History of Presidential Pardon
| The power to pardon was a privilege given to the English Kings where he could turn around any sentence given to an individual. When it was initially introduced, there was no limitation on the power given to the King. During the reign of King Charles II between the years 1660 – 1685, impeachment sentence was removed from the pardoning power. This change in the rule is followed even today.
In the late years of the 18th century, when the initial set of laws was developed for the constitution of the US, the founders did not include the power of pardoning. As a matter of fact, it was not accepted by many.
For example, George Mason who was an important backer to the Virginia Plan thought that this power was a grave mistake if given to just a single head. Americans, who considered the rule of King George III as tyrannical, agreed with him.
However, Alexander Hamilton thought that the pardoning of a king was a very important tool for governance. He was able to convince the law makers of the constitution to include the power of presidential pardon. He believed that it would be very useful in some critical situations to save national crisis.
This has proved very useful at a later date several times. For example, President George Washington used this power during the revolt of 1794 by the farmers when taxes were levied by the US government on the corn crops. When the revolting farmers were pardoned for rebelling, the situation was quietly brought under control without further damage.
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