President Ford was the only President neither elected to the Presidency nor the Vice Presidency, Ford never recovered from his pardon of Nixon. During his Presidency Saigon fell to the Vietnamese, and economic conditions in the US worsened.
The Early Years
Gerald Ford was born in Omaha Nebraska. His biological father left his mother soon after Ford was born. His mother remarried and her new husband adopted her son.
Ford attended public schools in Grand Rapids. He graduated in the top five percent of his class. Ford went on in 1931 to attend the University of Michigan. He was a B student, but went on to be an outstanding football player, and was offered professional football contracts. Ford declined because of his desire to go to law school. In 1935 he was hired to be an assistant football and head boxing coach at Yale University. In 1938 he was allowed to begin courses at Yale Law school while maintaining his position as coach. For graduated in January 1941 from law school and was admitted to the Michigan bar in June.
From 1942 until 1946 Ford served in the Navy. For most of his service Ford served aboard the USS Monterey a light aircraft carrier, that spent the bulk of the war in the South Pacific. He served as the gunnery officer.
After the war Ford joined a law firm in Grand Rapids. In 1948 Ford ran for Congress. He remained a member of the House until becoming Vice President in 1973. Ford had a consistent conservative record in the house. He was a supporter of Marshall Plan and other anti-communist initiatives. He was an early friend of Richard Nixon, and supported him strongly within the party. Ford was a member of the Warren commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. In 1965 he became the House minority leader. He opposed much of the Johnson domestic programs.
He was also a critic of the Johnson policies in Vietnam, which he depicted as a no win situation unless the administration was to use the full power of the military to win the war.
Ford was the first President to be appointed under the provisions of the Twenty Fifth Amendment. Following the resignation of Vice President Agnew, President Nixon nominated him. He was confirmed in the Senate by 92-3 and in the House by 387-35. He took the oath of office on December 6, 1973. Eight months and three days later Nixon resigned and Ford became President.
Accomplishments in Office
President Ford's first major action was also his most controversial. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for all crimes that he may have committed during his Presidency. His rational was that this was a way to put Watergate behind the nation. The move was very unpopular. President Ford also offered to all the draft evaders and deserters from the Vietnam conditional amnesty. The draft evaders had to swear allegiance to the United States and do two years of community service. The deserters had to do two years of service in the branch of army that they had deserted from. Only a few evaders and deserters took up the offer.
During the Ford Presidency Communist forces conquered South Vietnam, thus ending the Vietnam war. The only aid that the United States provided South Vietnam in the end was the help in evacuating refugees.
The First Family
Father (Adoptive): Gerald Rudolf Ford
Mother: Dorothy Ayer Gardner
Wife: Elizabeth Ann Bloomer
Sons: Michael, John, Steven
Secretary of State: Henry Kissinger
Secretary of The Treasury: William Simon
Secretaries of Defense: James Schlesinger, Donald Rumsfeld
Attorney Generals: William Saxbe, Edward Levi
Secretaries of The Interior: Roger Morton, Thomas Kleppe
Secretaries of Agriculture: Earl Butz, John Knebel
Secretaries of Commerce: Fredrick Dent, Roger Morton, Elliot Richardson
Secretaries of Labor: Peter Brennan, John Dunlop, W.J. Usery, Jr.
Secretaries of Health, Ed., and Welfare: Casper Weinberger, F. David Matthews Secretaries of Housing & Urban Dev.: James Lynn, Carla Hills
Secretary of Transportation: Claude Brinegar, William Coleman
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
First President whose was not elected to either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency.
First President to releace a public health report of himself.
First President to visit Japan while in office.