Proclamation 4483

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Proclamation 4483 and Executive Order 11967 reproduced in the Federal Register (click to view full document)

Proclamation 4483, also known as the Granting Pardon for Violations of the Selective Service Act, was a presidential proclamation issued by Jimmy Carter on January 21, 1977. It granted pardons to those who evaded the draft in the Vietnam War by violating the Military Selective Service Act from August 4, 1964, to March 28, 1973.[1] It was implemented through Executive Order 11967.[2]


During the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of American men evaded the draft by fleeing the country or failing to register with their local draft board.[3] President Gerald Ford signed a proclamation in 1974 that granted conditional amnesty to draft evaders, provided they work in a public service job for up to two years. Those who had evaded the draft by leaving the country were not eligible for a conditional pardon. Up to 90% of evaders had fled to Canada, with up to 50,000 settling there permanently.[4]

Jimmy Carter promised during his presidential campaign that he would pardon draft evaders of the Vietnam War,[3] calling it the "single hardest decision" of his campaign.[5] He signed the proclamation on January 21, 1977, his first full day in office.[3] The proclamation did not offer amnesty to deserters, however.[4]


Barry Goldwater, a supporter of the Vietnam War, referred to the proclamation as "the most disgraceful thing that a president has ever done". Carter was accused of showing favoritism towards middle-class evaders who were able to successfully stay out of the war.[2] Some Vietnam veterans were opposed to amnesty for evaders, while anti-war activists said it fell short by not pardoning deserters.[6]

Similar orders in the past[edit]

In 1947, President Harry Truman granted amnesty to 1,523 men who violated the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 by refusing to serve in the U.S. military during World War II.[7]

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln pardoned former Confederate soldiers.[8] In order to receive the pardon, soldiers must have not held a Confederate civil office, they must not have mistreated Union prisoners, and they had to sign an oath of allegiance to the Union.[9][10] President Andrew Johnson granted general amnesty to additional ex-Confederate soldiers with certain exceptions.[11]


  1. ^ "Proclamation 4483: Granting Pardon for Violations of the Selective Service Act". The United States Department of Justice. January 21, 1977. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Pusey, Allen (January 1, 2014). "Jan. 21, 1977: Carter pardons Vietnam-era draft dodgers". ABA Journal. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Glass, Andrew (January 21, 2018). "President Carter pardons draft dodgers , Jan. 21, 1977". Politico. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Glass, Andrew (September 16, 2018). "Ford issues partial amnesty to Vietnam deserters, Sept. 16, 1974". Politico. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  5. ^ Roessner, L. Amber; Bier, Lindsey M. (2017). "Pardon Me, Mr. Carter". Journalism History. 43 (2): 86–96. doi:10.1080/00947679.2017.12059169. S2CID 149788576.
  6. ^ Zeidler, Maryse (January 21, 2017). "40 years later, remembering Jimmy Carter's pardon for draft dodgers". CBC. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  7. ^ "Truman Extends Amnesty to Men Who Avoided Duty for Nation in Recent War". News and Record (Greensboro, North Carolina). p. 1.
  8. ^ Fox, Peter D. (January 22, 1977). "Carter action stirs emotion", Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin). p. 1.
  9. ^ Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, December 8, 1863 (Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction)
  10. ^ Donald, David Herbert (1996). Lincoln. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 471–472. ISBN 978-0-684-82535-9.
  11. ^ Dorris, Jonathan Truman. Pardon and Amnesty under Lincoln and Johnson, The Restoration of the Confederates to Their Rights and Privileges, 1861-1898. University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, North Carolina). 1953. p. 313–315