Gerald Ford and the Time for Healing

  • Trevor B. McCrisken


‘My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.’1 With these words, Gerald R. Ford signalled to the American people that, after years tainted by civil unrest, a divisive war, the assassinations of major public figures, and widespread political scandal, his presidency would offer the United States ‘a time to heal’. Ford recognized that the nation was ‘caught up in a crisis of confidence’ and that, like Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War, it was his job to ‘bind up the wounds’.2 As Ford’s transition team concluded, the ‘Restoration of confidence and trust of the American people in their political leadership, institutions and processes’ would be the first priority of the new administration.3


Foreign Policy Military Action American People Moral Legitimacy Rescue Mission 
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  1. 2.
    Gerald R. Ford, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford (New York: Harper & Row, 1979 ) 124, 144.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Robert T. Hartmann, Palace Politics: An Inside Account of the Ford Years ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980 ) 165.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Ford’s approval rating was 71 per cent with 26 per cent of those polled holding ‘no opinion’. See George H. Gallup, The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion 1972–1977, Vol. One, 1972–75 ( Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc, 1978 ) 347.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Roy Rowan and William Stewart, ‘The Last Grim Goodbye’, Time, May 12, 1975, 6–7.Google Scholar
  5. 54.
    See, for example, Richard A. Melanson, American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War: The Search for Consensus from Nixon to Clinton, 2nd edn (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1996) which treats Ford’s foreign policy perfunctorily in a chapter on the Nixon administration.Google Scholar
  6. 55.
    Hugh Sidey, ‘Closing Out an Interim Chapter’, Time, November 15, 1976, 28.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Trevor B. McCrisken 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor B. McCrisken
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

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