Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford crop.jpg
38th President of the United States
In office
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
Vice President
Preceded byRichard Nixon
Succeeded byJimmy Carter
40th Vice President of the United States
In office
December 6, 1973 – August 9, 1974
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded bySpiro Agnew
Succeeded byNelson Rockefeller
House Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1965 – December 6, 1973
DeputyLeslie C. Arends
Preceded byCharles A. Halleck
Succeeded byJohn Jacob Rhodes
Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1965
LeaderCharles A. Halleck
Preceded byCharles B. Hoeven
Succeeded byMelvin Laird
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1949 – December 6, 1973
Preceded byBartel J. Jonkman
Succeeded byRichard Vander Veen
Personal details
Born
Leslie Lynch King Jr.

(1913-07-14)July 14, 1913
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedDecember 26, 2006(2006-12-26) (aged 93)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
Resting placeGerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Betty Bloomer (m. 1948)
Children
Parents
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA)
Yale Law School (JD)
Signature
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1942–1946
RankU.S. Navy O-4 infobox.svg Lieutenant Commander
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsAmerican Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (9 campaign stars)
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory

Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th President of the United States from August 1974 to January 1977. Before his accession to the presidency, he served as the 40th Vice President of the United States from December 1973 to August 1974. Ford is the only person to have served as both vice president and president without being elected to either office.

Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and attended the University of Michigan and Yale Law School. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving from 1942 to 1946; he left as a lieutenant commander. Ford began his political career in 1949 as the U.S. Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district. He served in this capacity for 25 years, the final nine of them as the House Minority Leader. Following the resignation of Spiro Agnew, he was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment. After the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford automatically assumed the presidency. His 895 day-long presidency is the shortest in U.S. history for any president who did not die in office.

As president, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, which marked a move toward détente in the Cold War. With the collapse of South Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure.[1] In one of his most controversial acts, he granted a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford's presidency, foreign policy was characterized in procedural terms by the increased role Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb on the powers of the President.[2] In the Republican presidential primary campaign of 1976, Ford defeated former California Governor Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. He narrowly lost the presidential election to the Democratic challenger, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter.

Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. His moderate views on various social issues increasingly put him at odds with conservative members of the party in the 1990s and early 2000s. After experiencing a series of health problems, he died at home on December 26, 2006. At the time of his death he was the longest-lived president in American history, a record he held until George H. W. Bush surpassed him on November 25, 2017.

Early life

Ford was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. on July 14, 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue in Omaha, Nebraska, where his parents lived with his paternal grandparents. He was the child of Dorothy Ayer Gardner and Leslie Lynch King Sr., a wool trader. His father was a son of prominent banker Charles Henry King and Martha Alicia King (née Porter). Gardner separated from King just sixteen days after her son's birth. She took her son with her to Oak Park, Illinois, home of her sister Tannisse and brother-in-law, Clarence Haskins James. From there, she moved to the home of her parents, Levi Addison Gardner and Adele Augusta Ayer, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gardner and King divorced in December 1913, and she gained full custody of her son. Ford's paternal grandfather Charles Henry King paid child support until shortly before his death in 1930.[3]

A young boy circa 1916.
Ford in 1916

Ford later said that his biological father had a history of hitting his mother.[4] In a biography of Ford, James M. Cannon—a member of the Ford administration—wrote that the separation and divorce of Ford's parents were sparked when, a few days after Ford's birth, Leslie King took a butcher knife and threatened to kill his wife, his infant son, and Ford's nursemaid. Ford later told confidants that his father had first hit his mother when she smiled at another man during their honeymoon.[5]

After living with her parents for two-and-a-half years, Gardner married Gerald Rudolff Ford on February 1, 1916. Gerald was a salesman in a family-owned paint and varnish company. They now called her son Gerald Rudolff Ford Jr. The future president was never formally adopted and did not legally change his name until December 3, 1935; he also used a more conventional spelling of his middle name.[6] He was raised in Grand Rapids with his three half-brothers from his mother's second marriage: Thomas Gardner "Tom" Ford (1918–1995), Richard Addison "Dick" Ford (1924–2015), and James Francis "Jim" Ford (1927–2001).[7]

Ford also had three half-siblings from the second marriage of Leslie King Sr., his biological father: Marjorie King (1921–1993), Leslie Henry King (1923–1976), and Patricia Jane King (1925–1980). They never saw one another as children, and he did not know them at all until 1960. Ford was not aware of his biological father until he was 17, when his parents told him about the circumstances of his birth. That year his biological father, whom Ford described as a "carefree, well-to-do man who didn't really give a damn about the hopes and dreams of his firstborn son", approached Ford while he was waiting tables in a Grand Rapids restaurant. The two "maintained a sporadic contact" until Leslie King Sr.'s death in 1941.[4][8]

Two men in suits and another man in a Boy Scout uniform stand beside 10 seated teenaged boys in Boy Scout uniforms. Ford is indicated by a red circle.
Eagle Scout Gerald Ford (circled in red) in 1929; Michigan Governor Fred W. Green at far left, holding hat

Ford said, "My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn't have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing."[9]

Ford was involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and earned that program's highest rank, Eagle Scout.[10] He is the only Eagle Scout to have ascended to the U.S. Presidency.[10]

Ford attended Grand Rapids South High School, where he was a star athlete and captain of the football team.[11] In 1930, he was selected to the All-City team of the Grand Rapids City League. He also attracted the attention of college recruiters.[9]

Other Languages
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لۊری شومالی: جئرالد فورد
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مازِرونی: جرالد فورد
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မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂဲရက် ဖို့ဒ်
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پنجابی: جیرالڈ فورڈ
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Plattdüütsch: Gerald Rudolph Ford
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sicilianu: Gerald Ford
Simple English: Gerald Ford
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slovenščina: Gerald Ford
Soomaaliga: Gerald Ford
српски / srpski: Џералд Форд
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Gerald Ford
svenska: Gerald Ford
Tagalog: Gerald Ford
тоҷикӣ: Ҷералд Форд
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українська: Джеральд Форд
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