Oath of Allegiance for Jacob F. Strait of Chester, 31 August 1865
President Abraham Lincoln had introduced the idea of former Confederates re-entering the Union through an oath of allegiance before the Civil War was over. In 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation, which offered to pardon most former Confederates who would swear to uphold the US Constitution and would reinstate any state into the Union once ten percent of its 1860 voting population took the oath and established a new government. Congress attempted to amend this proclamation in 1864 with the Wade-Davis bill, which required one-half of the state white male population to take the oath before the state could re-enter the Union. Ultimately, President Andrew Johnson offered amnesty to any former Confederate who took the oath, except those having a post-war fortune of over $20,000 who had to apply for a presidential pardon. He appointed provisional governors to call a state constitutional convention to draw up new constitutions supporting the Union and outlawing slavery.
This document, an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, was signed by Jacob F. Strait. The oath states that the signer will "abide by and faithfully support all Laws and Proclamations...with reference to the Emancipation of Slaves."
Oath of Allegiance for Jacob F. Strait. 31 August 1865. Papers of the Gaston, Strait, Wylie and Baskin Families. South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.
HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES FORCES,
No. 372 PROVOST MARSHAL’S OFFICE.
Chester, S.C., Aug. 31, 1865.
I, Jacob F. Strait, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the State thereunder, and that I will, in like manner, abide by and faithfully support all Laws and Proclamations which have been made during the existing Rebellion with reference to the Emancipation of Slaves – “So help me God.”
Sworn to and subscribed before me, at Chester S.C., this 31 day of Aug., 1865.
[signed] Jacob F. Strait
[signed] Edw. Cahill Cap[??], Provost Marshal
Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.
Indicators 3-4.7 Summarize the effects of Reconstruction in South Carolina, including the development of public education, racial advancements and tensions, and economic changes.
Standard 8-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of Reconstruction on the people and government of South Carolina.
Indicator 8-4.2 Summarize Reconstruction in South Carolina and its effects on daily life in South Carolina, including the experiences of plantation owners, small farmers, freedmen, women, and northern immigrants.