Presidential Pardons

The number of pardons granted by U.S. presidents since 1789

by Mark Hughes

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U.S. presidents have wielded the power to issue pardons since it was granted to them in 1789 by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution. The number of pardons issued by a president has varied considerably. President George Washington issued 16 pardons between 1789 and 1797. Franklin D. Roosevelt granted the most— a jaw dropping 3,687 pardons. Roosevelt, however, is the only president to serve three terms—12 years—in office.

Two presidents did not grant any pardons during their administrations, William H. Harrison and James Garfield. Both men died soon after they became president, one month in the case of Harrison, who died of pneumonia, and six months in the case of Garfield, who was assassinated.

This table shows the number of pardons issued by every president from 1789 to the present.



President (Term of office) Number of Pardons President (term of office) Number of Pardons
George Washington (1789 to 1797) 16 Grover Cleveland (1885 to 1889, 1893 to 1897) 1,107*
John Adams (1797 to 1801) 21 Benjamin Harrison (1889 to 1893) 613
Thomas Jefferson (1801 to 1809) 119 William McKinley (1897 to 1901) 918*
James Madison (1809 to 1817) 196 Theodore Roosevelt (1901 to 1909) 981*
James Monroe (1817 to 1825) 419 William H. Taft (1909 to 1913) 758
John Quincy Adams (1825 to 1829) 183 Woodrow Wilson (1913 to 1921) 2,480
Andrew Jackson (1829 to 1837) 386 Warren Harding (1921 to 1923) 800
Martin Van Buren (1837 to 1841) 168 Calvin Coolidge (1923 to 1929) 1,545
William H. Harrison (1841) 0 Herbert Hoover (1929 to 1933) 1,385
John Tyler (1841 to 1845) 209 Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 to 1945) 3,687
James K. Polk (1845 to 1849) 268 Harry Truman (1945 to 1953) 2,044
Zachary Taylor (1849 to 1850) 38 Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 to 1961) 1,157
Millard Fillmore (1850 to 1853) 170 John F. Kennedy (1961 to 1963) 575
Franklin Pierce (1853 to 1857) 142 Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 to 1969) 1,187
James Buchanan (1857 to 1861) 150 Richard Nixon (1969 to 1974) 926
Abraham Lincoln (1861 to 1865) 343 Gerald Ford (1974 to 1977) 409
Andrew Johnson (1865 to 1869) 654 Jimmy Carter (1977 to 1981) 566
Ulysses S. Grant (1869 to 1877) 1,332 Ronald Reagan (1981 to 1989) 406
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877 to 1881) 893 George H.W. Bush (1989 to 1993) 77
James Garfield (1881) 0 Bill Clinton (1993 to 2001) 456
Chester Arthur (1881 to 1885) 337 George W. Bush (2001 to 2009) 176
    Barack Obama (2009 to 2017) 23

*indicates estimate
Source: United States Department of Justice (USDOJ); University of Pittsburg, Jurist Legal Intelligence

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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