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The Ex-Presidents of the United States of America, Gerald Ford

california pardon
by nadav

Article by Russell Shortt

Gerald Ford was born as Leslie Lynch King Jr. on 14 July, 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents split up within weeks of Gerald’s birth, his mother later married Gerald Rudolff Ford, the young Gerald was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his three half-brothers. Ford was a star athlete, he helped the University of Michigan to two National titles in 1932 and 1933. He made the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, playing in an exhibition match against the Chicago Bears. Following his graduation in 1935 with a degree in economics and political science, he turned down contracts with the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers in order to take a coaching position at Yale and apply to its law school. He was admitted, graduated in 1941 and was admitted to the Michigan Bar and opened a law practice in Grand Rapids, however after the attack on Pearl harbour, he enlisted in the Navy. During World War II, he served aboard the USS Monterey seeing action in the Pacific. Returning to Grand Rapids in 1948, he resumed his law practice and married Betty Bloomer Warren and became involved in the Republican Party. He was persuaded to run for the House of Representatives against the incumbent Republican congressman Bartel J. Jonkman; Ford secured the nomination and went on to easily win the election. He served in the House of Representatives for twenty-five years; a tenure that was hard-working, modest and attentive. In 1963 he was appointed to the Warren Commission, investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and in 1965 he led a movement against the Republican leadership in the House.

By the early 1970s, Gerald Ford was considering resigning from Congress, however suddenly he was nominated by President Nixon to succeed Spiro Agnew as Vice-President after Agnew’s resignation. Ford was not Nixon’s first choice but he was the safest, he was a popular figure in Congress and the members were content to approve one of their own. His nomination was confirmed by both chambers and he took the oath as Vice-President on 6 December 1973. His subsequent tenure almost went unnoticed, as the Nixon administration became completely embroiled in the Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned on 9 August, 1974 and Ford was sworn in as the thirty-eight President of the United States becoming the only President to never have been elected to either the Presidential or Vice-Presidential office. Ford entered an arena that was immersed in political discontent and economic deterioration. A month after his inauguration, he made the terribly unpopular decision of pardoning Nixon for any crimes that he may have committed. He clashed with Congress on many occasions, using the veto extensively until he was advised that it was politically unwise to do so. He also clashed with Congress over foreign policy issues including an attempt to increase military aid to Vietnam and to pro-Western forces in Angola. However, Ford did score some successes such as achieving a cap on federal expenditure, attaining a peace deal between forces in the Sinai peninsula and the Golan Heights and a successful rescue of the American merchant ship, Mayaguez in Cambodia. His greatest achievement was in restoring a sense of stability after the Nixon debacle and he decided to run in the 1972 presidential election. He was challenged for the Republican nomination by the former Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, he managed to see him off after a bruising contest. However, he was defeated in the election by the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter.

About the Author

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.nethttp://www.visitscotlandtours.com

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