Gerald R. Fordby Conrad R. Stein
Gerald R. Ford was the first person to become vice president and president without being elected to either office. He became vice president on the nomination of President Richard Nixon in 1973 when vice president Spiro Agnew resigned. In 1974, Nixon resigned, as a result of the Watergate scandal, and Ford became president. Seeking to end the controversy over Watergate, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he might have committed as president. This action caused broad criticism and damaged Ford's political future. During the next two years, his administration passed a bill reducing income taxes, but struggled with high unemployment and inflation. Ford announced he would run for re-election in 1975, but faced a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. Ford defeated Reagan, but with his party divided, he lost the general election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
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