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Ford, Gerald R. - 38th President
9 August 1974 to 20 January 1977

Russell Renka
Southeast Missouri State University

General Sources:  The Miller Center's American President.org site has American President - Gerald Ford.
    The American Experience The Presidents Gerald R. Ford PBS has only an Overview without the usual five-topic discussion accorded to other presidencies.  There is also no Teacher's Guide or other supportive material here.
    The IPL POTUS -- Gerald Rudolph Ford has its usual eight subsections.
    The Ford presidential library sources are outlined at About the Gerald R. Ford Library.  Document source materials are listed at Documents and Photographs from Ford Library Collections.  See also Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum for museum information. 

Personal BiographiesInformation About Gerald and Betty Ford is from the Library; included there is link to Gerald R. Ford Biography.  One of the most thorough biographies is Encyclopedia Americana Gerald Ford by Robert J. Huckshorn at Florida Atlantic University.  Photographs of President and Mrs. Ford are collected at Selected Photographs of Gerald and Betty Ford; see also IPL POTUS -- Gerald R. Ford Image Gallery.  Ex-president Ford, now in his late 80s and still active, is profiled at Gerald R. Ford's Recent Activities.

Character Above All: Gerald Ford essay is by former Ford White House assistant James M. Cannon.

C-SPAN President Gerald R. Ford Interview:  This was done in 1986 and is approximately 42 minutes in length.

1976 General ElectionDave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections has 1976 Election Results.  Ford lost this close election to national political newcomer Jimmy Carter.  By clicking on 'Counties' one can see that the South was still Democratic territory those days, especially with a native son from the State of Georgia.

Photographic History of Ford Administration

Major Speeches:   The Ford Presidential Library has a comprehensive list of presidential and other speeches at Selected Gerald R. Ford Speeches and Writings.  Ford's occasional recent pronouncements there (listed under "1977-Present - Post-Presidential") are noteworthy for frank and insightful political judgments.  Also included are Ford's 1970s condemnations of the War Powers Resolution.
      For specific entries in print and .wav formats, see Gerald Ford's Swearing-in Speech Aug. 9 1974 and Gerald Ford's Remarks on Signing the Nixon Pardon Proclamation of 8 September 1974.  Elsewhere, see USA Index on Gerald Ford for State of the Union Addresses of 1975, 1976 and 1977.  The americanpresidency.org Audio-Video Archive - Gerald R. Ford has 10 excerpts.

Cabinet Meetings:  Minutes from and other details of these are at Ford Administration Cabinet Meeting Minutes starting in August 10, 1974 and ending November 5, 1976.  Also linked are occasional Press Briefings.  Ford tried to revive Cabinet practices to resemble Eisenhower's, per message in Role of the Cabinet in the Ford Administration.  This fell short, but it does portray a Ford effort to move the presidency back to a more collegial approach predating the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies.

Selected Photographs of Gerald and Betty Ford:  Over 350 photographs, from the Gerald R. Ford Library's Audio-Visual Project.

Executive Orders and Proclamations:  Go to Federal Register - Executive Orders - Gerald R. Ford.  See also Proclamation 4417, which repealed President Roosevelt's 1942 Executive Order 9066 directing the internment of Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast during World War II.

Energy Crisis and 1973 Oil Embargo:  Ford inherited this Middle East related problem.  Brief background for 1973-74 is at Powering A Generation: Power History #4 from Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  A look back from 1998 is at Energy Plug: 25th Anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo Energy Trends Since the First Major U.S. Energy Crisis.  Most of that is subsequent to Ford's period, but it demonstrates the onset and seriousness of this national problem.

Foreign Policy with Ford:

Gerald Ford 1974-1976 outlines major Cold War-related policies of the Ford presidency.

National Security Council decisions:  See the recently released material from the Ford Library at Ford Administration: National Security Decision Memoranda and Study Memoranda.  The Ford Administration National Security Study Memoranda and  Ford Administration National Security Decision Memoranda shows the subjects of each meeting, listed chronologically.

    Vietnam and Cambodia:  Ford inherited American involvement in the Vietnam War near its end.  A sampling from the April 1975 Vietnam withdrawal by the U.S. is at National Security Council Meeting Minutes April 28 1975; this difficult day is separately portrayed in A Day in the Life of the President; and there are Cabinet meeting minutes from April 29, at Cabinet Meeting April 29 1975.
    Watson Institute: The Vietnam War Project was a 1996/1997 joint project of American and Vietnamese to define what in hindsight might have avoided such a disastrous encounter of the U.S. and Vietnam.
    The Vietnam War Declassification Project (April 2000) includes many original documents housed at the Ford Library.

Ford on War Powers Act (or WP Resolution):  Nixon vetoed it, Ford emphatically disliked it, and every president since has disowned it in some way.  Ford's negative view of it was expressed frequently after he departed the office.  See Ford's April 1977 statement at The War Powers Resolution on its lack of application to his own 29 months in office, and on its doubtful constitutionality.  He spoke in a similar vein in 1978 at The War Powers Resolution.  Terminology of the law is at The War Powers Act of 1973; or see above in this file under general topic of "War Powers Resolution."

Ford on Civil Rights:  Reputed a conservative in his political days, the long-retired Ford authors an occasional Op-Ed piece.  Some of these are blunt and insightful enough to give pause to those who hold seriously that Ford lacked intellectual qualities.  A recent 9 August 1999 New York Times Op-Ed piece at the Ford Library, entitled Inclusive America Under Attack 8899, shows Ford's dismay at the conservative anti-affirmative action position taken by litigants in a major recent case involving Ford's alma mater, the University of Michigan.
    Ford's positions on women's rights also vary from current conservative positions.  See Women under President Ford '76 Fact Book from the Library.  As President, he supported the Equal Rights Amendment and did not oppose some legal abortions.

Presidential PardonsPresidential Pardons - Historic - Notable Clemencies from Presidents Washington to George H.W. Bush has links.

The Pardon of Nixon:  The Ford Library has Gerald Ford's Remarks on Signing the Nixon Pardon Proclamation on 8 September 1974--approximately one  month after Ford assumed the presidency.   This was accompanied by signature to Proclamation 4311, at Gerald Ford's Proclamation Granting a Pardon to Richard Nixon.  The adverse impact (from 66% approval to 50% in a month's time) upon the President's public approval rating is shown at Gallup Presidential Approval Trends. (BROKEN LINK) Ford's actions on Watergate are covered at the President Gerald Ford section of Watergate - The Scandal That Destroyed President Richard Nixon at http://watergate.info (see also the references above in Nixon coverage).  It also has the pardon statement, at President's Ford Pardon of Richard Nixon [September 8 1974].
    On 18 May 2001, Ford was honored for this decision by the John Fitzgerald Library; see Remarks of President Gerald R. Ford Profile in Courage Award 2001 in print and audio versions.  Although the current prevalent judgment remains that Ford mishandled the decision by doing it suddenly and without background preparatory work, the decision itself is increasingly seen as a wise and courageous one.  The Gerald R. Ford Foundation Press Release cites the 2001 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award conferred to Ford for his pardon decision.

Book bibliography of President Ford:  See Gerald R. Ford:  A Selected Bibliography.


Copyrightę2004-2007, Russell D. Renka