On July 14, 1913, Gerald Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Dorothy Ayer Gardner and Leslie Lynch King Sr. as Leslie Lynch King Jr. His biological father was an alcoholic who abused his wife and used to beat her. Dorothy left her husband and went to live with her family, fearing for her safety and that of her newborn infant.
Dorothy eventually married Gerald Rudolff Ford, a businessman who adopted her kid and called him after him. This marriage resulted in the birth of three additional boys. Gerald’s stepfather was a kind man, and he and his younger half-brothers were raised in a caring environment.
He grew up to be a physically active young man who captained his football team at Grand Rapids South High School. He was also named to the Grand Rapids City League’s All-City team.
He continued to play football while at the University of Michigan. He was a versatile player for the football team, playing center, linebacker, and long snapper. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1935.
Despite his talent as a football player, he chose to pursue a legal profession over sports. He entered Yale Law School in 1938 and graduated with an L.L.B. degree in 1941, shortly after which he was admitted to the Michigan bar.
In May 1941, Gerald Ford co-founded a legal firm with a friend. However, as World War II, which had started in 1939, became more intense, Ford joined the Navy to help his nation.
Gerald Ford was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade in June 1942 and Lieutenant in March 1943 while serving in the South Pacific. He worked as the Staff Physical and Military Training Officer for the Naval Reserve Training Command, Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois, from April 1945 to January 1946. Gerald was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in October 1945. In June 1946, he resigned from the Naval Reserve.
Gerald Ford married Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Ford, a former dancer and model, in 1948. Betty had been married to and divorced from an abusive man earlier. Gerald and Betty enjoyed a joyful 58-year marriage that ended with Gerald’s death. They were the parents of four children.
Gerald Ford had been involved in politics for a long time and was elected to his first electoral position in 1948 as a Republican congressman from Michigan. He served in Congress from 1949 to 1973, focusing on foreign policy, the military, budget, the space program, and the Warren Commission throughout his 25-year tenure.
Vice President Spiro Agnew was investigated in 1973 after criminal allegations of tax evasion and money laundering were brought against him. On October 10, 1973, he resigned from his job as a result of his disgrace.
Road to the White House
Under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, President Richard Nixon nominated Gerald Ford as the new vice president. Ford had a reputation for being a straight shooter, and his clean image helped him win the nomination. On December 6, 1973, Ford was sworn in as the 40th Vice President of the United States.
Evidence of President Nixon’s participation in the historic Watergate crisis began to surface in mid-1974, prompting the President to resign on August 8, 1974. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States the next day, August 9, 1974.
Ford ascended to power at a turbulent period in American politics. He established a conditional amnesty scheme for people who dodged the draft or deserted during the Vietnam War shortly after taking office. He gave former President Richard Nixon a presidential pardon for his part in the Watergate affair in a controversial action.
At the time, the U.S. economy was at an all-time low. The rate of inflation and unemployment were both rising, and the economy was in a downturn. To curb inflation, he established the Economic Policy Board by Executive Order on September 30, 1974.
He advised the general population to cut back on their spending and consumption since it was vital to keep governmental expenditure under control to keep inflation under control. Ford dubbed the campaign “Whip Inflation Now” (W.I.N.) and encouraged people to wear “W.I.N.” buttons and sign commitments to indicate their support.
Ford was not interested in running for President as the 1976 election neared. Regardless, he chose to flee. He lost to Jimmy Carter, the former governor of Georgia and a Democrat.
Gerald Ford stepped down as President on January 20, 1977, following an 895-day presidency, the shortest of any president who did not die in office. He remained slightly interested in politics after that for an extended period.
During his presidency, Ford was a survivor of two assassination attempts. In both incidents, the assailants were apprehended and put into jail before they could damage him.
Gerald Ford lived a long life, dying on December 26, 2006, at 93 years and 165 days, making him the United States’ longest-serving President. During his final days, he battled arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular illness and widespread arteriosclerosis.