Federal Test Acts 12 Stat. 430 (1862) 12 Stat. 502 (1862) 13 Stat. 424 (1865) 23 Stat. 21 (1868)
FEDERAL TEST ACTS 12 Stat. 430 (1862) 12 Stat. 502 (1862) 13 Stat. 424 (1865) 23 Stat. 21 (1868)
Early in the civil war northern state and federal officials on an ad hoc basis administered oaths of allegiance to civilians suspected of disloyalty. In June 1862 Congress enacted the "jurors' test oath" which required persons sitting on federal grand and petit juries to swear to future loyalty and that they had not, in the past, voluntarily supported or given "aid or comfort" to the rebellion. The "Ironclad Test Oath" statute, enacted by Congress in July 1862, required all federal officeholders, except the President and vice-president, to swear they had "never voluntarily borne arms against the United States," aided the rebellion, nor "sought nor accepted nor attempted to exercise" any office under the Confederacy. In 1864 the United States senaterequired that its members take this oath. In 1865 the "ironclad oath" was extended to attorneys practicing in federal courts, but in Ex parte Garland (1867) (one of the test oath cases) this extension was declared unconstitutional. From 1864 until 1868 the "ironclad oath" kept former Confederates from holding federal offices or being seated in Congress. After 1868 the Republican-dominated Congress allowed exceptions for members of their party (and later Democrats) who had served the Confederacy. The "jurors' oath" was used to prevent former Confederates from serving on juries until the repeal of all test oaths in 1884.