To Forgive or Not to Forgive? A Reappraisal of Vietnam War Evaders and Deserters in President Gerald Ford's Clemency Program
Date of Award
Robert L Dupont
John D. Fitzmorris III
In 1974, President Ford began the arduous task of healing the wounds sustained by the United States during the Vietnam War. His controversial clemency plan gave those who had either deserted the military or those who evaded the draft the chance to earn their way back into American society. President Ford was willing to face this opposition to move the country closer to resolving an issue that was tearing the nation apart. In the applications to Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board, thousands of deserters and evaders reveal their motivations, and in doing so present a large body of evidence that contradicts the usual perception of the Vietnam “draft-dodger” and deserter. In the transition between the hardline anti-clemency position of President Nixon, and the full clemency position of President Carter, Ford took strong measures to achieve resolution, and the evidence herein could suggest a reappraisal of the Ford presidency.
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Carver, Courtney, "To Forgive or Not to Forgive? A Reappraisal of Vietnam War Evaders and Deserters in President Gerald Ford's Clemency Program" (2018). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2523.
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