The following links provide access to both a manuscript and supporting information recently published in Carbon. The study details a novel process in how to partially graphitize activated carbon by the addition of specific, electron-withdrawing surface oxygen groups. A mechanism is proposed and experimentally supported which indicates that the chemically induced partial graphitization method is only effective for carbon substrates which contain a relatively low density of total acidity. Structure/function relationships are explored such as specific surface oxygen group concentration and their effects on surface olefin pi-bond formation, 6-fold aromatic ring concentration/bond strength, crystallite dimension changes, along with changes in the relative density of total acidity. Such pre-treatment processes are directly applicable for creating a more electrochemically robust carbon substrate while also implementing effective surface oxygen group anchoring sites and increased solvated ion and nanoparticle pore-accessibility.