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Who is Gerald Ford?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Gerald Ford is the 38th President of the United States and the only person to serve as both Vice President and President without having been elected to either position. Having been appointed to the Vice Presidency, Gerald Ford took office in August of 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal when President Richard Nixon became the first President to ever resign. Ford served only the remainder of Nixon’s term, as he was defeated in the 1976 presidential election by Jimmy Carter.

Gerald Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska 14 July, 1913. However, following his parent’s divorce when he was young, he later went by the name Gerald R. Ford, Jr. after his stepfather. Gerald Ford was a football star at the University of Michigan and studied law at Yale University. Married to the infamous Elizabeth Bloomer, the founder of the Betty Ford Clinic, Gerald Ford maintained an honest reputation and was popular during his career in Congress.

Though Ford took over the Presidency in a time of turmoil, he took the role that was thrust upon him in stride. Bringing many modern day political figures into his cabinet, such as George H. W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Ford attempted to balance foreign and domestic affairs. Gerald Ford ended the Vietnam War, but in the 1976 Presidential election, voters were apparently uncomfortable with Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon. Gerald Ford lost the election to the former Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter.

Gerald Ford remained active in politics long after his short stint in the Oval Office. He opened the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service as well as both the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Library. As Ford was approaching 90 years of age, his health began to fail. Suffering two strokes and later being fitted for a pacemaker, Ford’s heart and lungs were deteriorating. Gerald Ford died the day after Christmas in 2006 at his ranch in California. His wife, Betty Ford, publicly announced his death and funeral services were held 2 January 2007.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By alex94 — On Nov 05, 2010

@OceanSwimmer: There was another attempt on September 22, 1975, in San Francisco, CA. President Ford had stopped before getting in his limousine to wave at the crowd across the street, when Sara Jane Moore fired two shots at him with a .38 Smith and Wesson. She barely missed striking President Ford with the first bullet, while the other was deflected by a bystander who grabbed her arm.

Sara Jane Moore was a housewife, extremist and FBI informant. She plead guilty to avoid a trial and was sentence to life in prison.

By GrumpyGuppy — On Nov 05, 2010

@OceanSwimmer: The first attempt was on September 5, 1975 in Sacramento, CA. A Charles Manson member, Squeaky Fromme went to Sacramento’s Capital Park supposedly to plead with President Ford about the plight of the California Redwoods. Fromme was armed with a .45 Colt automatic pistol, when she pointed it at President Ford. However, there were no bullets in the firing chamber, but the magazine was loaded with four rounds.

Fromme was convicted of the attempted assassination of the president and received a life sentence.

By OceanSwimmer — On Nov 05, 2010

I heard there was an assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford’s life. Is there any truth to that?

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