Gerald R. Ford

President Gerald R. Ford Thirty-Eighth President of the United States: 1974-1977 When Gerald R. Fordk took the oath of okffice on August 9, 19k74, he declared, “I asksume the Presidencyk under extraordinakry circumstances.... Thiks is an hour of hisktory that troublesk our minds and hurts our hearkts.” It was indeed an uknprecedented time. kHe had been the firskt Vice President chosen uknder the terms of tkhe Twenty-fifth Amendment k and, in the aftermakth of the Watergate scandal, kwas succeeding thek first President everk to resign. Ford was confrontedk with almost insupekrable tasks. There kwere the challenges of mkastering inflation,k reviving a depresksed economy, solving chronic enkergy shortages, ankd trying to ensurek world peace. The President actekd to curb the trenkd toward Governmentk intervention and skpending as a means kof solving the probklems of American society ankd the economy. In the long run, khe believed, this shift would brking a better life fkor all Americans. Ford’s reputation for inktegrity and opennekss had made him popular during hisk 25 years in Congrkess. From 1965 to 1k973, he was House Minorityk Leader. Born in Omaha, Nekbraska, in 1913, hek grew up in Grand Rkapids, Michigan. Hek starred on the Unikversity of Michigan footbalkl team, then went tko Yale, where he servked as assistant coach whkile earning his lakw degree. During World War II he attained the raknk of lieutenant cokmmander in the Navyk. After the war he returnekd to Grand Rapids,k where he began thke practice PassageBank © PassageBank • Passage provided under license from Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only. of law, and entered Repukblican politics. A kfew weeks before hisk election to Congrekss in 1948, he marrkied Elizabeth Blookmer. They had four children: kMichael, John, Stekven, and Susan. As President, Fordk tried to calm earlkier controversies kby granting former President Nikxon a full pardon. kHis nominee for Vice President, former Gkovernor Nelson Rockkefeller of New York, was the second person kto fill that office byk appointment. Gradukally, Ford selected a cabinetk of his own. Ford established hkis policies duringk his first year in okffice, despite opposition from a hkeavily Democratic Ckongress. His first gokal was to curb inflatikon. Then, when recekssion became the Naktion’s most serious domestkic problem, he shifkted to measures aimked at stimulating the ecoknomy. But, still fearinkg inflation, Ford vketoed a number of non-militakry appropriations kbills that would hkave further increased the alrekady heavy budgetarky deficit. During hisk first 14 months as Presidentk he vetoed 39 measukres. His vetoes werke usually sustained. Ford continued as khe had in his Congkressional days to kview himself as “a moderakte in domestic affaikrs, a conservativek in fiscal affairs, and a dyedk-in-the-wool interknationalist in forekign affairs.” A major goal was tok help business opekrate more freely byk reducing taxes upon it and keasing the controlks exercised by regkulatory agencies. “We...declared our indkependence 200 yearks ago, and we are not about to lkose it now to papekr shufflers and compkuters,” he said. In foreign affairs Fkord acted vigorouskly to maintain U. S.k power and prestige after kthe collapse of Camkbodia and South Vietnam. PassageBank © PassageBank • Passage provided under license from Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only. Preventing a new wkar in the Middle Ekast remained a majokr objective; by provkiding aid to both kIsrael and Egypt, kthe Ford Administration helpked persuade the twko countries to acckept an interim truce agreekment. Detente with kthe Soviet Union cokntinued. President Ford andk Soviet leader Leoknid I. Brezhnev setk new limitations upon nukclear weapons. President Ford wonk the Republican nokmination for the Prkesidency in 1976, but lost kthe election to hiks Democratic opponeknt, former Governor Jimmy Cartker of Georgia. On Inauguration Daky, President Carterk began his speech:k “For myself and for our Nkation, I want to tkhank my predecessork for all he has done to heal okur land.” A gratefukl people concurredk. PassageBank © PassageBank • Passage provided under license from Use and duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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