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A Consequential Decision
A Long-Awaited Pardon
As punishment for fighting for the Confederacy, Lee, like all other Confederates, lost his rights as a US citizen. To regain those rights, Lee submitted a request for a presidential pardon two months after his surrender. His request was denied, and he died without his rights restored. Still, his action inspired thousands to follow his lead—the first real step toward reunification.
Using Lee’s desk in this room, President Gerald Ford officially pardoned Lee in 1975.
“General Lee’s character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride.”
–President Gerald Ford, August 5, 1975
Center Hall | Conservatory | Custis Bedchamber | Custis Guest Room | Dining Room | Family Parlor | Hunting Hall | Morning Room | Office | School Room | White Parlor | South Slave Quarters Museum Exhibit | Smokehouse | Selina Gray's Quarters | North Slave Quarters Museum Exhibit | Miss Judy's Quarters | George Clark's Room and Summer Kitchen | Museum
Last updated: August 24, 2021