On August 9, 1974, in a troubled and fragmented period of American history, Gerald R. Ford assumed office as the 38th president of the United States.
Early Life of Gerald R. Ford
Gerald R. Ford was born in 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska, but spent his childhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was an all-around student, excelling both in academics and extra-curricular activities. While on college, he became part of the University of Michigan football team. In fact, he even became an assistant coach to the Yale Football Team while he was studying law at the same university. Gerald R. Ford also enlisted himself in the Navy during the Second World War, and proceeded to become a lieutenant commander.
When the war ended, Gerald R. Ford came back to practicing law, joined the Republican Party, married Elizabeth Bloomer, and became a father to Michael, Steven, Susan, and John.
Ford Saves America
Gerald R. Ford unexpectedly became the vice president when Nixon’s Spiro Agnew resigned from office due to the Watergate Scandal. He inherited numerous problems in American economy such as growing inflation, energy shortages, and threats to security. Throughout his term, however, Ford supported Nixon in his efforts to regulate the economy.
When Ford became president, he dedicated his initial plans to stabilize American politics. Thus, he granted President Nixon full pardon from his committed crimes. He nominated Governor Nelson Rockefeller to become his vice president. He also selected his own cabinet.
Politics, the Ford Way
True to his Republican virtues, Ford continued to implement moderate policies in domestic issues while being conservative in economic concerns. He curbed inflation and increased government spending, despite opposition from the Democratic part of the government. Part of his policies were avoiding and vetoing non- military appropriation bills as a measure to cut expenses. He was able to veto 39 proposals during his first year in presidency.
He also implemented tax reductions and control on regulatory boards for the benefit of the business sector. As Gerald Ford stated: “We…declared our independence 200 years ago, and we are not about to lose it now to paper shufflers and computers.”
In terms of international relations, Ford took it upon himself to restore and maintain US hegemony around the world despite facing collapse against Cambodia and Vietnam Wars. Ford also provided assistance to Israel and Egypt in the hope to avoid chaos in the Middle East. He also facilitated a peace treaty between the two states. Last but not the least, he obtained and sustained a détente agreement with Soviet Union’s Leonid I. Brezhnev.
Gerald R. Ford proved to be successful in helping America get back to its feet: