specifically on July, 9, 1868. 

As an emphasis, the Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment manifested the prohibition in the guise of  appointment and election to any concerned state office or federal, of an individual who have already held a specific office and position, which in the longer run, was in direct engagement with the violations and offenses that are relatively interconnected with treason, insurrection and rebellion. 

On a lighter note, the specific section that was mentioned previously, in relation to the Fourteenth Amendment gears on the direction of having a legal provision that will entail a vote of two-thirds, wherein each House of the American Congress could result and perform an override on such limitation on hand. 

To continue with, the Amnesty Act of 1872 was duly and constitutionally passed specifically by the 42nd United States Congress, wherein the original form of the restrictively dimensioned and premised Act was legally passed by the United States Congress last May 1866, to be exact. 

In an in-depth point of view, the Amnesty Act of 1872 served as the main basis and framework that greatly influenced the removal of office holding disqualifications that was in majority against the numerous secessionists who resorted to rebellion, during the time of the American Civil War. 

As an exception, the Amnesty Act of 1872, emphasized the following legal  premise, tenet and provision  which were heavily directed on: “The Senators and Representatives of the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh Congresses, Judicial Branch Officers, Military and Naval Service of the United States of America, Department Heads and most importantly, the United States Ministers, respectively.”

In relevance to the total spirit of the Amnesty Act of 1872, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, through his presidential proclamation which was dated on June 1, 1872, he promulgated a directive concerning all District Attorneys, relatively. 

This directive guided the District Attorneys concerned,  who were in charge of prosecutions and proceedings that were against those individuals who underwent the turmoil of disqualification, on the basis and framework of the Fourteenth Amendment, which resulted to their dismissal and discontinuance in service, with an exception that is heavily-ladened on persons who fall legally on the stipulated exceptions in the Act, respectively. 

In effect to the exceptions of the Act, U.S. President Grant gave Pardon to all but 500 previous top primed Confederate leaders who fell on the premise of legal exception as manifested in the Act, in entirety. 

As a holistic overview, the Amnesty Act of 1872 greatly affected over 150,000 former Confederate Troops who actively took part and played a role during the time of the American Civil War, so to speak. 

The Effect of the Amnesty Act of 1872

In general, the Amnesty Act of 1872 in a holistic outlook and perspective gave an ending prevalence to the long time searched conclusion, for those concerned and involved individuals and leaders who took a great part and role in the so-called “secession”, which resulted to their inevitable barment from the realm and field of Public Affairs. 

After the historical passage of the Amnesty Act of 1872 in the United States Congress, which was then duly signed afterwards by President Ulysses Grant on the historical date of May 22, 1872, the intent of the whole Act was to put a closure on the disqualifications that resorted to the withdrawal from office, that was directly against individuals who held government positions and office posts, and in the longer run, resorted to Rebellion which was a direct attack to the Union that was prevalent during the Civil War. 

As the Civil War progressed, the whole purpose of the Amnesty Act was greatly relevant as the Union decided to offer amnesty to the concerned Confederates with both an intent and attempt of garnering loyalty to the Union itself, which in return, will start off the entire process of Reconstruction. 

The Follow-Through of the Amnesty Act of 1872

With the passage of the Amnesty Act of 1872, numerous legal initiatives and efforts were performed by the succeeding U.S. Presidents, as a response to restrict act by nature as follows: 

1. The Confiscation Act which was passed in the year 1862 gave due authority to the United States President to  grant pardon to any concerned individual who resorted to an involvement in a rebellion. 

2. The December 1863 Amnesty Proclamation, pave the way to offer the rightful pardons to concerned individuals who in any way were not involved or as a whole, has never held a Civil Confederate Office, have never mistreated prisoners who were a part of the Union, and as an end result, would dedicatedly sign an oath of allegiance, so to speak. 

3. The limited Amnesty which was dedicatedly targeted to Southern Civilians and in the long run, became immediate in effect in May 1864, relatively. 

4. The initiative of United States President Andrew Johnson, which took place in May 1865, revolved around the provision of an Amnesty and the direct return of property, for the concerned individuals and leaders who have legally and duly taken an oath of allegiance. 

With the passage of this Amnesty by President Johnson, the direct result was that Military Officials and previous high-ranked Confederate government officials, who owned an exact or more than $20,000 amount or worth of property, were required to apply individually for a pardon, in a compulsory manner. 

5. The biggest impact, effect and result of the Amnesty Act of 1872 was more on the wider majority of the previous white Confederates who hailed from the South, were given the provisions and privileges of holding office, the right to vote, the freedom to own a land, and most importantly, to promulgate and author essential laws in the Southern States, which became feasible, achievable and doable in matter of less than two decades after the entire Civil War, ended, respectively. 

An Overview on the Reconstruction 

In the year 1877, the Reconstruction ended, which resulted in the abandonment and flee of the federal troops from the Southern Region. 

These federal troops, through its distinctive people took a great part and role in maintaining prevalently, the rampant supremacy of the White Americans, which as a result, retained slavery as these people were absolutely fashioned in a well-position, that was highly responsible in the seizing of direct control on the numerous state governments concerned. 

 At the same time, these people were highly responsible for the orchestration of various laws and policies that paved the way to the suppression of brand new Civil Rights, for the benefit of the Black People, as a major concern. 

The Birth of the “Amnesty Law” 

Furthermore, in relation to the setting of other countries, a conceptual basis and framework was created with the so-called “Amnesty Law”. 

Moreover, the Amnesty Law is defined as any constitutional, legislative or executive arrangement that is purposely intended to create a retroaction, in terms of providing exception to a particularly selected group of people, which most of the time is composed of government leaders and military leaders who either way are involved or committed a criminal liability as an effect of the specific crimes that they have committed, beforehand. 

In conclusion and in specifics, the so-called “age of accountability” paved the way for the creation of numerous amnesty laws wherein an utmost consideration is taken deeply, in terms of granting impunity, in reference to the violation of human rights. 

As a whole and in totality, an inclusion of institutional measures were observed, and in the long run, it resulted to the preclusion of prosecution for such relative crimes and the retrieval of those committed crimes, which geared on to the path of conviction for the concerned individuals, in avoidance to any form of accountability, in entirety.

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