1958 U.S. Public Law 85-425 Does Not Give “Confederate Vets” U.S. Vet Status

info on PL 85-425 (2) Statement above incorrectly asserts Public Law 85-425 gives “Confederate veterans” U.S. veterans status, it doesn’t.

Since the violence in Charlottesville Virginia last week between alt-left anarchist agitators and white supremacist rally goers there is an increase in internet traffic that says that in 1958 Congress bestowed U.S. veteran status on “Confederate veterans.”

Without saying as much “Confederate” supporters hope you will believe that their words will in effect, give you a sense that “confederate vets” were pardoned by Congress. Nothing is further from the truth.

A simple reading of the law states that it grants pensions to “Confederate veterans” and their widows nothing more.

A 2015 article titled, “Busting the myth that Congress made Confederate vets into U.S. vets” confers with this proper understanding of the law. It states in part,

“[Public Law 85-425 ] certainly does not ‘pardon’ Confederate veterans, nor does it generally give them status ‘equal to’ U.S. veterans.”

Pertinent parts of the preamble and the law read,

Public Law 85-425


” …provide pensions to widows of veterans who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.”



“SEC. 410. The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval service of the United States.”

The law has been seen as symbolic in nature as the time of passing of this law there were only two surviving “Confederate veterans” living.


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