In Pardons, Kathleen Dean Moore addresses a host of crucial questions surrounding acts of clemency, including what justifies pardoning power, who should be pardoned, and the definition of an unforgivable crime. Illustrating her arguments with rich and fascinating historical examples–some scandalous or funny, others inspiring or tragic–Moore examines the philosophy of pardons from King James II’s practice of selling pardons for two shillings, through the debates of the Founding Fathers over pardoning power, to the record low number of pardons during recent U. S. administrations. Carefully analyzing the moral justification of clemency, Moore focuses on presidential pardons, revealing that over and over again–after the Civil War, after Prohibition, after the Vietnam War, and after Watergate–controversies about pardons have arisen at times when circumstances have prevented people from thinking dispassionately about them. Her groundbreaking study concludes with recommendations for the reform of presidential pardoning practices.