Tuesday, October 16, 2012

President Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford

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38th President of the United States

Under the Constitution of 1787

August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977



By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited By: Naomi Yavneh Klos. Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 9th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



GERALD RUDOLPH. FORD was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska on July 14, 1913. He was the only child of Leslie Lynch King and Dorothy Gardner King. Two weeks after his birth, his mother left her husband and took her son to live with her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His parents were divorced in 1914 and his mother met Gerald R. Ford at a church function. They were married on February 1, 1916 and although Ford never formally adopted her son, he gave the child his name, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. Young Ford did not know until 1930 that he was not the biological son of his father, but he took the name legally on December 3, 1935. In later years, Ford saw his natural father only a few times and learned that he had remarried and fathered another boy and two girls.

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Ford attended the local grade schools and worked in his stepfather’s paint and varnish store. The Fords were a close-knit family, which included three younger half-brothers. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was the star center for the South High School football team. He won a football scholarship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1931 and played center on their undefeated national football championship teams of 1932 and 1933. After his graduation in 1935, Ford received offers to play professional football with both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers but instead he entered Yale University to study law. He accepted a job as assistant football coach and freshman boxing coach to finance his studies. He graduated from Yale in 1941 and returned to Grand Rapids to open a law firm with Philip R. Buchen, a friend from the University of Michigan.



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America's Four United Republics

In April 1942, Ford enlisted in the Navy and was commissioned an ensign. After orientation, he became a physical fitness instructor at the pre-flight training school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In the spring of 1943, he was assigned to duty aboard the USS Monterey, which took part in most of the major operations in the South Pacific. He earned ten battle stars and was discharged as a lieutenant commander in February 1946.

Ford returned to Grand Rapids and became a partner in the firm of Butterfield, Keeney and Amberg and became active in local Republican politics. With the encouragement of his stepfather, who was the county Republican chairman, Ford decided to run for Congress. He won the election to the House of Representatives from Michigan’s 5th Congressional District in 1948, receiving 61 percent of the vote in the general election. During the height of the campaign on October 15, 1948, Ford secretly married Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer Warren. She was a fashion consultant for a leading Grand Rapids department store. She had previously been married to William C. Warren, having been divorced in 1947. Betty was born in Chicago and had studied dance with Martha Graham and had been a model in New York. The couple would have four children: Michael Gerald, born March 14, 1950; John Gardner, born March 16, 1952; Steven Meigs, born May 19, 1956; and Susan Elizabeth, born July 6, 1957.

Ford was reelected twelve times, serving from January 3, 1949 to December 6, 1973. He served on the House Appropriations Committee and rose to prominence on the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee, becoming its ranking minority member in 1961.

In November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford to a special task force set up to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Warren Commission assigned Ford the task to prepare a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald.  The Commission's work, despite all members concluding Oswald worked alone, continues to be debated in the public arena.



Gerald R. Ford  Warren Commission Signed Statement



His reputation as a legislator grew and he became House Minority Leader in 1965. In both the 1968 and 1972 elections Ford was a loyal supporter of Richard Nixon who had been a friend for many years. In 1973, when Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, was forced to resign over a income tax scandal, Nixon picked Ford as the new Vice President. Following the most thorough background investigation in the history of the FBI, Ford was confirmed and sworn in on December 6, 1973. The following year, Nixon resigned over Watergate and Ford became President. He became the first person to become President of the United States without having been elected president or vice president. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974 and within a month he nominated Nelson Rockefeller for vice president. On September 9, 1974, Ford granted Nixon a “full, free and absolute pardon”, believing that protracted impeachment proceedings would keep the country from focusing on its other problems. 



  

Gerald R. Ford  Pardon of Richard M. Nixon




Public reaction was most negative and the decision may have cost him the election in 1976.

Ford presided over a period of steadily improving relations with the Soviet Union, reaching an agreement on limiting nuclear arms. He had the misfortune to inherit the weakest American economy of the post-World War II period. He faced rising inflation, rising unemployment and rising energy use. In the spring of 1975 the North Vietnamese began their last offensive of the war. Only a small contingent of American personnel remained in Saigon and as the North Vietnamese advanced toward the capital, they were forced into a desperate and chaotic evacuation. On April 30, 1975, the war was officially ended.

On two separate trips to California in September 1975, Ford was the target of assassination attempts. Both of the assailants were women – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of convicted murderer Charles Manson, and by Sara Jane Moore.
Ford fought a strong challenge by Ronald Reagan to gain the Republican nomination during the 1976 campaign. He chose Senator Robert Dole of Kansas as his running mate but lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter in one of the closest elections in history.

Ford returned to private life in California where he built a new house in Rancho Mirage. He continues to actively participate in politics and campaigns extensively for Republican candidates. In August 1999, Ford received the Medal of Freedom presented by President Bill Clinton. This honor, the nation’s highest civilian award, was in recognition of Ford’s role in guiding he nation through the turbulent times of Watergate, the Nixon resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.



Vice President Dick Cheney presents the flag that draped the casket of former President Gerald R. Ford to former first lady Betty Ford during interment ceremonies at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., Wednesday, January 3, 2007. White House photo by David Bohrer



President Bush's Remarks in Eulogy to
Former President Gerald R. Ford



The Washington National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.



THE PRESIDENT: Mrs. Ford, the Ford family; distinguished guests, including our Presidents and First Ladies; and our fellow citizens:
We are here today to say goodbye to a great man. Gerald Ford was born and reared in the American heartland. He belonged to a generation that measured men by their honesty and their courage. He grew to manhood under the roof of a loving mother and father -- and when times were tough, he took part-time jobs to help them out. In President Ford, the world saw the best of America -- and America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation's history.
Long before he was known in Washington, Gerald Ford showed his character and his leadership. As a star football player for the University of Michigan, he came face to face with racial prejudice when Georgia Tech came to Ann Arbor for a football game. One of Michigan's best players was an African American student named Willis Ward. Georgia Tech said they would not take the field if a black man were allowed to play. Gerald Ford was furious at Georgia Tech for making the demand, and for the University of Michigan for caving in. He agreed to play only after Willis Ward personally asked him to. The stand Gerald Ford took that day was never forgotten by his friend. And Gerald Ford never forgot that day either -- and three decades later, he proudly supported the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the United States Congress.
Gerald Ford showed his character in the devotion to his family. On the day he became President, he told the nation, "I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman -- to my dear wife." By then Betty Ford had a pretty good idea of what marriage to Gerald Ford involved. After all, their wedding had taken place less than three weeks before his first election to the United States Congress, and his idea of a "honeymoon" was driving to Ann Arbor with his bride so they could attend a brunch before the Michigan-Northwestern game the next day. (Laughter.) And that was the beginning of a great marriage. The Fords would have four fine children. And Steve, Jack, Mike, and Susan know that, as proud as their Dad was of being President, Gerald Ford was even prouder of the other titles he held: father, and grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Gerald Ford showed his character in the uniform of our country. When Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941, Gerald Ford was an attorney fresh out of Yale Law School, but when his nation called he did not hesitate. In early 1942 he volunteered for the Navy and, after receiving his commission, worked hard to get assigned to a ship headed into combat. Eventually his wish was granted, and Lieutenant Ford was assigned to the aircraft carrier, USS Monterey, which saw action in some of the biggest battles of the Pacific.
Gerald Ford showed his character in public office. As a young congressman, he earned a reputation for an ability to get along with others without compromising his principles. He was greatly admired by his colleagues and they trusted him a lot. And so when President Nixon needed to replace a vice president who had resigned in scandal, he naturally turned to a man whose name was a synonym for integrity: Gerald R. Ford. And eight months later, when he was elevated to the presidency, it was because America needed him, not because he needed the office.
President Ford assumed office at a terrible time in our nation's history. At home, America was divided by political turmoil and wracked by inflation. In Southeast Asia, Saigon fell just nine months into his presidency. Amid all the turmoil, Gerald Ford was a rock of stability. And when he put his hand on his family Bible to take the presidential oath of office, he brought grace to a moment of great doubt.
In a short time, the gentleman from Grand Rapids proved that behind the affability was firm resolve. When a U.S. ship called the Mayaguez was seized by Cambodia, President Ford made the tough decision to send in the Marines -- and all the crew members were rescued. He was criticized for signing the Helsinki Accords, yet history has shown that document helped bring down the Soviet Union, as courageous men and women behind the Iron Curtain used it to demand their God-given liberties. Twice assassins attempted to take the life of this good and decent man, yet he refused to curtail his public appearances. And when he thought that the nation needed to put Watergate behind us, he made the tough and decent decision to pardon President Nixon, even though that decision probably cost him the presidential election.
Gerald Ford assumed the presidency when the nation needed a leader of character and humility -- and we found it in the man from Grand Rapids. President Ford's time in office was brief, but history will long remember the courage and common sense that helped restore trust in the workings of our democracy.
President Gerald R. Ford letter to Blair House Manager Mary Edith Wilroy on her retirement 

Laura and I had the honor of hosting the Ford family for Gerald Ford's 90th birthday. It's one of the highlights of our time in the White House. I will always cherish the memory of the last time I saw him, this past year in California. He was still smiling, still counting himself lucky to have Betty at his side, and still displaying the optimism and generosity that made him one of America's most beloved leaders.

And so, on behalf of a grateful nation, we bid farewell to our 38th President. We thank the Almighty for Gerald Ford's life, and we ask for God's blessings on Gerald Ford and his family.





The First United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776


September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776



The Second United American Republic
Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781


Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America

George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783




The Third United American Republic
Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789







The Fourth United American Republic
Presidents of the United States of America






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Dad, why are you a Republican?

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