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1865 June 3: Johnson’s Reconstruction Proclamation

June 4, 2015

Following is President Andrew Johnson’s Proclamation of Reconstruction as it appeared in the June 3, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.  This also appeared in The Prescott Journal, in its June 10, 1865, issue under the heading “Proclamation—A Provisional Governor Appointed for North Carolina.”


Plan for the Restoration of North Carolina to the Union.


WHEREAS,  The fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, declares that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a representative form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion and domestic violence ;  and,

WHEREAS,  The President of the United States is by the Constitution made commander-in-chief of the army and navy as well as chief executive officer of the United States, and is bound by solemn oath faithfully to fill the office of President of the United States, and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

WHEREAS,  The rebellion, which has been waged by a portion of the people of the United States, against the properly constituted authorities of the United States thereof, in the most violent and dangerous form but whose organizations and armed forces have now been almost entirely overcome has in its revolutionary progress deprived the people of the State of North Carolina, of all civil government, and

WHEREAS,  It becomes necessary and proper to carry out and enforce the obligations of the United States, to the people of North Carolina, in securing them in the enjoyment of a republican form of government, now therefore,

In obedience to the high and solemn duties imposed upon me by the Constitution of the United States, and for the purpose of enabling the loyal people of said state to organize a state government whereby justice may be established, domestic tranquility insured, and loyal citizens protected in all their rights of life, property, and liberty, I, Andrew Sohnson [sic], President of the United States, do hereby appoint Wm. W. Holden Provissional [sic] Governor of the State of North Carolina, whose duty it shall be at the earliest possible period to proclaim such rules and regulations as may be necessary for convening a convention composed of delegates to be chosen by that portion of the people of said State who are loyal to the United States, and no others, for the purpose of altering or amending the constitution thereof, and with authority to exercise within said State all the powers necessary and proper to enable such loyal people of the State of North Carolina, to restore said State to its constitutional relations to the Federal Government, and to present such a republican form of State Government as will entitle the State to the guarantee of the United States, and, therefore, its people, to protection by the United States against invasion, insurrection, and domestic violence.

[Here they mistakenly repeated nos. 9, 10, and 11 from the list of excepted persons from the Amnesty proclamation; we have skipped over that and continue with the Reconstruction proclamation:]

Provided that in any election that may be hereafter held for choosing delegates to any State Convention as aforesaid no person shall be qualified as an elector or shall be eligible as a member of such Convention unless he shall previously have taken and subscribed the oath of amnesty as set forth in the President’s proclamation, May 29, 1865, and is a voter qualified as prescribed by the Constitution and Laws of the State of South [sic: North] Carolina in force immediately before the 20th day of May, 1861, the date of the so-called ordinance of secession, and the said Convention when convened, or the Legislature that may be thereafter assembled, will prescribe the qualification of electors and the eligibility of persons to hold office under the constitution and laws of the State, as the people of the several States comprising the Federal Union have rightfully exercised from the origin of the Government to the present time.

And I do hereby direct, First, that the military commander of the department, and all officers and persons in the military and naval service, to aid and assist the said provisional government in carrying into effect this proclamation, and they are enjoined to abstain from in any way hindering, impeding or discouraging the loyal people from the organization of the State Government as herein authorized.

Second, That the Secretary of State is authorized to put in force all laws of the United States, the administration whereof belongs to the State Department applicable to the geographical limits aforesaid.

Third, That the Secretary of the Treasury proceed to nominate for appointment assessors of taxes and collectors of customs and internal revenue, and such other officers of the Treasury Department as are authorized by law, and put in execution the laws of the United States within the geographical limits aforesaid.  In making the appointment the assessors shall be qualified, loyal persons, residing within the districts where their respective duties are to be prosecuted, but if suitable residents of the districts shall not be found, then persons residing in other States or districts, shall be appointed.

Fourth, That the Post Master General proceed to establish post routes, and put into execution the postal laws of the United States, within the said State, giving to loyal residents the preference of appointment ;  but if suitable residents are not found, then appointments from other States.

Fifth, That the District Judge for the Judicial District in which North Carolina is included, proceed to hold courts within said State in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress.  The Attorney General will instruct the proper officers to bring to judgment, confiscation and sale property subject to confiscation, and enforce the administration of justice within said State in all matters within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the Federal Courts.

Sixth, That the Secretary of the Navy take possession of all public property belonging to the Navy Department, within said geographical limits, and put in operation all acts of Congress in relation to naval affairs having application to said State.

Seventh, That the Secretary of the Interior put in force the laws relating to the Interior Department applicable to the geographical limits aforesaid.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.  Done at the City of Washington this twenty-ninth day of May, A. D., 1865, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.


By the President : .  .WM. H. SEWARD, Sec. of State.

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