This week in the Civil War | Lincoln’s Proclamation on Amnesty and Reconstruction

December 12, 2013 

In early December 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, an early document aimed at speeding reconciliation and reconstruction of areas recaptured from the Confederacy by that point in the Civil War.

At that time in the conflict, Lincoln’s armies had recovered large parts of the South, and with the reclaimed territories came a pressing need to rebuild and reorganize them.

Lincoln’s document, in an annual message to Congress, sought to permit a full pardon and restoration of property rights to all who had rebelled against the government — except ranking Confederate commanders and leaders.

It also called for permitting a new government to be formed when 10 percent of eligible voters had sworn allegiance to the United States and to resolve questions involving freed slaves.

Several Northern newspapers immediately supported the plan.

“The President’s plan of restoring our Federal system to its normal operation ... finds us already thoroughly committed to it. ... What is the problem to be solved? It is — How to restore truly and safely the part of the Union which revolted,” The New York Times published on Dec. 11, 1863.

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service