Presidential Elections

Inaugurations and the First One Hundred Days

What were the circumstances surrounding Gerald Ford’s speech upon becoming president?

On August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as president of the United States after Richard Nixon resigned amidst the Watergate scandal. After taking the oath, Ford delivered a straightforward speech that beseeched the confidence of the American people. Acknowledging that “our long national nightmare is over,” Ford admitted, “The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.” Ford had been nominated and then approved as vice president in late 1973 after his predecessor, Spiro Agnew, had resigned due to his own personal scandal. Former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller succeeded Ford as a non-elected vice president in December 1974. Ford and Rockefeller were the first and only, thus far, to reach office under the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment.


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