Gerald Ford


Ford may not be the most important president during his
time, but he did more than some presidents did for the
people. One of them was raising their spirits and hopes for
the people to the government. He helped people gain
confidence in their president again after losing confidence
with Nixon. He set new records and started getting the
United States on its feet again after having a very hard
time in the past. He started his presidency with an oath on
August 9, 1974 which he said - "Our long national nightmare
is over (4, page 422)" which started his presidency.
Early Life
Ford had a more interesting early life than he had during
his presidency. He was born in Omaha Nebraska on July 14,
1913. He wasn't always called Gerald Ford, his original
name was Leslie Lynch King Jr. His parents were Leslie and
Dorothy King. When his parents got divorced while he was
two, his mother married a man named Gerald R. Ford from
whom he got his most widely known name. Together, they
moved to Grand Rapids Michigan (1, Page 1). During his High
School years, he was the most popular Senior having been a
great athlete and competing within 5 sports, his best being
Football. Being good at Football, he got a M.V.P, a
scholarship to Michigan with a Football scholarship and was
offered a contract by the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit
Lions. He finally took a job as assistant Football coach at
While at Yale, he became interested in law and asked to
take courses. He was soon invited to learn law in the
college and didn't graduate till he was 27 because of his
late start. 1941, he set up a practice in Grand Rapids
Michigan which closed after World War II (4, page 145). He
joined the Navy and was discharged as lieutenant commander.
He married Elizabeth Bloomer Warren and entered the
Republican primary in Michigan during 1948. November, he
was elected to the House of Representatives and was
reelected every two years till 1973. In the House, he was
know to be a moderately conservative, hardworking member of
the Republican Party. In 1965, he was the Republican House
leader.(1,page1) While in the House of Representatives, he
"A Republican of the President's domestic policies...It's
going to be
rough going for him around here. Congress will write the
laws, not
the executive branch." (3, page 29)
After Agnew resigned, Ford was then nominated as Vice
President from the House of Representatives. About six
months later, The Watergate scandal forced Nixon to resign.
Ford set records as the 1st president in history who had
not been chosen in a national election as President or
Vice-President. He soon pardoned Nixon for the crimes he
might of commited during office. Ford wanted people to look
ahead and stop worrying about Nixon and Watergate. As soon
as he got in office, the country had an economic slump
which had a recession combined with inflation causing a
stagflation. He had other problems too, he had a running
battle with the Democratic Congress. He had vetoed 61 bills
and had 12 vetoes overridden. The government was pretty
much deadlocked.
The government had some things happen while he was in
office. South Vietnam collapsed to North Vietnam in 1975
ending the 'war' there. Ford offered a conditional amnesty
to Vietnam draft evaders. There was the overthrow of the
Lon Nol regime in Cambodia Kampuchea by Communist forces.
There was a successful rescue attempt for the recapture of
the U.S. Freighter Mayaguez and its crew which were seized
by Cambodian forces. We got the people back safe (1, Page
His economic plan was initialed W.I.P. This meant Wip
Inflation Now. This said that average people could beat
inflation if we all worked together. This plan was meant to
include everyone in fighting the rising economic problems.
He even received personal mail which said that people were
listening about what he had said to them about the W.I.P.
idea and what it stood for.
Ford was know during these years as someone who brought new
openness to the White House and how he turned the United
States around for the better (4, Page 146). He was also
known to let things work themselves out and how he made a
firm and an instant decision. He was a great leader. It's
not easy to be classified as a great leader. You must have
some important elements in you. One of them being an
element of ruthlessness and toughness. You also must have a
cold- bloodedless that sacrifices dear friendship so you
don't get caught up with the past and do move on. The last
and probably most important element is the element of iron
determination which means the person is determined to reach
something and will get it done no matter what is the cost.
Ford by no doubt turned the government around by fixing the
duplicities of Vietnam, the deceptions of Watergate, and a
general loss in confidence within elected leaders in
Washington. He didn't accomplish this by being special, or
rich, or using special abilities or people. He was just a
regular guy who changed the country. He was best know to be
decent, honest, hard-working, and was even known as "too
nice a guy." He boasted he had adversaries and no enemies.
He was a good Christian who hated to hurt people. Known as
"Good old Jerry", he was a good, polite politician. (2,
page 422)
Ford's family life helped him gain acceptance to the people
of America. One of the more famous Ford's (probably more
famous) was Betty Ford. Betty had her problems but she was
not afraid to share them with the public. She had several
troubles during Ford's presidency such as a nervous
breakdown. She was overdosing on pills and alcohol causing
it. When she told the public, they didn't hate her for her
problem, no, they understood what stress a wife of the
president must give a woman. Betty Ford also had another
problem. This being Breast Cancer, she also told the
public. The public admired her honesty with them as well as
Gerald's. Reporters followed the family everywhere they
went and covered news on anything new that was happening
within this ordinary family. The reporters followed the
Ford's while they were on vacation in Vail, Colorado and
the reporters were present when Gerald's golden retriever
had puppies.
Ford didn't act president as he was in office. He acted
like an ordinary person, too. He loved to ski and he often
swam twice a day. He golfed while in office and was very
good. He never liked reading. Instead, he watched Football
on T.V. He always was a sporting person and even went to
that section of the newspaper first. He liked strange food
making him unique. His favorite dish was cottage cheese
smothered in catsup. For dessert, he liked Pecan Ice Cream
with peach slices (4, Page 146).
Election of 1978
Ford was God-Fearing and very patriotic. He was a proud
American. These things made him run in the upcoming
election. He wanted to be elected on his own to prove to
himself that he had done a good job and the public had
thought so, too. He often said such things to people:
"I don't care what the polls say, it's the right thing to
do. Whatever
the election outcome, I think it is best for the country"
(2, Page
He lost the election, unfortunately, to Carter because
during the campaign the Halloween Massacre came about
around Halloween and turned many people against him causing
a very close election which showed how separated Americans
were at this time.
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. now spends the remaining years of
his life in California and is an active Republican Member.
(4, Page 147)
As you have read in the above pages, Ford was an important
man who has changed history for the good. He might not of
done much to make him as famous as other presidents such as
Kennedy, Reagan or Good 'ole Abe Lincoln, but he did raise
the spirits and sights of many millions of Americans for
the Good. 

1. Prodigy "Ford, Gerald"
Grolier Encyclopedia
1992, pp. 1-3
2. Hartmann, Robert T.
Palace Politics
New York - Robert T. Hartmann Press
3. Carter, Douglas
"Power in Washington"
Newsweek, November 21, 1966
pp. 29
4. Bumann, Joan and Patterson, John
40 President's Facts
Ohio, Willowsip Press


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