President Jimmy Carter Pardoned All Vietnam Draft Dodgers On His First Day

Samuel Reason - September 4th, 2020

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter, on his first day in office, followed up immediately on his campaign promise. As a result, he pardoned hundreds of thousands of men who had dodged the draft. They had fled the country during the Vietnam War or had simply failed to register with the Selective Service boards. Though today this sounds like a no brainer, it garnered a lot of criticism at the time.

Veterans felt that a blanket amnesty was not a great idea, they disapproved of letting unpatriotic lawbreakers go free. And on the opposite side of the argument, President Carter received criticism for not pardoning the deserters, dishonorably discharged or the violent anti-war demonstrators. Gerald Ford, the previous President, did offer some pardons to various draft dodgers. Carter went much further as he attempted to heal the wounds of the Vietnam War, by setting no conditions for the pardon. Though as mentioned before, certain individuals were excluded.

During the late 1960s to 70s, over 100,000 Americans went abroad with the main aim to avoid being called up to fight. Around 90 percent were in Canada, which at first was quite controversial, though they were accepted as legal immigrants after some time.

Hundreds of thousands hid at home or changed their identities. Not to mention, there were also over 1,000 military deserters who ended up in Canada. While the authorities in Canada did at first announced they would be deported or even prosecuted. In practice, they were left alone and not bothered. Canadian border guards were explicitly told to not ask many questions.

After the war, the federal government continued to prosecute draft evaders. In total 209,517 men were formally charged and another 360,000 were found in violation but never charged. Before the blanket pardon, they all would have faced prison sentences if they ever chose to return to the United States.

Next Article
  • The Famous Actress From The 1900s With No Footage

    Valeska Suratt was an American stage and silent film actress who became very popular during the early 1900s. During her career she appeared in over 11 silent films, garnering fans across the whole country. Incredibly despite being so popular, there is no known footage still in existence of her acting. Because in 1937 the infamous...

    Read More
  • Deadliest Plane Attack In Colorado

    The explosion of United Air Lines Flight 629 is the deadliest attack on a commercial airline flight ever to happen over Colorado. One of the first attacks on a flight in the United States, and to this day one of the worst in history. In fact, for the state of Colorado, it is the deadliest...

    Read More
  • The 2003 Slammer Virus That Took The Whole Internet Offline

    An infamous virus that to this day remains a complete mystery wreaked havoc on the world in 2003. Within 10 minutes it infected over 400,000 computers total, and within 40 minutes it doubled its population. Crucially the computer virus infected five of the thirteen root DNS servers, which crippled the world’s internet. In fact, most...

    Read More
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More