Gerald Ford

President of the United States from 1974 to 1977 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (/ˈɛrəld/ JERR-əld;[1] born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913  December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. He previously served as the leader of the Republican Party in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1973, and as the 40th vice president under President Richard Nixon from 1973 to 1974. Ford succeeded to the presidency when Nixon resigned in 1974, but was defeated for election to a full term in 1976. Ford is the only person to become U.S. president without winning an election for president or vice president.

Quick facts: Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United Sta...
Gerald Ford
Official portrait, 1974
38th President of the United States
In office
August 9, 1974  January 20, 1977
Vice President
Preceded byRichard Nixon
Succeeded byJimmy Carter
40th Vice President of the United States
In office
December 6, 1973  August 9, 1974
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded bySpiro Agnew
Succeeded byNelson Rockefeller
House Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1965  December 6, 1973
WhipLeslie C. Arends
Preceded byCharles A. Halleck
Succeeded byJohn Jacob Rhodes
Leader of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1965  December 6, 1973
Preceded byCharles A. Halleck
Succeeded byJohn Jacob Rhodes
Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1963  January 3, 1965
LeaderCharles A. Halleck
Preceded byCharles B. Hoeven
Succeeded byMelvin Laird
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1949  December 6, 1973
Preceded byBartel J. Jonkman
Succeeded byRichard Vander Veen
Personal details
Leslie Lynch King Jr.

(1913-07-14)July 14, 1913
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 2006(2006-12-26) (aged 93)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
Resting placeGerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1948)
  • Politician
  • lawyer
SignatureCursive signaure in ink
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service1942–1946
RankUS-O4_insignia.svg Lieutenant commander
Battles/warsWorld War II
College football career
No. 48
Career history
High schoolGrand Rapids South
Career highlights and awards

Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, where he played for the school's football team before eventually attending Yale Law School. Afterward, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1942 to 1946. Ford began his political career in 1949 as the U.S. representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, serving in this capacity for nearly 25 years, the final nine of them as the House minority leader. In December 1973, two months after Agnew's resignation, Ford became the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment. After the subsequent resignation of President Nixon in August 1974, Ford immediately assumed the presidency.

Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession.[2] In one of his most controversial acts, he granted a presidential pardon to Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. 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.[3] Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, which marked a move toward détente in the Cold War. With the collapse of South Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War essentially ended. In the 1976 Republican presidential primary, Ford defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but narrowly lost the presidential election to the Democratic challenger, Jimmy Carter.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party, but his moderate views on various social issues increasingly put him at odds with conservative members of the party in the 1990s and early 2000s. He also set aside the enmity he had felt towards Carter following the 1976 election and the two former presidents developed a close friendship. After experiencing a series of health problems, he died in Rancho Mirage, California in 2006. Surveys of historians and political scientists have ranked Ford as a below-average president,[4][5][6] though retrospective public polls on his time in office were more positive.[7][8]