On DECEMBER 8, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his plan to accept back into the Union those who had been in the Confederacy. He wrote: "Whereas it is now desired by some persons heretofore engaged in said rebellion to resume their allegiance to the United States...Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do proclaim, declare, and make known to all persons who have, directly or by implication, participated in the existing rebellion...that a full pardon is hereby granted to them...with restoration of all rights of property...upon the condition that every such person shall take and subscribe an oath...to wit: "I, ____, do solemnly swear, in presence of Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of the States thereunder, and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all acts of Congress passed during the existing rebellion with reference to slaves...and that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all proclamations of the President made during the existing rebellion having reference to slaves....So help me God."