|TR at his desk in the White House, 1902 (Credit: LC)|
Although Theodore Roosevelt is a popular focus of research and commentary, I am aware of no detailed analysis of his use of the pardon power, either as governor or president, systematic or otherwise. This paper explores Roosevelt's public commentary on pardons and compares it with his actual use of the power. Data are presented on the number of pardons, the offenses addressed as well as the reasons/justifications for the grants. I then show that the circumstances in which Roosevelt exercised clemency are remarkably similar to the clemency environment today. The difference is the manner in which recent presidents have responded to that environment. Finally, I note that recent scholars and observers of the pardon power have increasingly become attracted to a model that Roosevelt strongly supported: the creation and use of a separate and independent board to administer the pardon power.