Gerald Rudolph Ford

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Ford, Gerald Rudolph,

1913–2006, 38th president of the United States (1974–77), b. Omaha, Nebr. He was originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but his parents were divorced when he was two, and when his mother remarried he assumed the name of his stepfather. Admitted to the Michigan bar in 1941, he was a member (1949–73) of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as the Republican minority leader (1965–73). Ford gained a reputation as a loyal Republican who supported his party on virtually all issues. A consistent proponent of a large defense budget, he led the Republican opposition to the Great SocietyGreat Society,
in U.S. history, term for the domestic policies of President Lyndon Johnson. In his first State of the Union message, he called for a war on poverty and the creation of a "Great Society," a prosperous nation that had overcome racial divisions.
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 programs of President Lyndon B. JohnsonJohnson, Lyndon Baines,
1908–73, 36th President of the United States (1963–69), b. near Stonewall, Tex. Early Life

Born into a farm family, he graduated (1930) from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Southwest Texas State Univ.), in San Marcos.
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. He was permanent chairman of the Republican National Convention in 1968 and 1972.

In Oct., 1973, Ford was nominated by President Richard NixonNixon, Richard Milhous,
1913–94, 37th President of the United States (1969–74), b. Yorba Linda, Calif. Political Career to 1968

A graduate of Whittier College and Duke law school, he practiced law in Whittier, Calif.
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 to succeed the disgraced Spiro T. AgnewAgnew, Spiro Theodore
, 1918–96, 39th Vice President of the United States (1969–73), b. Baltimore. Admitted to the bar in 1949, he entered politics as a Republican and was elected (1961) chief executive of Baltimore co.
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 as vice president of the United States; on Dec. 6, 1973, he was sworn in, becoming the first person to be appointed to the office under the procedures specified by the 25th Amendment. As vice president, Ford traveled widely around the country, attempting to rally for the Nixon administration the support that had eroded as a result of the Watergate affairWatergate affair,
in U.S. history, series of scandals involving the administration of President Richard M. Nixon; more specifically, the burglarizing of the Democratic party national headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.
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. His tenure as vice president was short, however; when Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, Ford became president. He pledged to continue Nixon's foreign policy and to work to curb inflation. One month later he issued a complete pardon to Nixon for all criminal acts perpetrated by Nixon while he was president. In the 1974 congressional elections the Republicans suffered substantial losses, attributable both to Watergate and to the economy. To deal with the economic recession, Ford proposed (1975) tax cuts, limited social spending (with continued high defense expenditure), and heavy taxation on imported oil. The Democratic Congress opposed many elements of the program. Ford was defeated by Democrat Jimmy CarterCarter, Jimmy
(James Earl Carter, Jr.), 1924–, 39th President of the United States (1977–81), b. Plains, Ga, grad. Annapolis, 1946.

Carter served in the navy, where he worked with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover in developing the nuclear submarine program.
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 in the 1976 presidential election.


See Ford's Selected Speeches, ed. by M. V. Doyle (1973); biography by D. Brinkley (2007); C. Fitzgerald, ed., Gerald R. Ford (1988); D. Rumsfeld, When the Center Held (2018).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ford, Gerald Rudolph


Born July 14, 1913, in Omaha, Neb. American statesman.

Ford was the son of a small businessman. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1935 and from Yale Law School in 1941. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the US Navy. After demobilization, he had a law practice for a short period. From 1948 to 1973, Ford was a Republican member of the US House of Representatives and from 1965 to 1973 was the leader of the Republicans in the House. In October 1973, after the resignation of Vice-President S. Agnew, President R. Nixon nominated Ford for vice-president; he was confirmed by Congress in December 1973. On Aug. 9, 1974, as a result of Nixon’s resignation, Ford became president.

As president, Ford on the whole continued the domestic and foreign policies of the previous administration. In particular, he announced his intention to continue the foreign policy that had been adopted in the early 1970’s. In 1974 and 1975, Ford met with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU L. I. Brezhnev near Vladivostok (November 1974) and in Helsinki (July and August 1975). At the same time, Ford did not hesitate to strengthen the military potential of the USA. In 1975 he proclaimed the Pacific Doctrine, intended to strengthen the position of the USA in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific. In the area of domestic policies, Ford was chiefly concerned with economic problems, above all the crisis state of the US economy. Many of Ford’s measures were opposed by Congress, which was trying to expand its power over domestic and foreign policy. Ford was defeated in the presidential election of 1976.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.