President Gerald Ford announces his decision to pardon former president Richard Nixon, September 8, 1974, in an Oval Office address to the nation.
President Gerald Ford announces his decision to pardon former president Richard Nixon, September 8, 1974, in an Oval Office address to the nation.

This is a partial list of people pardoned or granted clemency by the president of the United States. The plenary power to grant a pardon or a reprieve is granted to the president by Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution; the only limits mentioned in the Constitution are that pardons are limited to federal offenses, and that they cannot affect an impeachment process: "The president shall ... have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment".[1]

Though pardons have been challenged in the courts, and the power to grant them challenged by Congress, the courts have consistently declined to put limits on the president's discretion. The president can issue a full pardon, reversing a criminal conviction (along with its legal effects) as if it never happened. A pardon can be issued from the time an offense is committed, and can even be issued after the full sentence has been served. The president can issue a reprieve, commuting a criminal sentence, lessening its severity, its duration, or both while leaving a record of the conviction in place. Additionally, the president can make a pardon conditional, or vacate a conviction while leaving parts of the sentence in place, like the payment of fines or restitution.[1][2]

Approximately 20,000 pardons and commutations were issued by U.S. presidents in the 20th century alone. Pardons granted by presidents from George Washington until Grover Cleveland's first term (1885–89) were handwritten by the president; thereafter, pardons were prepared for the president by administrative staff requiring only that the president sign it.[3] The records of these presidential acts were openly available for public inspection until 1934. In 1981 the Office of the Pardon Attorney was created and records from President George H. W. Bush forward are now listed.[4]

Summary

President Pardons Notes
George Washington 16
John Adams 20
Thomas Jefferson 119
James Madison 196
James Monroe 419
John Quincy Adams 183
Andrew Jackson 386
Martin Van Buren 168
William Henry Harrison 0
John Tyler 209
James K. Polk 268
Zachary Taylor 38
Millard Fillmore 170
Franklin Pierce 142
James Buchanan 150
Abraham Lincoln 343
Andrew Johnson 654 Excludes thousands of pardons for ex-Confederates
Ulysses S. Grant 1332
Rutherford B. Hayes 893
James A. Garfield 0
Chester A. Arthur 337
Grover Cleveland 1107 Estimate
Benjamin Harrison 613
William McKinley 918 Estimate
Theodore Roosevelt 981 Estimate
William Howard Taft 758
Woodrow Wilson 2480
Warren G. Harding 800
Calvin Coolidge 1545
Herbert Hoover 1385
Franklin D. Roosevelt 3687
Harry S. Truman 2044
Dwight D. Eisenhower 1157
John F. Kennedy 575
Lyndon B. Johnson 1187
Richard Nixon 926
Gerald Ford 409
Jimmy Carter 566 Excludes over 200,000 pardoned for Vietnam draft evasion
Ronald Reagan 406
George H. W. Bush 77
Bill Clinton 459
George W. Bush 200
Barack Obama 1927
Donald Trump 237
Joe Biden 78

George Washington

President George Washington pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 16 people.[3] Among them are:

John Adams

Federalist president John Adams pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 20 people.[3] Among them are:

Thomas Jefferson

Democratic-Republican president Thomas Jefferson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 119 people.[3] One of his first acts upon taking office was to issue a general pardon for any person convicted under the Sedition Act.[5] Among them are:

James Madison

Democratic-Republican president James Madison pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 196 people.[3] Among them are:

James Monroe

Democratic-Republican president James Monroe pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 419 people.[3] Among them are:

John Quincy Adams

Democratic-Republican president John Quincy Adams pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 183 people.[3] Among them are:

Andrew Jackson

Democratic president Andrew Jackson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 386 people.[3] Among them is:

Martin Van Buren

Democratic president Martin Van Buren pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 168 people.[3] Among them are:

William Henry Harrison

Whig president William Henry Harrison was one of only two presidents who issued no pardons, the other being James A. Garfield. This was due to Harrison's death shortly after taking office.

John Tyler

Whig president John Tyler pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 209 people.[3] Among them are:

James K. Polk

Democratic president James K. Polk pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 268 people.[3] Among them are:

Zachary Taylor

Whig president Zachary Taylor pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 38 people.[3]

Millard Fillmore

Whig president Millard Fillmore pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 170 people.[3] Among them are:

Franklin Pierce

Democratic president Franklin Pierce pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 142 people.[3]

James Buchanan

Democratic president James Buchanan pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 150 people.[3] Among them are:

Abraham Lincoln

Republican president Abraham Lincoln pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 343 people.[3] Among them are:

Andrew Johnson

President Andrew Johnson pardoning Rebels at the White House, sketched by Stanley Fox
President Andrew Johnson pardoning Rebels at the White House, sketched by Stanley Fox

Democratic president Andrew Johnson pardoned about 7,000 people in the "over $20,000" class (taxable property over $20,000) by May 4, 1866. More than 600 prominent North Carolinians were pardoned just before the election of 1864.[15] President Andrew Johnson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 654 people.[3] Among them are:

Ulysses S. Grant

Republican president Ulysses S. Grant pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,332 people.[3] Among them are:

Rutherford B. Hayes

Republican president Rutherford B. Hayes pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 893 people.[3] Among them is:

James A. Garfield

Republican president James A. Garfield was one of only two presidents who issued no pardons, the other being William Henry Harrison. This is because Garfield only served a few months before being assassinated.

Chester A. Arthur

Republican president Chester A. Arthur pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 337 people.[3] Among them is:

Grover Cleveland

Democratic president Grover Cleveland pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,107 (est.) people during his two, non-consecutive terms.[3] Among them are:

Benjamin Harrison

Republican president Benjamin Harrison pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 613 people.[3] Among them are:

Grover Cleveland

See list under first term.

William McKinley

Republican president William McKinley pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 918 (est.) people.[3] Among them are:

Theodore Roosevelt

Republican president Theodore Roosevelt pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 981 (est.) people.[3][18] Among them are:

William Howard Taft

Republican president William Howard Taft pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 758 people.[3] Among them are:

Woodrow Wilson

Democratic president Woodrow Wilson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 2,480 people.[3] Among them are:

Warren G. Harding

Republican president Warren G. Harding pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 800 people.[3] Among them are:

Calvin Coolidge

Republican president Calvin Coolidge pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,545 people.[3] Among them are:

Herbert Hoover

Republican president Herbert Hoover pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,385 people.[3] Among them are:

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Democratic president Franklin D. Roosevelt granted 3,687 pardons in his four terms in office.[3] Among them are:

Harry S. Truman

Democratic president Harry S. Truman pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 2,044 people.[21] Among them are:

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,157 people.[21] Among them is:

It is important to note that "until the Eisenhower Administration, each pardon grant was evidenced by its own separate warrant signed by the president. President Eisenhower began the practice of granting pardons by the batch, through the device of a "master warrant" listing all of the names of those pardoned, which also delegated to the Attorney General (or, later, the Deputy Attorney General or Pardon Attorney) authority to sign individual warrants evidencing the president's action."[23]

John F. Kennedy

Democratic president John F. Kennedy pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 575 people.[21] Among them are:

Lyndon B. Johnson

Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 1,187 people.[21] Among them are:

Richard Nixon

Republican president Richard Nixon pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 926 people.[21] Among them are:

Gerald Ford

Republican president Gerald Ford pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 409 people.[21] Among them are:

Jimmy Carter

Democratic president Jimmy Carter pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 566 people,[21] and in addition to that pardoned over 200,000 Vietnam War draft evaders.[26] Among them are:

Ronald Reagan

Republican president Ronald Reagan pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 406 people.[21] Among them are:

George H. W. Bush

Main article: List of people pardoned by George H. W. Bush

Republican president George H. W. Bush pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 77 people.[21] Among them are:

Bill Clinton

Main article: List of people pardoned by Bill Clinton

Democratic president Bill Clinton pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 459 people.[21] Among them are:

George W. Bush

Main article: List of people pardoned by George W. Bush

Republican president George W. Bush pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 200 people.[21] Among them were:

Barack Obama

Main article: List of people granted executive clemency by Barack Obama

Democratic president Barack Obama pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the conviction of 1,927 people.[35] Among them were:

Donald Trump

Main article: List of people granted executive clemency by Donald Trump

Republican president Donald Trump pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 237 people. Among them were:

Joe Biden

As of April 2022, Democratic president Joe Biden pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 78 people. Among them were:

See also

References

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