Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and prior to this the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, after Spiro Agnew had resigned. When he became President upon Richard Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, he became the first and to date only person to have served as both President and Vice President of the United States without being elected by the Electoral College. Before ascending to the Vice Presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as the Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican Minority Leader.
As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over arguably the weakest economy since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford's incumbency, 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. In 1976, Ford narrowly defeated Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. Ford lived longer than any other U.S. president, living 93 years and 165 days, while his 895 day presidency remains the shortest of all Presidents who did not die in office.
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“Can a free people restrain crime without sacrificing fundamental liberties and a heritage of compassion?... Let us show that we can temper together those opposite elements of liberty and restraint into one consistent whole. Let us set an example for the world of a law-abiding America glorying in its freedom as well as its respect for law.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)