Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford

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Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. As the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities...

 (after Spiro Agnew
Spiro Agnew
Spiro Theodore Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the United States , serving under President Richard Nixon, and the 55th Governor of Maryland...

 had resigned), when he became President upon Richard Nixon's
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the only President of the United States who was never elected President nor Vice-President by the Electoral College. Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as the Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Michigan's 5th congressional district
Michigan's 5th congressional district
Michigan's 5th congressional district is a United States congressional district in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.It is currently a mostly industrial area , with Tuscola County being the main exception. It encompasses much of the area south of Saginaw Bay...

, eight of them as the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Minority Leader
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives
Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. The U.S. House of Representatives does not officially use the term "Minority Leader", although the media frequently does...

.

As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords
Helsinki Accords
thumb|300px|[[Erich Honecker]] and [[Helmut Schmidt]] in Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in Helsinki 1975....

, marking a move toward détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. With the conquest of South Vietnam
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

 by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over arguably the worst economy since the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, with growing inflation and a recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

 during his tenure. One of his more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

. During Ford's incumbency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 for the Republican nomination, but lost the presidential election
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

 to Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died in his home
Death and state funeral of Gerald Ford
On December 26, 2006, Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at 6:45 p.m. local time . At 8:49 p.m...

 on December 26, 2006. He lived longer than any other U.S. president, dying at 93 years and 165 days.

Childhood


Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., on July 14, 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

, where his parents lived with his paternal grandparents. His mother was Dorothy Ayer Gardner
Dorothy Ayer Gardner Ford
Dorothy Ayer Gardner King Ford was the mother of U.S. President Gerald Ford.-Early life and marriage:...

, and his father was Leslie Lynch King, Sr.
Leslie Lynch King, Sr.
Leslie Lynch King, Sr. was the biological father of U.S. President Gerald Ford. Because of his alcoholism and abusive behavior, his wife Dorothy Gardner left him sixteen days after the birth of their son...

, a wool trader and son of prominent banker Charles Henry King
Charles Henry King
Charles Henry King was an Omaha businessman and banker who was instrumental in founding several cities in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming. He saw opportunity with the expansion of the railroad west and built up related retail businesses, banks and freight operations. His fortune was estimated...

 and Martha King. Dorothy separated from King just sixteen days after her son's birth. She took her son with her to the Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb bordering the west side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is the twenty-fifth largest municipality in Illinois. Oak Park has easy access to downtown Chicago due to public transportation such as the Chicago 'L' Blue and Green lines,...

 home of her sister Tannisse and brother-in-law, Clarence Haskins James. From there, she moved to the home of her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and Adele Augusta Ayer in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is located on the Grand River about 40 miles east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 774,160 and a combined statistical area, Grand...

. Dorothy and King divorced in December 1913; she gained full custody of her son. Ford's paternal grandfather Charles Henry King paid child support until shortly before his death in 1930.
Ford later said his biological father had a history of hitting his mother. James M. Cannon, a member of the Ford administration, wrote in a Ford biography that the Kings' separation and divorce were sparked when, a few days after Ford's birth, Leslie King threatened Dorothy with a butcher knife and threatened to kill her, Ford, and Ford's nursemaid. Ford later told confidantes that his father had first hit his mother on their honeymoon for smiling at another man.

After two and a half years with her parents, on February 1, 1916, Dorothy married Gerald Rudolff Ford
Gerald Rudolff Ford
Gerald Rudolff Ford was a Grand Rapids businessman and Republican politician who was the stepfather of U.S...

, a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company. They then called her son Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr. The future president was never formally adopted
Adoption
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

, however, and he did not legally change his name until December 3, 1935; he also used a more conventional spelling of his middle name. He was raised in Grand Rapids
East Grand Rapids, Michigan
East Grand Rapids is a city in Kent County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city is a suburb of Grand Rapids and is located on the shore of Reeds Lake. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,694.-Geography:...

 with his three half brothers by his mother's second marriage: Thomas Gardner Ford (1918–1995), Richard Addison Ford (born 1924), and James Francis Ford (1927–2001).

Ford also had three half-siblings from his father's second marriage: Marjorie King (1921–1993), Leslie Henry King (1923–1976), and Patricia Jane King (born 1925). They never saw one another as children and he did not know them at all. Ford was not aware of his biological father until he was 17, when his parents told him about the circumstances of his birth. That year his father Leslie King, whom Ford described as a "carefree, well-to-do man who didn't really give a damn about the hopes and dreams of his firstborn son", approached Ford while he was waiting tables in a Grand Rapids restaurant. The two "maintained a sporadic contact" until Leslie King, Sr.'s death.

Ford maintained his distance emotionally, saying, "My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn't have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing."

Scouting and athletics




Ford was involved in The Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

, and earned that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout
Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America)
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America . A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men...

. In later years, Ford received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is a distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America . It is awarded to an Eagle Scout for distinguished service in his profession and to his community for a period of at least 25 years after attaining the level of Eagle Scout...

 in May 1970 and Silver Buffalo Award
Silver Buffalo Award
The Silver Buffalo Award is the national-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting program...

 from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the only U.S. president who was an Eagle Scout. Scouting
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 was so important to Ford that his family asked that Scouts participate in his funeral. About 400 Eagle Scouts were part of the funeral procession, where they formed an honor guard as the casket went by in front of the museum. A few selected scouts served as ushers inside the National Cathedral.

Ford attended Grand Rapids South High School and was a star athlete and captain
Captain (sports)
In team sports, a captain is a title given to a member of the team. The title is frequently honorary, but in some cases the captain may have significant responsibility for strategy and teamwork while the game is in progress on the field...

 of his football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 team. In 1930, he was selected to the All-City team of the Grand Rapids City League
Grand Rapids City League
The Grand Rapids City League was a high school athletic league in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1909, the league's final membership consisted of the four public high schools of the Grand Rapids Public Schools that offered interscholastic sports, plus two parochial private schools and one...

. He also attracted the attention of college recruiters.

Attending the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 as an undergraduate, Ford played center
Center (American football)
Center is a position in American football and Canadian football . The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense...

 and linebacker
Linebacker
A linebacker is a position in American football that was invented by football coach Fielding H. Yost of the University of Michigan. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen...

 for the school's football team and helped the Wolverines
Michigan Wolverines football
The Michigan Wolverines football program represents the University of Michigan in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Michigan has the most all-time wins and the highest winning percentage in college football history...

 to undefeated seasons and national titles
NCAA Division I FBS National Football Championship
A college football national championship in the highest level of collegiate play in the United States, currently the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision , is a designation awarded annually by various third-party organizations to their selection of the best...

 in 1932
1932 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1932 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1932 college football season. The team's head football coach was Harry Kipke...

 and 1933
1933 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1933 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1933 college football season. The team's head football coach was Harry Kipke...

. The team suffered a steep decline in his 1934
1934 Michigan Wolverines football team
The 1934 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1934 college football season. The team's head coach was Harry G. Kipke...

 senior year, however, winning only one game. Ford was the team's star nonetheless, and after a game during which Michigan held heavily favored Minnesota
Minnesota Golden Gophers football
The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers are one of the oldest programs in college football history. They compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and the Big Ten Conference. The Golden Gophers have claimed six national championships and have an all time record of 646–481–44 as...

 (the eventual national champion) to a scoreless tie in the first half, assistant coach Bennie Oosterbaan
Bennie Oosterbaan
Benjamin Gaylord "Bennie" Oosterbaan was a three-time first team All-American football end for the Michigan Wolverines football team, two-time All-American basketball player for the basketball team and an All-Big Ten Conference baseball player for the baseball team...

 later said, "When I walked into the dressing room at half time, I had tears in my eyes I was so proud of them. Ford and [Cedric] Sweet played their hearts out. They were everywhere on defense." Ford later recalled, "During 25 years in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, I often thought of the experiences before, during, and after that game in 1934. Remembering them has helped me many times to face a tough situation, take action, and make every effort possible despite adverse odds." His teammates later voted Ford their most valuable player, with one assistant coach noting, "They felt Jerry was one guy who would stay and fight in a losing cause."

During the same season, in a game against the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, Ford "became the only future U.S. president to tackle a future Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 winner when he brought down running back Jay Berwanger
Jay Berwanger
John Jacob "Jay" Berwanger was an American football halfback born in Dubuque, Iowa. He was the first winner of the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy in 1935 ; the trophy is awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding college football player...

, who would win the first Heisman the following year." In 1934, Ford was selected for the Eastern Team on the Shriner's East West Crippled Children game at San Francisco (a benefit for crippled children), played on January 1, 1935. As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 in an exhibition game at Soldier Field
Soldier Field
Soldier Field is located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in the Near South Side. It is home to the NFL's Chicago Bears...

. By virtue of Ford's later career as President of the United States, the University of Michigan retired Ford's No.48 jersey
Jersey (clothing)
A jersey is an item of knitted clothing, traditionally in wool or cotton, with sleeves, worn as a pullover, as it does not open at the front, unlike a cardigan. It is usually close-fitting and machine knitted in contrast to a guernsey that is more often hand knit with a thicker yarn...

 in 1994.

Ford remained interested in football and his school throughout life, occasionally attending games. Ford also visited with players and coaches during practices, at one point asking to join the players in the huddle. Ford often had the Naval band play the University of Michigan fight song, The Victors
The Victors
"The Victors" is the fight song of the University of Michigan . It was composed by UM student Louis Elbel in 1898 following the last-minute football victory over the University of Chicago that clinched a league championship...

, before state events instead of Hail to the Chief
Hail to the Chief
"Hail to the Chief" is a march primarily associated with the President of the United States. Its playing accompanies the appearance of the President at many public appearances. For major official occasions, the United States Marine Band and other military ensembles generally are the performers, so...

. He also selected the song to be played during his funeral procession at the U.S. Capitol. On his death in December 2006, the University of Michigan Marching Band played the fight song for him one final time, for his last ride from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ford was also an avid golfer. In 1977, he shot a hole in one
Hole in one
In golf, a hole in one or hole-in-one is when a player hits the ball directly from the tee into the cup with one shot. This is most possible on a par 3 hole. Longer hitters have accomplished this feat on shorter par 4 holes...

 during a Pro-am held in conjunction with the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club
Colonial Country Club (Memphis)
For the club in Fort Myers, see Colonial Country Club Colonial Country Club is a private golf club in Cordova, Tennessee . For many years, it was host to an annual PGA Tour event.- History :...

 in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. He received the 1985 Old Tom Morris Award
Old Tom Morris Award
The Old Tom Morris Award is the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's most prestigious honor. It is presented each year to an individual who "through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by...

 from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America was originally founded in 1926 when 60 superintendents met at the Sylvania Country Club in Toledo, Ohio to form the National Association of Greenkeepers of America ....

, GCSAA's highest honor.

Education


At Michigan, Ford became a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon is a fraternity founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 men of the sophomore class who had not been invited to join the two existing societies...

 fraternity (Omicron chapter) and washed dishes at his fraternity house to earn money for college expenses. Following his graduation in 1935 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, he turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League , and play their home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.Originally based in Portsmouth, Ohio and...

 and Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

 of the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. Ford continued to contribute to football and boxing, accepting an assistant coaching job for both at Yale in September 1935.

Ford hoped to attend Yale's law school beginning in 1935 while serving as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach. Yale officials at first denied his admission to the law school, because of his full-time coaching responsibilities. He spent the summer of 1937 as a student at the University of Michigan Law School
University of Michigan Law School
The University of Michigan Law School is the law school of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Founded in 1859, the school has an enrollment of about 1,200 students, most of whom are seeking Juris Doctor or Master of Laws degrees, although the school also offers a Doctor of Juridical...

 and was eventually admitted in spring 1938 to Yale Law School
Yale Law School
Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Established in 1824, it offers the J.D., LL.M., J.S.D. and M.S.L. degrees in law. It also hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers...

. Ford earned his LL.B. degree in 1941 (later amended to Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

), graduating in the top 25 percent of his class. His introduction to politics came in the summer of 1940 when he worked in Wendell Willkie
Wendell Willkie
Wendell Lewis Willkie was a corporate lawyer in the United States and a dark horse who became the Republican Party nominee for the president in 1940. A member of the liberal wing of the GOP, he crusaded against those domestic policies of the New Deal that he thought were inefficient and...

's presidential campaign.
While attending Yale Law School, he joined a group of students led by R. Douglas Stuart, Jr.
R. Douglas Stuart, Jr.
Robert Douglas Stuart, Jr. was an heir to the Quaker Oats Company fortune; the founder of the America First Committee in 1940; CEO of Quaker Oats from 1966 to 1981; and United States Ambassador to Norway from 1984 to 1989.-Biography:Stuart was born in Winnetka,...

, and signed a petition to enforce the 1939 Neutrality Act. The petition was circulated nationally and was the inspiration for the America First Committee
America First Committee
The America First Committee was the foremost non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. Peaking at 800,000 members, it was likely the largest anti-war organization in American history. Started in 1940, it became defunct after the attack on Pearl Harbor in...

, a group determined to keep the U.S. out of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Ford graduated from law school in 1941, and was admitted to the Michigan bar
Bar (law)
Bar in a legal context has three possible meanings: the division of a courtroom between its working and public areas; the process of qualifying to practice law; and the legal profession.-Courtroom division:...

 shortly thereafter. In May 1941, he opened a Grand Rapids law practice with a friend, Philip W. Buchen
Philip W. Buchen
Philip W. Buchen was an American attorney who served as White House Counsel during the Ford Administration. While still a child he contracted polio and thereafter walked with a cane.-Education:Buchen graduated from Sheboygan High School in 1935...

, who would later serve as Ford's White House counsel. But overseas developments caused a change in plans, and Ford responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 by enlisting in the Navy.

Naval service in World War II



Ford received a commission as ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve
United States Navy Reserve
The United States Navy Reserve, until 2005 known as the United States Naval Reserve, is the Reserve Component of the United States Navy...

 on April 13, 1942. On April 20, he reported for active duty to the V-5 instructor school at Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland, as well as the county seat of Anne Arundel County. It had a population of 38,394 at the 2010 census and is situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, south of Baltimore and about east of Washington, D.C. Annapolis is...

. After one month of training, he went to Navy Preflight School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is a town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States and the home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care...

, where he was one of 83 instructors and taught elementary navigation skills, ordnance, gunnery, first aid and military drill. In addition, he coached in all nine sports that were offered, but mostly in swimming, boxing and football. During the one year he was at the Preflight School, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, United States Merchant Marine USMM, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade...

 on June 2, 1942, and to Lieutenant in March 1943.

Applying for sea duty, Ford was sent in May 1943 to the pre-commissioning detachment for the new aircraft carrier , at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey
Camden, New Jersey
The city of Camden is the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 77,344...

. From the ship's commissioning on June 17, 1943, until the end of December 1944, Ford served as the assistant navigator, Athletic Officer, and antiaircraft battery officer on board the Monterey. While he was on board, the carrier participated in many actions in the Pacific Theater
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

 with the Third and Fifth Fleets in late 1943 and 1944. In 1943, the carrier helped secure Makin Island
Makin (islands)
Makin is the name of a chain of islands located in the Pacific Ocean island nation of Kiribati, specifically in the Gilbert Islands.-Geography:...

 in the Gilberts, and participated in carrier strikes against Kavieng
Kavieng
Kavieng is the capital of the Papua New Guinean province of New Ireland and the largest town on the island of the same name. The town is located at Balgai Bay, on the northern tip of the island. As of 2000, it had a population of 10,600....

, New Ireland in 1943. During the spring of 1944, the Monterey supported landings at Kwajalein
Kwajalein
Kwajalein Atoll , is part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands . The southernmost and largest island in the atoll is named Kwajalein Island. English-speaking residents of the U.S...

 and Eniwetok and participated in carrier strikes in the Marianas
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

, Western Carolines
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

, and northern New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

, as well as in the Battle of the Philippine Sea
Battle of the Philippine Sea
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a decisive naval battle of World War II which effectively eliminated the Imperial Japanese Navy's ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. It took place during the United States' amphibious invasion of the Mariana Islands during the Pacific War...

. After overhaul, from September to November 1944, aircraft from the Monterey launched strikes against Wake Island
Wake Island
Wake Island is a coral atoll having a coastline of in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way from Honolulu west to Guam east. It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior...

, participated in strikes in the Philippines and Ryukyus
Ryukyu Islands
The , also known as the , is a chain of islands in the western Pacific, on the eastern limit of the East China Sea and to the southwest of the island of Kyushu in Japan. From about 1829 until the mid 20th century, they were alternately called Luchu, Loochoo, or Lewchew, akin to the Mandarin...

, and supported the landings at Leyte
Leyte Island
Leyte is an island in the Visayas group of the Philippines.The island measures about 180 km north-south and about 65 km at its widest point. In the north it nearly joins Samar, separated by the San Juanico Strait, which becomes as narrow as 2 km in some places...

 and Mindoro
Mindoro
Mindoro is the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. It is located off the coast of Luzon, and northeast of Palawan. The southern coast of Mindoro forms the northeastern extremum of the Sulu Sea.-History:...

.
Although the ship was not damaged by Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 forces, the Monterey was one of several ships damaged by the typhoon that hit Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 William Halsey's
William Halsey, Jr.
Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey, Jr., United States Navy, , was a U.S. Naval officer. He commanded the South Pacific Area during the early stages of the Pacific War against Japan...

 Third Fleet on December 18–19, 1944. The Third Fleet lost three destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s and over 800 men during the typhoon. The Monterey was damaged by a fire, which was started by several of the ship's aircraft tearing loose from their cables and colliding on the hangar deck. During the storm, Ford narrowly avoided becoming a casualty himself. As he was going to his battle station on the bridge of the ship in the early morning of December 18, the ship rolled twenty-five degrees, which caused Ford to lose his footing and slide toward the edge of the deck. The two-inch steel ridge around the edge of the carrier slowed him enough so he could roll, and he twisted into the catwalk below the deck. As he later stated, "I was lucky; I could have easily gone overboard."

Because of the extent of the fires, Admiral Halsey ordered Captain Ingersoll to abandon ship. Instead Captain Ingersoll ordered Ford to lead a fire brigade below. After five hours he and his team had put out the fire.

After the fire the Monterey was declared unfit for service, and the crippled carrier reached Ulithi
Ulithi
Ulithi is an atoll in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, about 191 km east of Yap. It consists of 40 islets totalling , surrounding a lagoon about long and up to wide—at one of the largest in the world. It is administered by the state of Yap in the Federated States of...

 on December 21 before continuing across the Pacific to Bremerton, Washington
Bremerton, Washington
Bremerton is a city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. The population was 38,790 at the 2011 State Estimate, making it the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula. Bremerton is home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of Naval Base Kitsap...

 where it underwent repairs. On December 24, 1944, at Ulithi, Ford was detached from the ship and sent to the Navy Pre-Flight School at Saint Mary's College of California
Saint Mary's College of California
Saint Mary's College of California is a private, coeducational college located in Moraga, California, United States, a small suburban community about east of Oakland and 20 miles east of San Francisco. It has a 420-acre campus in the Moraga hills. It is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church...

, where he was assigned to the Athletic Department until April 1945. One of his duties was to coach football. From the end of April 1945 to January 1946, he was on the staff of the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois as the Staff Physical and Military Training Officer. On October 3, 1945, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In January 1946, he was sent to the Separation Center, Great Lakes
Naval Station Great Lakes
Naval Station Great Lakes is the home of the United States Navy's only boot camp, located near the city of North Chicago, Illinois, in Lake County. Important tenant commands include the Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago...

 to be processed out. He was released from active duty under honorable conditions on February 23, 1946. On June 28, 1946, the Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization of the Department of Defense...

 accepted Ford's resignation from the Naval Reserve.

For his naval service, Gerald Ford earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal is a service decoration of the Second World War which was awarded to any member of the United States military who served in the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945 and was created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The medal was...

 with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands
Gilbert Islands
The Gilbert Islands are a chain of sixteen atolls and coral islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are the main part of Republic of Kiribati and include Tarawa, the site of the country's capital and residence of almost half of the population.-Geography:The atolls and islands of the Gilbert Islands...

, Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago
The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea.-History:...

, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation. He also received the Philippine Liberation Medal
Philippine Liberation Medal
The Philippine Liberation Medal is a military award of the Republic of the Philippines which was created by an order of Commonwealth Army of the Philippines Headquarters on December 20, 1944...

 with two bronze stars for Leyte and Mindoro, as well as the American Campaign
American Campaign Medal
The American Campaign Medal was a military decoration of the United States armed forces which was first created on November 6, 1942 by issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt...

 and World War II Victory Medal
World War II Victory Medal
The World War II Victory Medal is a decoration of the United States military which was created by an act of Congress in July 1945. The decoration commemorates military service during World War II and is awarded to any member of the United States military, including members of the armed forces of...

s.

Ford was a member of several civic organizations, including the American Legion
American Legion
The American Legion is a mutual-aid organization of veterans of the United States armed forces chartered by the United States Congress. It was founded to benefit those veterans who served during a wartime period as defined by Congress...

, AMVETS
AMVETS
AMVETS or American Veterans is a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans which accepts honorably discharged veterans as members....

, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is an American fraternal order and social club founded in 1868...

, Sons of the Revolution, and Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a congressionally chartered war veterans organization in the United States. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VFW currently has 1.5 million members belonging to 7,644 posts, and is the largest American organization of combat...

.

Gerald R. Ford was initiated into Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 on September 30, 1949. He later said in 1975, "When I took my obligation as a master mason—incidentally, with my three younger brothers—I recalled the value my own father attached to that order. But I had no idea that I would ever be added to the company of the Father of our Country and 12 other members of the order who also served as Presidents of the United States."

Marriage and children



On October 15, 1948, at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Ford married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren
Betty Ford
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford , better known as Betty Ford, was First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford...

 (1918–2011), a department store fashion consultant. Warren had been a John Robert Powers
John Robert Powers
John Robert Powers was an American actor and founder of a prominent New York City modeling agency.In 1923, John Robert Powers founded a modeling agency. The John Robert Powers Agency represented many models who went on to success in the Hollywood film industry, and even Betty Bloomer who became...

 fashion model and a dancer in the auxiliary troupe of the Martha Graham
Martha Graham
Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.She danced and choreographed for over seventy years...

 Dance Company. She had previously been married to and divorced from William G. Warren.

At the time of his engagement, Ford was campaigning for what would be his first of thirteen terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The wedding was delayed until shortly before the elections because, as The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

reported in a 1974 profile of Betty Ford, "Jerry was running for Congress and wasn't sure how voters might feel about his marrying a divorced ex-dancer."

The couple had four children:
  • Michael Gerald
    Michael Gerald Ford
    Michael Gerald Ford is the oldest of four children of former U.S. president Gerald R. Ford and his wife Betty Ford.He is a minister, and leads the Office of Student Development, which oversees all student organizations at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina...

    , born in 1950
  • John Gardner
    John Gardner Ford
    John "Jack" Gardner Ford is the second child and second son of U.S. President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford.In 1977, with William Randolph Hearst III and Jann Wenner, he was part of the founding staff of the magazine Outside...

    , known as Jack, born in 1952
  • Steven Meigs, born in 1956
  • Susan Elizabeth, born in 1957

House of Representatives



After returning to Grand Rapids, Ford became active in local Republican politics, and supporters urged him to take on Bartel J. Jonkman
Bartel J. Jonkman
Bartel John Jonkman was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.Jonkman was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he attended the public schools. He graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan in 1914, was admitted to the bar the same year, and commenced practice in Grand...

, the incumbent Republican congressman. Military service had changed his view of the world; "I came back a converted internationalist
Internationalism (politics)
Internationalism is a political movement which advocates a greater economic and political cooperation among nations for the theoretical benefit of all...

", Ford wrote, "and of course our congressman at that time was an avowed, dedicated isolationist
United States non-interventionism
Non-interventionism, the diplomatic policy whereby a nation seeks to avoid alliances with other nations in order to avoid being drawn into wars not related to direct territorial self-defense, has had a long history in the United States...

. And I thought he ought to be replaced. Nobody thought I could win. I ended up winning two to one."
During his first campaign in 1948, Ford visited voters at their doorsteps and as they left the factories where they worked. Ford also visited local farms where, in one instance, a wager resulted in Ford spending two weeks milking cows following his election victory. Ford was known to his colleagues in the House as a "Congressman's Congressman".

Ford was a member of the House of Representatives for twenty-five years, holding the Grand Rapids congressional district
Congressional district
A congressional district is “a geographical division of a state from which one member of the House of Representatives is elected.”Congressional Districts are made up of three main components, a representative, constituents, and the specific land area that both the representative and the...

 seat from 1949 to 1973. It was a tenure largely notable for its modesty. As an editorial in The New York Times described him, Ford "saw himself as a negotiator and a reconciler, and the record shows it: he did not write a single piece of major legislation in his entire career".
Appointed to the House Appropriations Committee
United States House Committee on Appropriations
The Committee on Appropriations is a committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is in charge of setting the specific expenditures of money by the government of the United States...

 two years after being elected, he was a prominent member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
The House Subcommittee on Defense is a standing subcommittee within the United States House Committee on Appropriations.-Members, 112th Congress:-External links:* Official page...

. Ford described his philosophy as "a moderate in domestic affairs, an internationalist in foreign affairs, and a conservative in fiscal policy".

In the early 1950s, Ford declined offers to run for both the Senate and the Michigan governorship. Rather, his ambition was to become Speaker of the House.

Warren Commission



In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 appointed Ford to the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 27, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

, a special task force set up to investigate the assassination
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

 of President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. Ford was assigned to prepare a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald was, according to four government investigations,These were investigations by: the Federal Bureau of Investigation , the Warren Commission , the House Select Committee on Assassinations , and the Dallas Police Department. the sniper who assassinated John F...

, the accused assassin. The Commission's work continues to be debated in the public arena.

In the preface to his book, A Presidential Legacy and The Warren Commission, Ford said the CIA destroyed or kept from investigators critical secrets connected to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He said the commission's probe put "certain classified and potentially damaging operations in danger of being exposed". The CIA's reaction, he added, "was to hide or destroy some information, which can easily be misinterpreted as collusion in JFK's assassination".

According to a 1963 FBI memo released in 2008, Ford secretly provided the FBI with information about two of his fellow commission members, both of whom were doubtful about the FBI's conclusions about the assassination. The FBI position was that President Kennedy was shot by a single gunman firing from the Texas Book Depository. Another 1963 memo released in 1978 stated that Representative Ford volunteered to advise the FBI regarding the content of the commission's deliberations if his involvement with the bureau was kept confidential, a condition which the bureau approved. Ford was an outspoken proponent of the single-assassin theory. According to the same reports, Ford had strong ties to the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover
J. Edgar Hoover
John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972...

.

House Minority Leader




In 1964, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson led a landslide victory for his party, securing another term as president and taking 36 seats from Republicans in the House of Representatives. Following the election, members of the Republican caucus looked to select a new Minority Leader. Three members approached Ford to see if he would be willing to serve; after consulting with his family, he agreed. After a closely contested election, Ford was chosen to replace Charles Halleck of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 as Minority Leader.

The Republicans had 140 seats in the House compared with the 295 seats held by the Democrats. Consequently, the Johnson Administration proposed and passed a series of programs termed by President Johnson as the "Great Society
Great Society
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States promoted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice...

". During the first session of the Eighty-ninth Congress
89th United States Congress
-House of Representatives:- Senate :* President of the Senate: Hubert Humphrey , starting January 20, 1965* President pro tempore: Carl Hayden - Majority leadership :* Majority Leader and Democratic Conference Chairman: Mike Mansfield...

 alone, the Johnson Administration submitted eighty-seven bills to Congress, and Johnson signed eighty-four, or 96%, arguably the most successful legislative agenda in U.S. Congressional history.

Criticism over the Johnson Administration's handling of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 began to grow in 1966, with Ford and Congressional Republicans expressing concern that the United States was not doing what was necessary to win the war. Public sentiment also began to move against Johnson, and the 1966 midterm elections saw a 47-seat swing in favor of the Republicans. This was not enough to give Republicans a majority in the House, but the victory did give Ford the opportunity to prevent the passage of further Great Society programs.

Ford's private criticism of the Vietnam War became public following a speech from the floor of the House, in which he questioned whether the White House had a clear plan to bring the war to a successful conclusion. The speech angered President Johnson, who accused Ford of playing "too much football without a helmet".

As Minority Leader in the House, Ford appeared in a popular series of televised press conferences with famed Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 Senator Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen
Everett McKinley Dirksen was an American politician of the Republican Party. He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate...

, in which they proposed Republican alternatives to Johnson's policies. Many in the press jokingly called this "The Ev and Jerry Show". Johnson said at the time, "Jerry Ford is so dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time." The press, used to sanitizing LBJ's salty language, reported this as "Gerald Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

Ford's role shifted under President Nixon to being an advocate for the White House agenda. Congress passed several of Nixon's proposals, including the National Environmental Policy Act
National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality ....

 and the Tax Reform Act of 1969
Tax Reform Act of 1969
The United States Tax Reform Act of 1969 was a federal tax law signed by president Richard Nixon in 1969. The largest impact of the act was the creation of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was intended to tax high income earners otherwise exempt from income taxes through various exemptions and...

. Another high-profile victory for the Republican minority was the State and Local Fiscal Assistance act. Passed in 1972, the act established a Revenue Sharing
Revenue sharing
Revenue sharing has multiple, related meanings depending on context.In business, revenue sharing refers to the sharing of profits and losses among different groups. One form shares between the general partner and limited partners in a limited partnership...

 program for state and local governments. Ford's leadership was instrumental in shepherding revenue sharing through Congress, and resulted in a bipartisan coalition that supported the bill with 223 votes in favor (compared with 185 against).

During the eight years (1965–1973) he served as Minority Leader, Ford won many friends in the House because of his fair leadership and inoffensive personality. An office building in the U.S. Capitol Complex, House Annex 2, was renamed for Gerald Ford as the Ford House Office Building
Ford House Office Building
The Ford House Office Building is one of the four office buildings containing U.S. House of Representatives staff in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill....

.

Vice Presidency, 1973–74



On October 10, 1973, Vice President Agnew resigned and then pleaded no contest
Nolo contendere
is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.In criminal trials, and in some common law jurisdictions, it is a plea where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, serving as an alternative to a pleading of...

 to criminal charges of tax evasion and money laundering, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme in which he accepted $29,500 in bribes while governor of Maryland. According to The New York Times, "Nixon sought advice from senior Congressional leaders about a replacement. The advice was unanimous. 'We gave Nixon no choice but Ford,' House Speaker Carl Albert recalled later".

Ford was nominated to take Agnew's position on October 12, the first time the vice-presidential vacancy provision of the 25th Amendment
Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities...

 had been implemented. The United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 voted 92 to 3 to confirm Ford on November 27. Only three Senators, all Democrats, voted against Ford's confirmation: Gaylord Nelson
Gaylord Nelson
Gaylord Anton Nelson was an American politician from Wisconsin who served as a United States Senator and governor. A Democrat, he was the principal founder of Earth Day.-Public service and leadership:...

 of Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Francis Eagleton was a United States Senator from Missouri, serving from 1968–1987. He is best remembered for briefly being the Democratic vice presidential nominee under George McGovern in 1972...

 of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and William Hathaway
William Hathaway
William Dodd Hathaway is an American Democratic Party politician from Maine.He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served in World War II in the Army Air Corps, where he was shot down while bombing the Ploesti, Romania...

 of Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

. On December 6, the House confirmed Ford by a vote of 387 to 35. One hour after the confirmation vote in the House, Ford took the oath of office as Vice President of the United States. Ford's brief tenure as Vice-President was little noted by the media as reporters were preoccupied by the continuing revelations about the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

—a political scandal resulting from the discovery of a series of crimes committed during the 1972 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1972
The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard...

 and allegations of cover-ups by the White House.

Following Ford's appointment, the Watergate investigation continued until Chief of Staff
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

 Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

 contacted Ford on August 1, 1974, and told him that "smoking gun
Smoking gun
The term "smoking gun" was originally, and is still primarily, a reference to an object or fact that serves as conclusive evidence of a crime or similar act. In addition to this, its meaning has evolved in uses completely unrelated to criminal activity: for example, scientific evidence that is...

" evidence had been found. The evidence left little doubt that President Nixon had been a part of the Watergate cover-up. At the time, Ford and his wife, Betty, were living in suburban Virginia, waiting for their expected move into the newly-designated vice president's residence
Number One Observatory Circle
Number One Observatory Circle is the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.Located on the northeast grounds of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, the house was built in 1893 for its superintendent. The Chief of Naval Operations liked the house so much...

 in Washington, D.C. However, "Al Haig [asked] to come over and see me," Ford later related, "to tell me that there would be a new tape released on a Monday, and he said the evidence in there was devastating and there would probably be either an impeachment or a resignation. And he said, 'I'm just warning you that you've got to be prepared, that things might change dramatically and you could become President.' And I said, 'Betty, I don't think we're ever going to live in the vice president's house.

Accession


When Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Ford assumed the presidency, making him the only person to assume the vice-presidency and the presidency without having been voted into either office. Immediately after taking the oath of office in the East Room of the White House, he spoke to the assembled audience in a speech broadcast live to the nation. Ford noted the peculiarity of his position: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers." He went on to state:


He also stated:
A portion of the speech would later be memorialized with a plaque at the entrance to his presidential museum.

On August 20, Ford nominated former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 to fill the vice presidency he had vacated. Rockefeller's top competitor had been George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

. Rockefeller underwent extended hearings before Congress, which caused embarrassment when it was revealed he made large gifts to senior aides, such as Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

. Although conservative Republicans were not pleased that Rockefeller was picked, most of them voted for his confirmation, and his nomination passed both the House and Senate. Some, including Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

, voted against him.

Pardon of Nixon




On September 8, 1974, Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon
Pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

 for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country, and that the Nixon family's situation "is a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must." When he announced the Nixon pardon, Ford also introduced a conditional amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 program for Vietnam War draft dodger
Draft dodger
Draft evasion is a term that refers to an intentional failure to comply with the military conscription policies of the nation to which he or she is subject...

s who had fled to countries such as Canada. Unconditional amnesty, however, did not come about until the Jimmy Carter Presidency.

The Nixon pardon was highly controversial. Critics derided the move and claimed a "corrupt bargain
Corrupt Bargain
The term Corrupt Bargain refers to three separate events that each involved a United States presidential election and a deal that was struck that many viewed to be corrupt from many standpoints, such as in the Election of 1824 controversy over the House of Representative's choice for president with...

" had been struck between the men. They claimed Ford's pardon was granted in exchange for Nixon's resignation that elevated Ford to the Presidency. According to Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post....

, Nixon Chief of Staff Alexander Haig proposed a pardon deal to Ford. He later decided to pardon Nixon for other reasons, primarily the friendship he and Nixon shared. Regardless, historians believe the controversy was one of the major reasons Ford lost the election in 1976
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

, an observation with which Ford agreed. In an editorial at the time, The New York Times stated that the Nixon pardon was "a profoundly unwise, divisive and unjust act" that in a stroke had destroyed the new president's "credibility as a man of judgment, candor and competence".

Ford's first press secretary and close friend Jerald Franklin terHorst
Jerald terHorst
Jerald Franklin "Jerry" terHorst was the first person to serve as press secretary for U.S. President Gerald Ford. Before being appointed press secretary, terHorst had been a newspaper reporter from Michigan who had covered Ford's career since 1948.-Early career:Jerald terHorst was born in Grand...

 resigned his post in protest after President Nixon's full pardon. Ford also voluntarily appeared before Congress on October 17, 1974 to give sworn testimony—the only time a sitting president has done so—about the pardon.

After Ford left the White House in 1977, intimates said that the former President privately justified his pardon of Nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of Burdick v. United States
Burdick v. United States
Burdick v. United States, 236 U.S. 79 , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that:* A pardoned man must introduce the pardon into court proceedings, otherwise the pardon must be disregarded by the court....

, a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 decision which stated that a pardon indicated a presumption of guilt, and that acceptance of a pardon was tantamount to a confession of that guilt. In 2001, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
John F. Kennedy Library
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and museum of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. It is located on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, next to the Boston campus of the University of...

 awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
Profile in Courage Award
The Profile in Courage Award is a private award given to recognize displays of courage similar to those John F. Kennedy described in his book Profiles in Courage...

 to Ford for his pardon of Nixon. In presenting the award to Ford, Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 said that he had initially been opposed to the pardon of Nixon, but later stated that history had proved Ford to have made the correct decision.

Administration and cabinet


Upon assuming office, Ford inherited Nixon's cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

. During Ford's brief administration, only Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 Kissinger and Secretary of the Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

 William E. Simon
William E. Simon
William Edward Simon was a businessman, a Secretary of Treasury of the U.S. for three years, and a philanthropist. He became the 63rd Secretary of the Treasury on May 8, 1974, during the Nixon administration. He was reappointed by President Ford and served until 1977. Outside of government, he was...

 remained. Ford appointed William Coleman as Secretary of Transportation
United States Secretary of Transportation
The United States Secretary of Transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation, a member of the President's Cabinet, and fourteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966,...

, the second black man to serve in a presidential cabinet (after Robert Clifton Weaver) and the first appointed in a Republican administration.
The Ford Cabinet
OFFICE NAME TERM

----
President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

Gerald Ford 1974–1977
Vice President Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

1974–1977

----
State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

1974–1977
Treasury
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

William E. Simon
William E. Simon
William Edward Simon was a businessman, a Secretary of Treasury of the U.S. for three years, and a philanthropist. He became the 63rd Secretary of the Treasury on May 8, 1974, during the Nixon administration. He was reappointed by President Ford and served until 1977. Outside of government, he was...

1974–1977
Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

James R. Schlesinger
James R. Schlesinger
Dr. James Rodney Schlesinger is an American politician. He is best known for serving as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

1974–1975
  Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

1975–1977
Justice William B. Saxbe
William B. Saxbe
William Bart "Bill" Saxbe was an American politician affiliated with the Republican Party, who served as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, as U.S. Attorney General under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, and as United States Ambassador to India.At the time of his death, Saxbe was the...

1974–1975
  Edward Levi 1975–1977
Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

Rogers Morton
Rogers Morton
Rogers Clark Ballard Morton was an American politician who served as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, respectively...

1974–1975
  Stanley K. Hathaway
Stanley K. Hathaway
Stanley Knapp Hathaway served as 27th Governor of Wyoming from 1967–1975, and as United States Secretary of the Interior under President Gerald R. Ford.- Early life and military service :Stanley K...

1975
  Thomas S. Kleppe 1975–1977
Agriculture
United States Secretary of Agriculture
The United States Secretary of Agriculture is the head of the United States Department of Agriculture. The current secretary is Tom Vilsack, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on 20 January 2009. The position carries similar responsibilities to those of agriculture ministers in other...

Earl Butz
Earl Butz
Earl Lauer "Rusty" Butz was a United States government official who served as Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.- Background :...

1974–1976
  John Albert Knebel
John Albert Knebel
John Albert Knebel . He graduated from West Point in 1959 and received his Master's at Creighton University in 1962. In 1965 he received his law degree from American University. He was an assistant to Congressman J. Ernest Wharton and served as general counsel to the Small Business Administration...

1976–1977
Commerce
United States Secretary of Commerce
The United States Secretary of Commerce is the head of the United States Department of Commerce concerned with business and industry; the Department states its mission to be "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce"...

Frederick B. Dent
Frederick B. Dent
Frederick Baily Dent was the United States Secretary of Commerce from February 2, 1973, to March 26, 1975.Dent was born in Cape May, New Jersey. He served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946. From 1958-1972 and 1977-1988, he was president of Mayfair Mills in Arcadia, South Carolina. He was...

1974–1975
  Rogers Morton
Rogers Morton
Rogers Clark Ballard Morton was an American politician who served as Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Commerce under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, respectively...

1975
  Elliot Richardson
Elliot Richardson
Elliot Lee Richardson was an American lawyer and politician who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S...

1975–1977
Labor
United States Secretary of Labor
The United States Secretary of Labor is the head of the Department of Labor who exercises control over the department and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies....

Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter Brennan was United States Secretary of Labor under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He served between February 2, 1973 and March 15, 1975...

1974–1975
  John Thomas Dunlop
John Thomas Dunlop
John Thomas Dunlop was a U.S. administrator and labor scholar.He was the Secretary of Labor between 1975 and 1976. He was also Director of the U.S. Cost of Living Council from 1973–1974, Chairman of the U.S.Commission on the Future of Worker/Management Relations from 1993–1995 and arbitrator and...

1975–1976
  William Usery, Jr.
William Usery, Jr.
Willie Julian Usery, Jr. was a labor union activist and U.S. government political appointee who served as United States Secretary of Labor in the Ford administration....

1976–1977
HEW Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Weinberger
Caspar Willard "Cap" Weinberger , was an American politician, vice president and general counsel of Bechtel Corporation, and Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan from January 21, 1981, until November 23, 1987, making him the third longest-serving defense secretary to date, after...

1974–1975
  F. David Mathews
F. David Mathews
Forrest David Mathews served as the 11th United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1975 to 1977, during the administration of President Gerald R. Ford. He is one of only two surviving secretaries of the now defunct Department of Health, Education, and Welfare...

1975–1977
HUD
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
The United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the head of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, a member of the President's Cabinet, and thirteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Housing...

James Thomas Lynn
James Thomas Lynn
James Thomas Lynn was a U.S. cabinet officer and government official.Lynn was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Frederick Robert Lynn and Dorthea Estelle Lynn...

1974–1975
  Carla Anderson Hills
Carla Anderson Hills
Carla Anderson Hills is an American lawyer and a public figure. She served as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Gerald Ford administration, and as U.S. Trade Representative...

1975–1977
Transportation
United States Secretary of Transportation
The United States Secretary of Transportation is the head of the United States Department of Transportation, a member of the President's Cabinet, and fourteenth in the Presidential line of succession. The post was created with the formation of the Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966,...

Claude Brinegar
Claude Brinegar
Claude Stout Brinegar was the third United States Secretary of Transportation, serving from February 2, 1973 to February 1, 1975. Holding a Ph.D from Stanford in economic research, Brinegar had previously been an oil company executive...

1974–1975
  William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr.
William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr.
William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. was the fourth United States Secretary of Transportation, from March 7, 1975 to January 20, 1977, and the second African American to serve in the Cabinet...

1975–1977


Other cabinet-level posts:
  • White House Chief of Staff
    White House Chief of Staff
    The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

    • Alexander Haig
      Alexander Haig
      Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

       (1974)
    • Donald Rumsfeld
      Donald Rumsfeld
      Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

       (1974–1975)
    • Dick Cheney
      Dick Cheney
      Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

       (1975–1977)
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget
    • Roy Ash
      Roy Ash
      Roy L. Ash was the co-founder and president of Litton Industries and director of the Office of Management and Budget during the administrations of U.S...

       (1974–1975)
    • James T. Lynn (1975–1977)
  • United States Trade Representative
    Office of the United States Trade Representative
    The Office of the United States Trade Representative is the United States government agency responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the president of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating trade...

    • William D. Eberle (1974–1975)
    • Frederick B. Dent
      Frederick B. Dent
      Frederick Baily Dent was the United States Secretary of Commerce from February 2, 1973, to March 26, 1975.Dent was born in Cape May, New Jersey. He served in the United States Navy from 1943-1946. From 1958-1972 and 1977-1988, he was president of Mayfair Mills in Arcadia, South Carolina. He was...

       (1975–1977)
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
    Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
    The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is the head of the United States federal government's Environmental Protection Agency, and is thus responsible for enforcing the nation's Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, as well as numerous other environmental statutes. The Administrator is...

    • Russell E. Train
      Russell E. Train
      Russell Errol Train was the second Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency , from September 1973 to January 1977, and the Founder Chairman Emeritus of World Wildlife Fund . As head of the EPA under U.S...

       (1974–1977)
  • United States Ambassador to the United Nations
    United States Ambassador to the United Nations
    The United States Ambassador to the United Nations is the leader of the U.S. delegation, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. The position is more formally known as the "Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador...

    • John A. Scali
      John A. Scali
      John Alfred Scali was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1973 to 1975.Scali was an ABC News reporter who became an intermediary in the Cuban Missile Crisis and later a part of the Nixon Administration...

       (1974–1975)
    • Daniel Patrick Moynihan
      Daniel Patrick Moynihan
      Daniel Patrick "Pat" Moynihan was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times . He declined to run for re-election in 2000...

       (1975–1976)
    • William Scranton
      William Scranton
      William Warren Scranton is a former U.S. Republican Party politician. Scranton served as the 38th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1967. From 1976 to 1977, he served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.-Early life:...

       (1976–1977)


Other important posts:
  • United States National Security Advisor
    • Henry Kissinger
      Henry Kissinger
      Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

       (1974–1975)
    • Brent Scowcroft
      Brent Scowcroft
      Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

       (1975–1977)
  • Director of Central Intelligence
    Director of Central Intelligence
    The Office of United States Director of Central Intelligence was the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the principal intelligence advisor to the President and the National Security Council, and the coordinator of intelligence activities among and between the various United...

    • William E. Colby (1974–1976)
    • George H. W. Bush
      George H. W. Bush
      George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

       (1976–1977)


Ford selected George H.W. Bush as Chief of the US Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China in 1974, and then Director
Director of Central Intelligence
The Office of United States Director of Central Intelligence was the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the principal intelligence advisor to the President and the National Security Council, and the coordinator of intelligence activities among and between the various United...

 of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 in late 1975.

Ford's transition chairman and first Chief of Staff was former congressman and ambassador Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

. In 1975, Rumsfeld was named by Ford as the youngest-ever Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

. Ford chose a young Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 politician, Richard Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

, to replace Rumsfeld as his new Chief of Staff and later campaign manager
Campaign manager
A campaign manager is a paid or volunteer individual, whose role is to coordinate the campaign's operations such as fundraising, advertising, polling, getting out the vote , and other activities supporting the effort, directly.Apart from the candidate, they are often a campaign's most visible leader...

 for Ford's 1976 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

. Ford's dramatic reorganization of his Cabinet in the fall of 1975 has been referred to by political commentators as the "Halloween Massacre
Halloween Massacre
The "Halloween Massacre" is the term associated with the major reorganization of U.S. President Gerald R. Ford's Cabinet on November 4, 1975. Several prominent moderate Republicans in the administration were replaced by more conservative figures...

".

Midterm elections



The 1974 Congressional midterm elections took place fewer than three months after Ford assumed office and in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The Democratic Party turned voter dissatisfaction into large gains in the House elections, taking 49 seats from the Republican Party, and increasing their majority to 291 of the 435 seats. This was one more than the number needed (290) for a two-thirds majority, necessary to override a Presidential veto (or to propose a constitutional amendment). Perhaps due in part to this fact, the 94th Congress
94th United States Congress
The Ninety-fourth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1975 to January 3, 1977, during the administration...

 overrode the highest percentage of vetoes since Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 was President of the United States (1865–1869). Even Ford's old, reliably Republican seat was taken by Democrat Richard Vander Veen, defeating Republican Robert VanderLaan
Robert VanderLaan
Robert "Robbie" VanderLaan is a former majority leader of the Michigan State Senate. A Republican, he ran to replace Gerald Ford as representative for Michigan's 5th congressional district in a 1974 special election, but was defeated by Democrat Richard Vander Veen. It was seen as a stunning upset,...

. In the Senate elections, the Democratic majority became 61 in the 100-seat body.

Domestic policy



The economy
Economy of the United States
The economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy. Its nominal GDP was estimated to be nearly $14.5 trillion in 2010, approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. The European Union has a larger collective economy, but is not a single nation...

 was a great concern during the Ford administration. One of the first acts the new president took to deal with the economy was to create the Economic Policy Board by Executive Order on September 30, 1974. In response to rising inflation, Ford went before the American public in October 1974 and asked them to "Whip Inflation Now". As part of this program, he urged people to wear "WIN
Whip inflation now
Whip Inflation Now was an attempt to spur a grassroots movement to combat inflation, by encouraging personal savings and disciplined spending habits in combination with public measures, urged by U.S. President Gerald Ford...

" buttons. At the time, inflation was believed to be the primary threat to the economy, more so than growing unemployment. They felt as though controlling inflation would work to fix unemployment. To rein in inflation, it was necessary to control the public's spending. To try to mesh service and sacrifice, "WIN" called for Americans to reduce their spending and consumption. On October 4, 1974, Ford gave a speech in front of a joint session of Congress and as a part of this speech kicked off the "WIN" campaign. Over the next nine days 101,240 Americans mailed in "WIN" pledges. In hindsight, this was viewed as simply a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 gimmick without offering any means of solving the underlying problems. The main point of that speech was to introduce to Congress a one-year, five-percent income tax increase on corporations and wealthy individuals. This plan would also take $4.4 billion out of the budget bringing federal spending below $300 billion. At the time, inflation was approximately seven percent.

Ford was confronted with a potential swine flu
Swine flu
Swine influenza, also called pig influenza, swine flu, hog flu and pig flu, is an infection by any one of several types of swine influenza virus. Swine influenza virus or S-OIV is any strain of the influenza family of viruses that is endemic in pigs...

 pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

. In the early 1970s, an influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 strain H1N1
H1N1
'Influenza A virus is a subtype of influenza A virus and was the most common cause of human influenza in 2009. Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans and cause a small fraction of all influenza-like illness and a small fraction of all seasonal influenza. H1N1 strains caused a few percent of...

 shifted from a form of flu that affected primarily pigs and crossed over to humans. On February 5, 1976, an army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 recruit at Fort Dix
Fort Dix, New Jersey
JB MDL Dix , better known as Fort Dix, is a United States Army base located approximately south-southeast of Trenton, New Jersey. Dix is under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Reserve Command...

 mysteriously died and four fellow soldiers were hospitalized; health officials announced that "swine flu" was the cause. Soon after, public health officials in the Ford administration urged that every person in the United States be vaccinated
Vaccination
Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material to stimulate the immune system of an individual to develop adaptive immunity to a disease. Vaccines can prevent or ameliorate the effects of infection by many pathogens...

. Although the vaccination program was plagued by delays and public relations problems, some 25% of the population was vaccinated by the time the program was canceled in December of that year. The vaccine was blamed for twenty-five deaths; more people died from the shots than from the swine flu.
Ford was an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

, issuing Presidential Proclamation no. 4383 in 1975:
As president, Ford's position on abortion was that he supported "a federal constitutional amendment that would permit each one of the 50 States to make the choice". This had also been his position as House Minority Leader in response to the 1973 Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

, which he opposed. Ford came under criticism for a 60 Minutes
60 Minutes
60 Minutes is an American television news magazine, which has run on CBS since 1968. The program was created by producer Don Hewitt who set it apart by using a unique style of reporter-centered investigation....

interview his wife Betty gave in 1975, in which she stated that Roe v. Wade was a "great, great decision". During his later life, Ford would identify as pro-choice
Pro-choice
Support for the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-choice movement, a sociopolitical movement supporting the ethical view that a woman should have the legal right to elective abortion, meaning the right to terminate her pregnancy....

.

Budget


The federal budget ran a deficit every year Ford was President. Despite his reservations about how the program ultimately would be funded in an era of tight public budgeting
Public budgeting
Public Budgeting is a field of Public Administration and a discipline in the academic study thereof. Budgeting is characterized by its approaches, functions, formation, and type....

, Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act
Education for All Handicapped Children Act
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1975. This act required all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education and one free meal a day for children with physical and mental disabilities...

 of 1975, which established special education
Special education
Special education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials,...

 throughout the United States. Ford expressed "strong support for full educational opportunities for our handicapped children" according to the official White House press release for the bill signing.

The economic focus began to change as the country sank into a mild recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

. The focus of the Ford administration became fixing the increase in unemployment, which hit 7.2 percent in December 1974. In January 1975, Ford proposed a 1 year tax reduction of $16 billion to stimulate economic growth, along with spending cuts to avoid inflation. Ford was criticized greatly for quickly switching from advocating a tax increase to a tax reduction. In Congress, the proposed amount of the tax reduction increased to $22.8 billion in tax cuts and lacked spending cuts. In March 1975, Congress passed, and Ford signed into law, these income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 rebates as part of the Tax Reduction Act of 1975
Tax Reduction Act of 1975
The United States Tax Reduction Act of 1975 provided a 10 percent rebate on 1974 tax liability and created a temporary $30 general tax credit for each taxpayer and dependent....

. This resulted in a federal deficit of around $53 billion for the 1975 fiscal year and $73.7 billion for 1976.

When New York City faced bankruptcy in 1975, Mayor Abraham Beame
Abraham Beame
Abraham David "Abe" Beame was mayor of New York City from 1974 to 1977. As such, he presided over the city during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, during which the city was almost forced to declare bankruptcy....

 was unsuccessful in obtaining Ford's support for a federal bailout. The incident prompted the New York Daily News' famous headline "Ford to City: Drop Dead", referring to a speech in which "Ford declared flatly ... that he would veto any bill calling for 'a federal bail-out of New York City. The following month, November 1975, Ford changed his stance and asked Congress to approve federal loans to New York City.

Foreign policy



Ford continued the détente policy with both the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and China, easing the tensions of the Cold War. Still in place from the Nixon Administration was the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). The thawing relationship brought about by Nixon's visit to China
1972 Nixon visit to China
U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. It marked the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC, who at that time considered the U.S. one...

 was reinforced by Ford's December 1975 visit to the communist country. In 1975, the Administration entered into the Helsinki Accords with the Soviet Union, creating the framework of the Helsinki Watch
Helsinki Watch
Helsinki Watch was a private American NGO devoted to monitoring Helsinki implementation throughout the Soviet bloc. It was created in 1978 to monitor compliance to the Helsinki Final Act...

, an independent non-governmental organization created to monitor compliance that later evolved into Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

.

Ford attended the inaugural meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations (initially the G5) in 1975 and secured membership for Canada. Ford supported international solutions to issues. "We live in an interdependent world and, therefore, must work together to resolve common economic problems," he said in a 1974 speech.

Middle East



In the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, two ongoing international disputes developed into crises. The Cyprus dispute turned into a crisis with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

, causing extreme strain within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. In mid-August, the government withdrew Greece from the NATO military structure; in mid-September 1974, the Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to halt military aid to Turkey. Ford, concerned with both the effect of this on Turkish-American relations and the deterioration of security on NATO's eastern front, vetoed the bill. A second bill was passed by the house, and vetoed, although a compromise was accepted to continue aid until the end of the year. As Ford expected, Turkish relations were considerably disrupted until 1978.

In the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict, although the initial cease fire
United Nations Security Council Resolution 338
The three-line United Nations Security Council Resolution 338, adopted on October 22, 1973, called for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War in accordance with a joint proposal by the United States and the Soviet Union. The resolution stipulated a cease fire to take effect within 12 hours of the...

 had been implemented to end active conflict in the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, Kissinger's continuing shuttle diplomacy
Shuttle diplomacy
In diplomacy and international relations, shuttle diplomacy is the action of an outside party in serving as an intermediary between principals in a dispute, without direct principal-to-principal contact...

 was showing little progress. Ford considered it "stalling" and wrote, "Their [Israeli] tactics frustrated the Egyptians and made me mad as hell." During Kissinger's shuttle to Israel in early March 1975, a last minute reversal to consider further withdrawal, prompted a cable from Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, which included:
On March 24, Ford received congressional leaders of both parties and informed them of the reassessment of the administration policies in the Middle East. "Reassessment", in practical terms, meant to cancel or suspend further aid to Israel. For six months between March and September 1975, the United States refused to conclude any new arms agreements with Israel. Rabin notes it was "an innocent-sounding term that heralded one of the worst periods in American-Israeli relations". As could be expected, the announced reassessments upset the American Jewish community and Israel's well-wishers in Congress. On May 21, Ford "experienced a real shock", seventy-six senators wrote him a letter urging him to be "responsive" to Israel's request for $2.59 billion in military and economic aid. Ford felt truly annoyed and thought the chance for peace was jeopardized. It was, since the September 1974 ban on arms to Turkey, the second major congressional intrusion upon the President's [foreign policy] prerogatives. The following summer months were described by Ford as an American-Israeli "war of nerves" or "test of wills", and after much bargaining, the Sinai Interim Agreement
Sinai Interim Agreement
The Sinai Interim Agreement, also known as the Sinai II Agreement, was a diplomatic agreement signed by Egypt and Israel on September 4, 1975...

 (Sinai II), was formally signed on September 1 and aid resumed.

Vietnam


One of Ford's greatest challenges was dealing with the continued Vietnam War. American offensive operations against North Vietnam had ended with the Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam...

, signed on January 27, 1973. The accords declared a cease fire across both North and South Vietnam, and required the release of American prisoners of war. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and, like the Geneva Conference
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 of 1954, called for national elections in the North and South. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The accords had been negotiated by United States National Security Advisor Kissinger and North Vietnamese politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 member Le Duc Tho
Le Duc Tho
Lê Đức Thọ , born Phan Đình Khải in Ha Nam province, was a Vietnamese revolutionary, general, diplomat, and politician, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1973, although he declined it....

. South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu
Nguyen Van Thieu
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam , became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a fraudulent election...

 was not involved in the final negotiations, and publicly criticized the proposed agreement. However, anti-war pressures within the United States forced Nixon and Kissinger to pressure Thieu to sign the agreement and enable the withdrawal of American forces. In multiple letters to the South Vietnamese president, Nixon had promised that the United States would defend his government, should the North Vietnamese violate the accords.

In December 1974, months after Ford took office, North Vietnamese forces invaded the province of Phuoc Long
Phuoc Long Province
thumb|right|200px|[[Binh Duong Province|Binh Duong]], Phuoc Long and [[Binh Long Province|Binh Long]] in map of South VietnamPhuoc Long is former province of Dong Nam Bo region in South Vietnam...

. General Trần Văn Trà
Tran Van Tra
Trần Văn Trà was a commander in the Vietcong; a member of the Central Committee of the Lao Dong Party from 1960 to 1982; a lieutenant general in the army of the North Vietnam; chairman of Military Affairs Committee of the Central Office of South Vietnam .The son of a bricklayer, Tra was born in...

 sought to gauge any South Vietnamese or American response to the invasion, as well as to solve logistical issues before proceeding with the invasion.

As North Vietnamese forces advanced, Ford requested aid for South Vietnam in a $522 million aid package. The funds had been promised by the Nixon administration, but Congress voted against the proposal by a wide margin. Senator Jacob Javits offered "...large sums for evacuation, but not one nickel for military aid". President Thieu resigned on April 21, 1975, publicly blaming the lack of support from the United States for the fall of his country. Two days later, on April 23, Ford gave a speech at Tulane University
Tulane University
Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States...

. In that speech, he announced that the Vietnam War was over "...as far as America is concerned". The announcement was met with thunderous applause.

1,373 U.S. citizens and 5,595 Vietnamese
Vietnamese people
The Vietnamese people are an ethnic group originating from present-day northern Vietnam and southern China. They are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam, comprising 86% of the population as of the 1999 census, and are officially known as Kinh to distinguish them from other ethnic groups in Vietnam...

 and third country nationals were evacuated from the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon during Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Frequent Wind was the evacuation by helicopter of American civilians and 'at-risk' Vietnamese from Saigon, South Vietnam, on 29–30 April 1975 during the last days of the Vietnam War...

. Military and Air America helicopters took evacuees to U.S. Navy ships off-shore during an approximately 24-hour period on April 29 to 30, 1975, immediately preceding the fall of Saigon
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

. During the operation, so many South Vietnamese helicopters landed on the vessels taking the evacuees that some were pushed overboard to make room for more people. Other helicopters, having nowhere to land, were deliberately crash landed into the sea, close to the ships, their pilots bailing out at the last moment to be picked up by rescue boats.

Many of the Vietnamese evacuees were allowed to enter the United States under the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act
Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act
The Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, passed on May 23, 1975, under President Gerald Ford, was a response to the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War...

. The 1975 Act appropriated $455 million toward the costs of assisting the settlement of Indochinese refugees. In all, 130,000 Vietnamese refugees came to the United States in 1975. Thousands more escaped in the years that followed.

Mayaguez and Panmunjom


North Vietnam's victory over the South led to a considerable shift in the political winds in Asia, and Ford administration officials worried about a consequent loss of U.S. influence there. The administration proved it was willing to respond forcefully to challenges to its interests in the region on two occasions, once when Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

 forces seized an American ship in international waters
International waters
The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems , and wetlands.Oceans,...

 and again when American military officers were killed in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea.

The first crisis was the Mayaguez Incident
Mayagüez incident
The Mayaguez incident between the Khmer Rouge and the United States from May 12–15, 1975, was the last official battle of the Vietnam War. The names of the Americans killed, as well as those of three Marines who were left behind on the island of Koh Tang after the battle and who were subsequently...

. In May 1975, shortly after the fall of Saigon and the Khmer Rouge conquest of Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Cambodians seized the American merchant ship Mayaguez in international waters. Ford dispatched Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 to rescue the crew, but the Marines landed on the wrong island and met unexpectedly stiff resistance just as, unknown to the U.S., the Mayaguez sailors were being released. In the operation, two military transport helicopters carrying the Marines for the assault operation were shot down, and 41 U.S. servicemen were killed and 50 wounded while approximately 60 Khmer Rouge soldiers were killed. Despite the American losses, the operation was seen as a success in the United States and Ford enjoyed an 11-point boost in his approval ratings in the aftermath. The Americans killed during the operation became the last to have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for during the War.Its...

 wall in Washington, D.C.

Some historians have argued that the Ford administration felt the need to respond forcefully to the incident because it was construed as a Soviet plot. But recent work by Andrew Gawthorpe, based on an analysis of the administration's internal discussions, shows that Ford's national security team understood that the seizure of the vessel was a local, and perhaps even accidental, provocation by an immature Khmer government. Nevertheless, they felt the need to respond forcefully to discourage further provocations by other Communist countries in Asia.

The second crisis, known as the axe murder incident
Axe Murder Incident
The axe murder incident was the killing of two United States Army officers by North Korean soldiers on August 18, 1976, in the Joint Security Area located in the Korean Demilitarized Zone which forms the de facto border between North and South Korea...

, occurred at Panmunjom, a village which stands in the DMZ between the two Koreas. At the time, this was the only part of the DMZ where forces from the North and the South came into contact with each other. Encouraged by U.S. difficulties in Vietnam, North Korea had been waging a campaign of diplomatic pressure and minor military harassment to try and convince the U.S. to withdraw from South Korea. Then, in August 1976, North Korean forces killed two U.S. officers and injured South Korean guards who were engaged in trimming a tree in Panmunjom's Joint Security Area
Joint Security Area
The Joint Security Area is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone where South and North Korean forces stand face-to-face. It is often called the "Truce Village" in both the media and various military accounts...

. The attack coincided with a meeting of the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, Sri Lanka, at which Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

, the son of North Korean leader Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

, presented the incident as an example of American aggression, helping secure the passage of a motion calling for a U.S. withdrawal from the South.

At administration meetings, Kissinger voiced the concern that the North would see the U.S. as "the paper tigers of Saigon" if they did not respond, and Ford agreed with that assessment. After mulling various options the Ford administration decided that it was necessary to respond with a major show of force
Show of force
Show of force is a military term for an operation intended to warn or intimidate an opponent and to showcase one's own capability or will to act if provoked...

. A large number of ground forces went to cut down the tree, while at the same time the air force was deployed, which included B-52 bomber flights over Panmunjom. The North Korean government backed down and allowed the tree-cutting to go ahead, and later issued an unprecedented official apology.

Assassination attempts



Ford faced two assassination attempts during his presidency, occurring within three weeks of each other and in the same state; while in Sacramento, California
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

, on September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme
Lynette Fromme
Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme is an American member of the Manson Family. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford in 1975...

, a follower of Charles Manson
Charles Manson
Charles Milles Manson is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Tate/LaBianca murders carried out by members of the group at his instruction...

, pointed a Colt .45-caliber handgun at Ford. As Fromme pulled the trigger, Larry Buendorf
Larry Buendorf
Larry Buendorf is the Chief Security Officer of the United States Olympic Committee. He is a former U.S. Navy pilot and Secret Service agent...

, a Secret Service agent, grabbed the gun and managed to insert the webbing of his thumb under the hammer, preventing the gun from firing. It was later found that, although the semi-automatic pistol had four cartridges in the magazine, the weapon had not been chambered, making it impossible for the gun to fire. Fromme was taken into custody; she was later convicted of attempted assassination of the President and was sentenced to life in prison; she was paroled on August 14, 2009.

In reaction to this attempt, the Secret Service began keeping Ford at a more secure distance from anonymous crowds, a strategy that may have saved his life seventeen days later; as he left the St. Francis Hotel
St. Francis Hotel
The Westin St. Francis is a historic luxury hotel located on Powell and Geary Streets on Union Square in San Francisco, California. The two twelve-story south wings of the hotel were built just before the San Francisco Earthquake, in 1904, and the double-width north wing was completed in 1913,...

 in downtown San Francisco, Sara Jane Moore
Sara Jane Moore
Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford on September 22, 1975, outside the St...

, standing in a crowd of onlookers across the street, pointed her .38-caliber revolver
.38 Special
The .38 Smith & Wesson Special is a rimmed, centerfire cartridge designed by Smith & Wesson. It is most commonly used in revolvers, although some semi-automatic pistols and carbines also use this round...

 at him. Just before she fired, former Marine Oliver Sipple
Oliver Sipple
Oliver "Billy" W. Sipple was a decorated US Marine and Vietnam War veteran widely known for saving the life of US President Gerald Ford during an assassination attempt by Sara Jane Moore in San Francisco on September 22, 1975...

 grabbed at the gun and deflected her shot; the bullet struck a wall about six inches above and to the right of Ford's head, then ricocheted and hit a taxi driver, who was slightly wounded. Moore was later sentenced to life in prison. She was paroled on December 31, 2007, having served 32 years.

Judicial appointments



In 1975, Ford appointed John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens
John Paul Stevens served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from December 19, 1975 until his retirement on June 29, 2010. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest member of the Court and the third-longest serving justice in the Court's history...

 as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States are the members of the Supreme Court of the United States other than the Chief Justice of the United States...

 to replace retiring Justice William O. Douglas
William O. Douglas
William Orville Douglas was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. With a term lasting 36 years and 209 days, he is the longest-serving justice in the history of the Supreme Court...

. Stevens had been a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts:* Central District of Illinois* Northern District of Illinois...

, appointed by President Nixon. During his tenure as House Republican leader, Ford had led efforts to have Douglas impeached. After being confirmed, Stevens eventually disappointed some conservatives by siding with the Court's liberal
Judicial philosophy
Judicial philosophy is the set of ideas and beliefs which dictate how Justices and judges of the United States federal courts may rule in many cases....

 wing regarding the outcome of many key issues. Nevertheless, President Ford paid tribute to Stevens. "He has served his nation well," Ford said of Stevens, "with dignity, intellect and without partisan political concerns."

In addition to the Stevens appointment, Ford appointed 11 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 50 judges to the United States district courts.

1976 presidential election




Ford reluctantly agreed to run for office in 1976, but first he had to counter a challenge for the Republican party nomination. Former Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 Ronald Reagan and the party's conservative
American conservatism
Conservatism in the United States has played an important role in American politics since the 1950s. Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and...

 wing faulted Ford for failing to do more in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, for signing the Helsinki Accords and for negotiating to cede the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 (negotiations for the canal continued under President Carter, who eventually signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties
Torrijos-Carter Treaties
The Torrijos–Carter Treaties are two treaties signed by the United States and Panama in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, which abrogated the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty of 1903...

). Reagan launched his campaign in autumn of 1975 and won several primaries
United States presidential primary
The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses is one of the first steps in the process of electing the President of the United States of America. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties...

 before withdrawing from the race at the Republican Convention
1976 Republican National Convention
The 1976 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States met at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, 1976. The convention nominated incumbent Gerald Ford for President, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California...

 in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. The conservative insurgency convinced Ford to drop the more liberal Vice President Nelson Rockefeller in favor of Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 Senator Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

.

In addition to the pardon dispute and lingering anti-Republican sentiment, Ford had to counter a plethora of negative media imagery. Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor, born into a prominent entertainment industry family. Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon...

 often did pratfalls on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

, imitating Ford, who had been seen stumbling on two occasions during his term. As Chase commented, "He even mentioned in his own autobiography it had an effect over a period of time that affected the election to some degree."

President Ford's 1976 election campaign had the advantage that he was an incumbent president during several anniversary events held during the period leading up to the United States Bicentennial
United States Bicentennial
The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances during the mid-1970s that paid tribute to the historical events leading up to the creation of the United States as an independent republic...

. The Washington, D.C. fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

 display on the Fourth of July was presided over by the President and televised nationally. On July 7, 1976, the President and First Lady served as hosts at a White House state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, which was televised on the Public Broadcasting Service network. The 200th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord
Battles of Lexington and Concord
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy , and Cambridge, near Boston...

 in Massachusetts gave Ford the opportunity to deliver a speech to 110,000 in Concord acknowledging the need for a strong national defense tempered with a plea for "reconciliation, not recrimination" and "reconstruction, not rancor" between the United States and those who would pose "threats to peace". Speaking in New Hampshire on the previous day, Ford condemned the growing trend toward big government bureaucracy and argued for a return to "basic American virtues".

Democratic nominee and former Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 governor Jimmy Carter campaigned as an outsider and reformer, gaining support from voters dismayed by the Watergate scandal and Nixon pardon. After the Democratic National Convention, he held a huge 33-point lead over Ford in the polls. However, as the campaign continued, the race tightened, and, by election day, the polls showed the race as too close to call. There were three main events in the fall campaign. Most importantly, Carter repeated a promise of a "blanket pardon" for Christian and other religious refugees, and also all Vietnam War draft dodgers (Ford had only issued a conditional amnesty) in response to a question on the subject posed by a reporter during the presidential debates, an act which froze Ford's poll numbers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Mississippi. (Ford had needed only to shift 11,000 votes in two of those four states in order to win.) Americans viewed the pardon as an essential moral act and as the true end to a bitterly hated war. It was the first act signed by Carter, on January 20, 1977. Earlier, Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

magazine had published a controversial interview with Carter; in the interview Carter admitted to having "lusted in my heart" for women other than his wife, which cut into his support among women and evangelical Christians. Also, on September 24, Ford performed well in what was the first televised presidential debate since 1960
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

. Polls taken after the debate showed that most viewers felt that Ford was the winner. Carter was also hurt by Ford's charges that he lacked the necessary experience to be an effective national leader, and that Carter was vague on many issues.

Presidential debates
United States presidential election debates
During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates to engage in a debate...

 were reintroduced for the first time since the 1960 election. Carter later attributed his victory in the election to the debates, saying they "gave the viewers reason to think that Jimmy Carter had something to offer". The turning point came in the second debate when Ford blundered by stating, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford Administration." Ford also said that he did not "believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union". In an interview years later, Ford said he had intended to imply that the Soviets would never crush the spirits of eastern Europeans seeking independence. However, the phrasing was so awkward that questioner Max Frankel
Max Frankel
Max Frankel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.Frankel came to the United States in 1940. He attended Columbia College and began part-time work for The New York Times in his sophomore year. He received his B.A. degree in 1952 and an M.A. in American government from Columbia in 1953.He joined...

 was visibly incredulous at the response. As a result of this blunder, and Carter's promise of a full presidential pardon for political refugees from the Vietnam era during the presidential debates, Ford's surge stalled and Carter was able to maintain a slight lead in the polls.

In the end, Carter won the election, receiving 50.1% of the popular vote and 297 electoral votes
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

 compared with 48.0% and 240 electoral votes for Ford. The election was close enough that had fewer than 25,000 votes shifted in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 – both of which neighbored his home state – Ford would have won the electoral vote with 276 votes to 261 for Carter. Though he lost, in the three months between the Republican National Convention and the election Ford managed to close what was once a 34-point Carter lead to a 2-point margin.

Had Ford won the election, the provisions of the 22nd Amendment
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for the President of the United States. The Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947...

 would have disqualified him from running in 1980
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, because he had served more than two years of Nixon's remaining term.

Activity


The Nixon pardon controversy eventually subsided. Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter, opened his 1977 inaugural address by praising the outgoing President, saying, "For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land."

Ford remained relatively active in the years after his presidency and continued to make appearances at events of historical and ceremonial significance to the nation, such as presidential inaugurals and memorial services. In January 1977, he became the president of Eisenhower Fellowships
Eisenhower Fellowships
Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization created in 1953 by a group of prominent American citizens to honor President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his contribution to humanity as a soldier, statesman, and world leader...

 in Philadelphia then served as its chairman of the board of trustees from 1980 to 1986. Later in the year, he reluctantly agreed to be interviewed by James M. Naughton, a New York Times journalist who was given the assignment to write the former President's advance obituary, an article that would be updated prior to its eventual publication. In 1979, Ford published his autobiography, A Time to Heal (Harper/Reader's Digest, 454 pages). A review in Foreign Affairs described it as, "Serene, unruffled, unpretentious, like the author. This is the shortest and most honest of recent presidential memoirs, but there are no surprises, no deep probings of motives or events. No more here than meets the eye."

During the term of office of his successor, Jimmy Carter, Ford received monthly briefs by President Carter's senior staff on international and domestic issues, and was always invited to lunch at the White House whenever he was in Washington, D.C. Their close friendship developed after Carter had left office, with the catalyst being their trip together to the funeral of Anwar el-Sadat in 1981. Until Ford's death, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn
Rosalynn Carter
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. As First Lady and after, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, perhaps most prominently for mental...

, visited the Fords' home frequently. Ford and Carter served as honorary co-chairs of the National Commission on Federal Election Reform
National Commission on Federal Election Reform
The United States presidential election, 2000 was one of the most controversial ever. Legal challenges were taken all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States before Al Gore conceded the election to President George W...

 in 2001 and of the Continuity of Government Commission
Continuity of Government Commission
The Continuity of Government Commission is a think tank set up in 2002 to recommend improvements on the constitutional and statutory provisions for the continuity of government in the United States. It was set up by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution following the...

 in 2002.

Like Presidents Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, Ford was an honorary co-chair of the Council for Excellence in Government
Council for Excellence in Government
The Council for Excellence in Government was a public/private partnership organization initiated in the 1980s designed to improve the effectiveness of federal, state, and local government in the United States. The organization ceased to operate in 2009 and the majority of its staff and programs...

, a group dedicated to excellence in government performance, which provides leadership training to top federal employees.

Ford considered a run for the Republican nomination in 1980
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, foregoing numerous opportunities to serve on corporate boards to keep his options open for a grudge match with Carter. Ford attacked Carter's conduct of the SALT II negotiations and foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa. Many have argued that Ford also wanted to exorcise his image as an "Accidental President" and to win a term in his own right. Ford also believed the more conservative Ronald Reagan would be unable to defeat Carter and would hand the incumbent a second term. Ford was encouraged by his former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger as well as Jim Rhodes
Jim Rhodes
James Allen Rhodes was an American Republican politician from Ohio, and one of only five US state governors to serve four four-year terms in office. As governor in 1970, he decided to send National Guard troops onto the Kent State University campus, resulting in the shooting of students on May 4...

 of Ohio and Bill Clements
Bill Clements
William Perry "Bill" Clements, Jr. was the 42nd and 44th Governor of Texas, serving from 1979 to 1983 and 1987 to 1991. Clements was the first Republican to have served as governor of the U.S. state of Texas since Reconstruction...

 of Texas to make the race. On March 15, 1980, Ford announced that he would forgo a run for the Republican nomination, vowing to support the eventual nominee.

After securing the Republican nomination in 1980, Ronald Reagan considered his former rival Ford as a potential vice-presidential running mate, but negotiations between the Reagan and Ford camps at the Republican National Convention
1980 Republican National Convention
The 1980 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, from July 14 to July 17, 1980. The 32nd Republican National Convention nominated former Governor Ronald W. Reagan of California for President of the United States and former...

 were unsuccessful. Ford conditioned his acceptance on Reagan's agreement to an unprecedented "co-presidency", giving Ford the power to control key executive branch appointments (such as Kissinger as Secretary of State and Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

 as Treasury Secretary). After rejecting these terms, Reagan offered the vice-presidential nomination instead to George H.W. Bush. Ford did appear in a campaign commercial for the Reagan-Bush ticket, in which he declared that the country would be "better served by a Reagan presidency rather than a continuation of the weak and politically expedient policies of Jimmy Carter".

After his presidency, Ford joined the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

 as a distinguished fellow. He founded the annual AEI World Forum
AEI World Forum
The AEI World Forum is an annual meeting of business and financial executives, heads of government, government officials, and intellectuals. Held every summer in Beaver Creek, Colorado, it is sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute and the Vail Valley Foundation, and it features a number of...

 in 1982. Ford was awarded an honorary doctorate at Central Connecticut State University
Commencement at CCSU
Central Connecticut State University's annual Commencement Exercises are held each May at the XL Center in Hartford. In most years, a separate graduation ceremony for recipients of advanced degrees is held on campus at Herbert D. Welte Hall....

 on March 23, 1988.

In 1977, he established the Gerald R. Ford Institute of Public Policy at Albion College
Albion College
Albion College is a private liberal arts college located in Albion, Michigan. Related to the United Methodist Church, it was founded in 1835 and was the first private college in Michigan to have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. It has a student population of about 1500.The school's sports teams are...

 in Albion, Michigan
Albion, Michigan
Albion is a city in Calhoun County in the south central region of the Lower Peninsula of the US state of Michigan. The population was 9,144 at the 2000 census and is part of the Battle Creek Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, to give undergraduates training in public policy. In April 1981, he opened the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census places the population at 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan. The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 344,791 as of 2010...

, on the north campus of his alma mater, the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

, followed in September by the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. In 1999, Ford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 by Bill Clinton. In 2001, he was presented with the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award for his decision to pardon Richard Nixon to stop the agony America was experiencing over Watergate. In retirement Ford also devoted much time to his love of golf, often playing both privately and in public events with comedian Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

, a longtime friend.


In October 2001, Ford broke with conservative members of the Republican party by stating that gay and lesbian couples "ought to be treated equally. Period." He became the highest ranking Republican to embrace full equality for gays and lesbians, stating his belief that there should be a federal amendment outlawing anti-gay job discrimination and expressing his hope that the Republican Party would reach out to gay and lesbian voters. He also was a member of the Republican Unity Coalition, which The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

described as "a group of prominent Republicans, including former President Gerald R. Ford, dedicated to making sexual orientation a non-issue in the Republican Party".

On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki
George Pataki
George Elmer Pataki is an American politician who was the 53rd Governor of New York. A member of the Republican Party, Pataki served three consecutive four-year terms from January 1, 1995 until December 31, 2006.- Early life :...

 named Ford and the other living former Presidents (Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

.

In a pre-recorded embargoed interview
News Embargo
In journalism and public relations, a news embargo or press embargo is a request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met...

 with Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post....

 of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

in July 2004, Ford stated that he disagreed "very strongly" with the Bush administration's choice of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction as justification for its decision to invade Iraq, calling it a "big mistake" unrelated to the national security of the United States and indicating that he would not have gone to war had he been President. The details of the interview were not released until after Ford's death, as he requested.

Health problems


As Ford approached his 90th year, he began to experience health problems associated with old age. He suffered two minor strokes at the 2000 Republican National Convention
2000 Republican National Convention
The 2000 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 31 to August 3, 2000. The 2066 delegates assembled at the convention nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush as the Republican candidate for U.S....

, but made a quick recovery after being admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital
Hahnemann University Hospital
Hahnemann University Hospital, established in 1885 and named after Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, is a hospital in Center City, Philadelphia. It is affiliated with Drexel University College of Medicine and serves as its Center City Hahnemann campus.-History:In 1993 Hahnemann...

. In January 2006, he spent 11 days at the Eisenhower Medical Center
Eisenhower Medical Center
The Eisenhower Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital located in Rancho Mirage, California. It was named one of the top one hundred hospitals in the United States in 2005 and is adjacent to the world-famous Betty Ford Center....

 near his residence at Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal population can exceed 20,000. In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the eight cities of the Coachella...

, for treatment of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. On April 23, President George W. Bush visited Ford at his home in Rancho Mirage for a little over an hour. This was Ford's last public appearance and produced the last known public photos, video footage and voice recording. While vacationing in Vail, Colorado
Vail, Colorado
The Town of Vail is a Home Rule Municipality in Eagle County, Colorado, United States. The population of the town was 4,589 in 2005. The town was established and built as the base village to Vail Ski Resort, with which it was originally conceived...

, he was hospitalized for two days in July 2006 for shortness of breath. On August 15 Ford was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital of the Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group specializing in treating difficult patients . Patients are referred to Mayo Clinic from across the U.S. and the world, and it is known for innovative and effective treatments. Mayo Clinic is known for being at the top of...

 in Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester, Minnesota
Rochester is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Olmsted County. Located on both banks of the Zumbro River, The city has a population of 106,769 according to the 2010 United States Census, making it Minnesota's third-largest city and the largest outside of the...

, for testing and evaluation. On August 21, it was reported that he had been fitted with a pacemaker
Artificial pacemaker
A pacemaker is a medical device that uses electrical impulses, delivered by electrodes contacting the heart muscles, to regulate the beating of the heart...

. On August 25, he underwent an angioplasty
Angioplasty
Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel, the latter typically being a result of atherosclerosis. An empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire, known as a balloon catheter, is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size...

 procedure at the Mayo Clinic, according to a statement from an assistant to Ford. On August 28, Ford was released from the hospital and returned with his wife Betty to their California home. On October 13, he was scheduled to attend the dedication of a building of his namesake, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, often referred to as the Ford School, is a leading public policy school in the United States. Founded in 1914 as the Institute of Public Administration, it was named in 1999 after former President Gerald Ford, who was a 1935...

 at the University of Michigan, but due to poor health and on the advice of his doctors he did not attend. The previous day, Ford entered the Eisenhower Medical Center for undisclosed tests; he was released on October 16. By November 2006, he was confined to a bed in his study. In reality, President Ford had end-stage coronary artery disease and severe aortic stenosis and insufficiency, caused by calcific alteration of one of his heart valves.

Death




Ford died on December 26, 2006, at his home in Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal population can exceed 20,000. In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the eight cities of the Coachella...

, of arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease
Cerebrovascular disease
Cerebrovascular disease is a group of brain dysfunctions related to disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain. Hypertension is the most important cause; it damages the blood vessel lining, endothelium, exposing the underlying collagen where platelets aggregate to initiate a repairing process...

 and diffuse arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis refers to a stiffening of arteries.Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening of medium or large arteries It should not be confused with "arteriolosclerosis" or "atherosclerosis".Also known by the name "myoconditis" which is...

. His age at the time of his death was 93 years and 165 days, making Ford the longest-lived U.S. President. On December 30, 2006, Ford became the 11th U.S. President to lie in state. The burial was preceded by a state funeral and memorial services held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on January 2, 2007. After the service, Ford was interred at his Presidential Museum
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is part of the Presidential Libraries System of the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency. Unlike most other presidential libraries and museums, Ford's are two geographically separate buildings. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential...

 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ford died on the 34th anniversary of President Harry Truman's death, thus becoming the second U.S. President to die on Boxing Day
Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth nations. In Ireland, it is recognized as...

. He was the last surviving member of the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, known unofficially as the Warren Commission, was established on November 27, 1963, by Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963...

.
His wife, Betty Ford, died peacefully on July 8, 2011. Like her husband, Betty also died at age 93. They are the longest lived Presidential couple.

Longevity


Ford was the longest-lived U.S. President, his lifespan being 45 days longer than Ronald Reagan's. He was the third-longest-lived Vice President, falling short only of John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner, IV , was the 32nd Vice President of the United States and the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives .- Early life and family :...

, 98, and Levi P. Morton
Levi P. Morton
Levi Parsons Morton was a Representative from New York and the 22nd Vice President of the United States . He also later served as the 31st Governor of New York.-Biography:...

, 96. Ford had the third-longest post-presidency (29 years and 11 months) after Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 (31 years and 7 months) and Jimmy Carter ( and counting)

On November 12, 2006, upon surpassing Ronald Reagan's lifespan, Ford released his last public statement:

Public image



Ford was the only president never elected to be either president or vice-president. The choice of Ford to fulfill Agnew's vacated role as vice president was based on his reputation for openness and honesty. "In all the years I sat in the House, I never knew Mr Ford to make a dishonest statement nor a statement part-true and part-false. He never attempted to shade a statement, and I never heard him utter an unkind word," said Martha Griffiths
Martha Griffiths
Martha Wright Griffiths was an American lawyer and judge before being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1954. Griffiths was the first woman to serve on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means and the first woman elected to the United States Congress from Michigan as...

.

The trust the American people had in him was severely and rapidly tarnished by his pardon of Nixon. Nonetheless, many grant in hindsight that he had respectably discharged with considerable dignity a great responsibility that he had not sought. His subsequent loss to Carter in 1976 has come to be seen as an honorable sacrifice he made for the nation.

In spite of his athletic record and remarkable career accomplishments, Ford acquired a reputation as a clumsy, likable and simple-minded Everyman. An incident in 1975 when he tripped while exiting the presidential jet in Austria, was famously and repetitively parodied by Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor, born into a prominent entertainment industry family. Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon...

, cementing Ford's image as a klutz. Pieces of Ford's common Everyman image have also been attributed to Ford's inevitable comparison to Nixon, as well as his perceived Midwestern stodginess and self-deprecation. Ridicule often extended to supposed intellectual limitations, with Lyndon Johnson once joking, "He's a nice fellow but he spent too much time playing football without a helmet."

Named after Gerald Ford

  • Gerald R. Ford Freeway
    Interstate 480 (Iowa-Nebraska)
    Interstate 480 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway, a mere long, that connects Interstate 80 in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, with Interstate 29 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The portion of I-480 in Nebraska has been named the Gerald R. Ford Freeway, named in honor of the former President, who was a...

     (Nebraska)
  • Gerald R. Ford Freeway
    Interstate 196
    Interstate 196 is a long freeway spur route in the US state of Michigan linking Grand Rapids, Holland, South Haven, and Benton Harbor. I-196 is known as the Gerald R. Ford Freeway, or simply the Ford Freeway, in Kent, Ottawa, and Allegan Counties, after the 38th President of the United States,...

     (Michigan)
  • Gerald Ford Memorial Highway, I-70
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 70 is an Interstate Highway in the United States that runs from Interstate 15 near Cove Fort, Utah, to a Park and Ride near Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first Interstate Highway project in the United States. I-70 approximately traces the path of U.S. Route 40 east of the Rocky...

     in Eagle County, Colorado
    Eagle County, Colorado
    Eagle County is the thirteenth most populous of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado in the United States. The county is named for the Eagle River. The county population was 41,659 at U.S. Census 2000. The county seat is the Town of Eagle...

  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport
    Gerald R. Ford International Airport
    Gerald R. Ford International Airport is a commercial airport located approximately southeast of Grand Rapids, Michigan in Cascade Township. Originally called Kent County Airport and later Kent County International Airport; in December 1999 the airport was renamed for former resident Gerald R....

     in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
    Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
    The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, often referred to as the Ford School, is a leading public policy school in the United States. Founded in 1914 as the Institute of Public Administration, it was named in 1999 after former President Gerald Ford, who was a 1935...

    , University of Michigan
  • Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado, in Ford Park, also named after him
  • Gerald R. Ford Institute of Public Policy, Albion College
  • USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78)
  • Gerald R. Ford Elementary School, Indian Wells, California
  • Gerald Ford Boys and Girls Club, La Quinta, California
  • Gerald Ford Drive, Coachella Valley, California (Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert)
  • Gerald R. Ford Council, Boy Scouts of America
    Boy Scouts of America
    The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

     The council where he was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. (Includes the following Michigan counties: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Ottawa). Council Headquarters is located in Walker, Michigan.

Primary sources


, by speechwriter, by chief of staff by Secretary of State

Secondary sources


full-scale biography full-scale biography
  • Conley, Richard S. "Presidential Influence and Minority Party Liaison on Veto Overrides: New Evidence from the Ford Presidency". American Politics Research 2002 30(1): 34–65. Fulltext: in Swetswise, the major scholarly study
  • Hersey, John Richard. The President: A Minute-By-Minute Account of a Week in the Life of Gerald Ford. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1975.
  • Hult, Karen M. and Walcott, Charles E. Empowering the White House: Governance under Nixon, Ford, and Carter. University Press of Kansas, 2004.
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "Kissinger, Ford, and Congress: the Very Bitter End in Vietnam". Pacific Historical Review 2002 71(3): 439–473. Fulltext: in University of California; Swetswise; Jstor and Ebsco
  • Jespersen, T. Christopher. "The Bitter End and the Lost Chance in Vietnam: Congress, the Ford Administration, and the Battle over Vietnam, 1975–76". Diplomatic History 2000 24(2): 265–293. Fulltext: in Swetswise, Ingenta, Ebsco
  • Maynard, Christopher A. "Manufacturing Voter Confidence: a Video Analysis of the American 1976 Presidential and Vice-presidential Debates". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 1997 17(4): 523–562. Fulltext: in Ingenta


Published works

.

Libraries and museums


Biographies


Multimedia and other