Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents, #38) by Douglas BrinkleyThe accidental president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis
When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.
Many people today think of Ford as a man who stumbled a lot--clumsy on his feet and in politics--but acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley shows him to be a man of independent thought and conscience, who never allowed party loyalty to prevail over his sense of right and wrong. As a young congressman, he stood up to the isolationists in the Republican leadership, promoting a vigorous role for America in the world. Later, as House minority leader and as president, he challenged the right wing of his party, refusing to bend to their vision of confrontation with the Communist world. And after the fall of Saigon, Ford also overruled his advisers by allowing Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States, arguing that to do so was the humane thing to do.
Brinkley draws on exclusive interviews with Ford and on previously unpublished documents (including a remarkable correspondence between Ford and Nixon stretching over four decades), fashioning a masterful reassessment of Gerald R. Fords presidency and his underappreciated legacy to the nation.
Gerald Ford was born on July 14, , in Omaha, Nebraska. Elected to the House of Representatives in , Ford represented Michigan's 5th District for nearly 25 years before suddenly finding himself at the crossroads of history. He was elevated to vice president, and then became the 38th U. Ford was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the election. He died in California in Gerald R.
The presidency of Gerald Ford began on August 9, , when Gerald Ford became President of the United States upon the resignation of Richard Nixon from office, and ended on January 20, , a period of days. The 38th United States president, Ford has the distinction of being the first, and to date the only person to serve as president without being elected to either the presidency or the vice presidency. His presidency ended following his defeat in the presidential election by Democrat Jimmy Carter. Ford took office in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and in the final stages of the Vietnam War , both of which engendered a new disillusion in American political institutions. Ford's first major act upon taking office was to grant a presidential pardon to Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal, prompting a major backlash to Ford's presidency.
Harrison John Tyler. Grant Rutherford B. Hayes James Garfield. Taft Woodrow Wilson Warren G. Harding Calvin Coolidge Herbert Hoover.
Early Years and Congressional Career
On August 9, , Gerald Ford officially became President in the most unusual of circumstances, as Richard Nixon left Washington and Ford took office without the benefit of direct election to presidential office. - Ford, who went from being a college football star to the White House under the most unusual circumstances. Ford became the first, and so far the only, person to become President without winning a general election for President or Vice President.
For a discussion of the history and nature of the presidency, see presidency of the United States of America. While Gerald Ford was still an infant, his parents were divorced, and his mother moved to Grand Rapids , Michigan, where she married Gerald R. Ford, Sr. After graduating from the University of Michigan , where he was a star gridiron-football player, Ford worked as an assistant coach while he earned a law degree from Yale University He joined the navy during World War II and served in the South Pacific, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander and nearly losing his life in during a deadly typhoon that killed hundreds.
Ford accepts. Nixon resigns the presidency. Ford innaugurated Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as the thirty-eighth President of the United States. Rockefeller, the former Governor of New York, as his vice president. When questioned about the possibility of a pardon for former President Nixon, he replies that he is not ruling it out. When Ford took the oath of office just a month earlier, he took over the presidency from an embattled Richard Nixon, who had just resigned as the 37th President of the United States due to the myriad of political and legal problems surrounding his involvement in the Watergate scandal.