Born: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th President of the United States from 1974 to 1977, following the resignation of Richard Nixon. Prior to this he served eight months as the 40th Vice President of the United States, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew. He was the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, and consequently the only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to executive office. Before his appointment to the vice presidency, Ford served 25 years as U.S. Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, the final nine of them as the House 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 the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his most controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. During Ford's presidency, 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 the Republican presidential primary campaign of 1976, Ford defeated former California Governor Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. He narrowly lost the presidential election to the Democratic challenger, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, making him the first President who succeeded to office as a result of a mid-term vacancy since Chester A. Arthur not to be elected in his own right. Following his years as President, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems, he died at home on December 26, 2006. Ford lived longer than any other U.S. president – 93 years and 165 days – while his 895-day presidency is the shortest of all presidents who did not die in office. He was the last Vice President to become President from succession.
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