On this day in 1974, one day after the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as president, making him the first man to assume the presidency upon his predecessor’s resignation. He was also the first non-elected vice president and non-elected president, which made his ascendance to the presidency all the more unique.
Gerald Rudolph 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 the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. As the first person appointed to the vice-presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, when he became President upon Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974, he also became the only President of the United States who was elected neither President nor Vice-President.
Before ascending to the vice-presidency, Ford served nearly 25 years as 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 detente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, US involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Domestically, Ford presided over what was then the worst 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 ultimately lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
Following his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. After experiencing health problems and being admitted to the hospital four times in 2006, Ford died in his home on December 26, 2006. He lived longer than any other U.S. president, dying at the age of 93 years and 165 days.
August 9 is the 221st day of the year (222nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 144 days remaining until the end of the year.
48 BC – Caesar’s civil war: Battle of Pharsalus – Julius Caesar decisively defeats Pompey at Pharsalus and Pompey flees to Egypt.
378 – Gothic War: Battle of Adrianople – A large Roman army led by Emperor Valens is defeated by the Visigoths in present-day Turkey. Valens is killed along with over half of his army.
681 – Bulgaria is founded as a Khanate on the south bank of the Danube, after defeating the Byzantine armies of Emperor Constantine IV south of the Danube delta.
1173 – Construction of the Tower of Pisa begins, and it takes two centuries to complete.
1329 – Quilon the first Indian Diocese is erected by Pope John XXII and Jordanus is appointed the first Bishop
1483 – Opening of the Sistine Chapel
1810 – Napoleon annexes Westphalia as part of the First French Empire.
1814 – Indian Wars: The Creek sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving up huge parts of Alabama and Georgia.
1842 – Webster-Ashburton Treaty is signed, establishing the United States-Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains.
1854 – Henry David Thoreau published Walden.
1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Cedar Mountain – At Cedar Mountain, Virginia, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson narrowly defeats Union forces under General John Pope.
1877 – Indian Wars: Battle of Big Hole – A small band of Nez Percé Indians clash with the United States Army.
1892 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.
1902 – Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1917 – The first Boy Scout encampment concludes at Brownsea Island in Southern England.
1936 – Summer Olympic Games: Games of the XI Olympiad: Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the games becoming the first American to win four medals in one Olympiad.
1942 – Indian leader, Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in Bombay by British forces, launching the Quit India Movement.
1942 – World War II: Battle of Savo Island – Allied naval forces protecting their amphibious forces during the initial stages of the Battle of Guadalcanal are surprised and defeated by an Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser force.
1944 – The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.
1944 – Continuation war: Vyborg-Petrozavodsk Offensive, the largest offensive launched by Soviet Union against Finland during Second World War, ends to strategic stalemate. Both Finnish and Soviet troops at Finnish front dug to defensive positions, and the front remains stable until the end of the war.
1945 – World War II: Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bomb, “Fat Man”, is dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar. 39,000 people are killed outright.
1965 – Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became the first, and only country to gain independence unwillingly.
1965 – A fire at a Titan missile base near Searcy, Arkansas kills 53 construction workers.
1969 – Members of a cult led by Charles Manson brutally murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring, and recent high-school graduate Steven Parent.
1971 – Internment in Northern Ireland: British security forces arrest hundreds of nationalists and detain them without trial in Long Kesh prison. Twenty people die in the riots that follow.
1974 – As a direct result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon becomes the first President of the United States to resign from office. His Vice President, Gerald Ford, becomes president.
1977 – The military-controlled Government of Uruguay announces that it will return the nation to civilian rule through general elections in 1981 for a President and Congress.
1988 – Wayne Gretzky is traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in one of the most controversial player transactions in ice hockey history, upsetting many Canadians that some considered him a “traitor” to his home country.
1993 – The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan loses a 38-year hold on national leadership.
1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin fires his Prime Minister, Sergei Stepashin, and for the fourth time fires his entire cabinet.
1999 – The Diet of Japan enacts a law establishing the Hinomaru and Kimi Ga Yo as the official national flag and national anthem.
2001 – US President George W. Bush announces his support for federal funding of limited research on embryonic stem cells.
2007 – Emergence of the Financial crisis of 2007-2008 when a liquidity crisis resulted from the Subprime mortgage crisis