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Ford, Gerald R

Ford, Gerald R.

38th president, 1974–1977

Born: July 14, 1913

Vice President: Nelson A. Rockefeller

First Lady: Elizabeth "Betty" Ford

Children: Michael, John, Steven, Susan

Gerald Ford, the 38th president, was never elected to the office. Richard Nixon appointed him vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973.

When Nixon resigned in 1974, because of the Watergate scandal, Ford became the next president. Because he assumed the presidency this way, he never made an inaugural speech.

Gerald Ford was born in 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from both the University of Michigan and Yale University Law School. He practiced as a lawyer until he served in the navy during World War II. In 1948, he was elected to Congress and then re-elected 12 times. He served as a Michigan representative for 25 years and as House minority leader from 1965 until he was appointed vice president.

He met Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer in 1947 and they married the following year. They had four children: Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.

  • As a member of the House of Representatives, Ford served on the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  • Ford was the first president to serve as vice president and president without being elected to either office.
  • Ford's pardon of Nixon, the first of its kind, outraged many Americans who thought Nixon should be tried in court for his crimes.

Ford's brief term in office was overshadowed by public anger over his pardon of Richard Nixon. Economic problems also arose due to oil and energy shortages and inflation. Despite these problems, Ford ran for re-election in 1976, losing narrowly to Jimmy Carter.

When Ford Was in Office

1974
Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any involvement in the Watergate scandal.
1975
Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell to communist North Vietnam. The United States helped to evacuate thousands of South Vietnamese refugees.
Several of Richard Nixon's top aides were sent to prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up.
Ford survived two assassination attempts—both carried out by women.
Hank Aaron retired from major league baseball with the record of 755 career home runs.
1976
Women were admitted to U.S. military academies for the first time.
The U.S. celebrated its bicentennial—the 200-year anniversary of the nation's founding.
The unmanned Viking I and Viking II, U.S. spacecraft, landed on Mars.

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