gerald ford Quotes

Gerald Ford Quotes

Birth Date: 1913-07-14 (Monday, July 14th, 1913)
Date of Death: 2006-12-26 (Tuesday, December 26th, 2006)

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gerald ford life timeline

The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States Senate votes 92 to 3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States (on December 6, the House confirmed him 387 to 35).Tuesday, November 27th, 1973
The Twenty-fifth Amendment: The United States House of Representatives votes 387 to 35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States (on November 27, the Senate confirmed him 92 to 3).Thursday, December 6th, 1973
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.Friday, August 9th, 1974
Sara Jane Moore tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but is foiled by Oliver Sipple.Monday, September 22nd, 1975
Gerald R. Ford signs a legislation allowing women to apply for admission to the U.S. military academies, effective in 1976.Tuesday, October 7th, 1975
Gerald Ford s would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, is sentenced to life in prison.Thursday, January 15th, 1976
George Washington s appointment, posthumously, to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States by congressional joint resolution Public Law 94-479 was approved by President Gerald R. Ford.Monday, October 11th, 1976
President Gerald Ford pardons Iva Toguri D Aquino (a.k.a. "Tokyo Rose").Wednesday, January 19th, 1977

Quotes

    • Too often critics seem more intent on seeking new ways to alter Congress than to truly learn how it functions. They might well profit from the advice of Thomas Huxley, who said a century ago: 'Sit down before facts as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion - or you shall learn nothing.'
    • America now is stumbling through the darkness of hatred and divisiveness. Our values, our principles, and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic people will give us a torch to light the way. And we will survive and become the stronger - not only because of a patriotism that stands for love of country, but a patriotism that stands for love of people.
    • An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office.
    • We have come tardily to the tremendous task of cleaning up our environment. We should have moved with similar zeal at least a decade ago. But no purpose is served by post-mortems. With visionary zeal but the greatest realism, we must now address ourselves to the vast problems that confront us.
    • In a political sense, there is one problem that currently underlies all of the others. That problem is making Government sufficiently responsive to the people. If we don't make government responsive to the people, we don't make it believable. And we must make government believable if we are to have a functioning democracy.
    • I believe in friendly compromise. I said over in the Senate hearings that truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.
    • We must proceed with our own energy development. Exploitation of domestic petroleum and natural gas potentialities, along with nuclear, solar, geothermal, and non-fossil fuels is vital. We will never again permit any foreign nation to have Uncle Sam over a barrel of oil.
    • It's the quality of the ordinary, the straight, the square, that accounts for the great stability and success of our nation. It's a quality to be proud of. But it's a quality that many people seem to have neglected.
    • The political lesson of Watergate is this: Never again must America allow an arrogant, elite guard of political adolescents to by-pass the regular party organization and dictate the terms of a national election.
    • I cannot imagine any other country in the world where the opposition would seek, and the chief executive would allow, the dissemination of his most private and personal conversations with his staff, which, to be honest, do not exactly confer sainthood on anyone concerned.
    • All my children have spoken for themselves since they first learned to speak, and not always with my advance approval, and I expect that to continue in the future.
    • All of us who served in one war or another know very well that all wars are the glory and the agony of the young.
    • As I rejected amnesty, so I reject revenge. I ask all Americans who ever asked for goodness and mercy in their lives, who ever sought forgiveness for their trespasses, to join in rehabilitating all the casualties of the tragic conflict of the past.
    • It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States. NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.
    • I would hope that understanding and reconciliation are not limited to the 19th hole alone.
    • The pat on the back, the arm around the shoulder, the praise for what was done right and the sympathetic nod for what wasn't are as much a part of golf as life itself.
    • Let us put an end to self-inflicted wounds. Let us remember that our national unity is a most priceless asset. Let us deny our adversaries the satisfaction of using Vietnam to pit Americans against Americans.
    • Obviously, it's a great privilege and pleasure to be here at the Yale Law School Sesquicentennial Convocation. And I defy anyone to say that and chew gum at the same time.
    • The old question still remains: Can a free people restrain crime without sacrificing fundamental liberties and a heritage of compassion? I am confident of the American answer. Let it become a vital element on America's new agenda. Let us show that we can temper together those opposite elements of liberty and restraint into one consistent whole. Let us set an example for the world of a law-abiding America glorying in its freedom as well as its respect for law.
    • I am the first to admit that I am no great orator or no person that got where I have gotten by any William Jennings Bryan technique.
    • The founding of our Nation was more than a political event; it was an act of faith, a promise to Americans and to the entire world. The Declaration of Independence declared that people can govern themselves, that they can live in freedom with equal rights, that they can respect the rights of others. In the two centuries that have passed since 1776, millions upon millions of Americans have worked and taken up arms when necessary to make that dream a reality. We can be extremely proud of what they have accomplished. Today, we are the world's oldest republic. We are at peace. Our Nation and our way of life endure. We are free.
    • The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good. The framers of the Constitution feared a central government that was too strong, as many Americans rightly do today. The framers of the Constitution, after their experience under the Articles, feared a central government that was too weak, as many Americans rightly do today. They spent days studying all of the contemporary governments of Europe and concluded with Dr. Franklin that all contained the seeds of their own destruction. So the framers built something new, drawing upon their English traditions, on the Roman Republic, on the uniquely American institution of the town meeting.
    • For millions of men and women, the church has been the hospital for the soul, the school for the mind and the safe depository for moral ideas.
    • There are no adequate substitutes for father, mother, and children bound together in a loving commitment to nurture and protect. No government, no matter how well-intentioned, can take the place of the family in the scheme of things.
    • One of the most controversial issues of our time and one in which we share a keen interest is the question of abortion. I have grave concern over the serious moral questions raised by this issue. Each new life is a miracle of creation. To interfere with that creative process is a most serious act. In my view, the Government has a very special role in this regard. Specifically, the Government has a responsibility to protect life - and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected. It is within this context that I have consistently opposed the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court. As President, I am sworn to uphold the laws of the land and I intend to carry out this responsibility. In my personal view, however, this court decision was unwise. I said then and I repeat today - abortion on demand is wrong.
    • The veto is a President's Constitutional right, given to him by the drafters of the Constitution because they wanted it as a check against irresponsible Congressional action. The veto forces Congress to take another look at legislation that has been passed. I think this is a responsible tool for a president of the United States, and I have sought to use it responsibly.
    • There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe - and there never will be under a Ford administration... The United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.
    • The exclusive right to declare war, the duty to advise and consent on the part of the Senate, the power of the purse on the part of the House are ample authority for the legislative branch and should be jealously guarded. But because we may have been too careless of these powers in the past does not justify congressional intrusion into, or obstruction of, the proper exercise of Presidential responsibilities now or in the future. There can be only one Commander in Chief. In these times crises cannot be managed and wars cannot be waged by committee, nor can peace be pursued solely by parliamentary debate. To the ears of the world, the President speaks for the Nation. While he is, of course, ultimately accountable to the Congress, the courts, and the people, he and his emissaries must not be handicapped in advance in their relations with foreign governments as has sometimes happened in the past.
    • It is only as the temporary representatives and servants of the people that we meet here, we bring no hereditary status or gift of infallibility, and none follows us from this place.
    • The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?
    • America needed recovery, not revenge. The hate had to be drained and the healing begun.
    • I have always felt that the real purpose of government is to enhance the lives of people and that a leader can best do that by restraining government in most cases instead of enlarging it at every opportunity.
    • Richard Nixon: was just offered $2 million by Schick to do a television commercial - for Gillette.
    • I gave a speech in Omaha. After the speech I went to a reception elsewhere in town. A sweet old lady came up to me, put her gloved hand in mine, and said, 'I hear you spoke here tonight.' 'Oh, it was nothing,' I replied modestly. 'Yes,' the little old lady nodded, 'that's what I heard.'
    • Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time.
    • The length of one's days matters less than the love of one's family and friends.
    • I am a Ford, not a Lincoln. My addresses will never be as eloquent as Mr. Lincoln's. But I will do my very best to equal his brevity and his plain speaking.
    • As a man of the Congress, let me reaffirm my conviction that the collective wisdom of our two great legislative bodies, while not infallible, will in the end serve the people faithfully and very, very well.
    • As I look into the faces that fill this familiar room, and as I imagine those faces in other rooms across the land, I do not see members of the legislative branch or the executive branch or the judicial branch, though I am very much aware of the importance of keeping the separate but coequal branches of our Federal Government in balance. I do not see Senators or Representatives, nor do I see Republicans or Democrats, vital as the two-party system is to sustain freedom and responsible government. At this moment of visible and living unity, I see only Americans. I see Americans who love their country, Americans who work and sacrifice for their country and their children. I see Americans who pray without ceasing for peace among all nations and for harmony at home.
    • 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. Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. Not an inaugural address, not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech - just a little straight talk among friends. And I intend it to be the first of many.
    • I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many. If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman - my dear wife - as I begin this very difficult job.
    • I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.
    • Even though this is late in an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.
    • I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad. In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.
    • My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy. As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.
    • It is good to be back in the People's House. But this cannot be a real homecoming. Under the Constitution, I now belong to the executive branch. The Supreme Court has even ruled that I am the executive branch - head, heart, and hand.
    • I know well the coequal role of the Congress in our constitutional process. I love the House of Representatives. I revere the traditions of the Senate despite my too-short internship in that great body. As President, within the limits of basic principles, my motto toward the Congress is communication, conciliation, compromise, and cooperation.
    • I am not asking for conformity. I am dedicated to the two-party system, and you know which party I belong to. I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage. I want progress, and I want problemsolving which requires my best efforts and also your best efforts. I have no need to learn how Congress speaks for the people. As President, I intend to listen. But I also intend to listen to the people themselves - all the people - as I promised last Friday. I want to be sure that we are all tuned in to the real voice of America.
    • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
    • I am a little late getting around to it, but confession is good for the soul. I have sometimes voted to spend more taxpayer's money for worthy Federal projects in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while I vigorously opposed wasteful spending boondoggles in Oklahoma. [Laughter] Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, you and I have always stood together against unwarranted cuts in national defense. This is no time to change that nonpartisan policy.
    • A strong defense is the surest way to peace. Strength makes detente attainable. Weakness invites war, as my generation-my generation-knows from four very bitter experiences. Just as America's will for peace is second to none, so will America's strength be second to none. We cannot rely on the forbearance of others to protect this Nation. The power and diversity of the Armed Forces, active Guard and Reserve, the resolve of our fellow citizens, the flexibility in our command to navigate international waters that remain troubled are all essential to our security.
    • On the higher plane of public morality, there is no need for me to preach tonight. We have thousands of far better preachers and millions of sacred scriptures to guide us on the path of personal right-living and exemplary official conduct. If we can make effective and earlier use of moral and ethical wisdom of the centuries in today's complex society, we will prevent more crime and more corruption than all the policemen and prosecutors governments can ever deter. If I might say so, this is a job that must begin at home, not in Washington.
    • I once told you that I am not a saint, and I hope never to see the day that I cannot admit having made a mistake. So I will close with another confession. Frequently, along the tortuous road of recent months from this chamber to the President's House, I protested that I was my own man. Now I realize that I was wrong. I am your man, for it was your carefully weighed confirmation that changed my occupation. The truth is I am the people's man, for you acted in their name, and I accepted and began my new and solemn trust with a promise to serve all the people and do the best that I can for America. When I say all the people, I mean exactly that. To the limits of my strength and ability, I will be the President of black, brown, red, and white Americans, of old and young, of women's liberationists and male chauvinists - and all the rest of us in-between, of the poor and the rich, of native sons and new refugees, of those who work at lathes or at desks or in mines or in the fields, of Christians, Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, and atheists, if there really are any atheists after what we have all been through. Fellow Americans, one final word: I want to be a good President. I need your help. We all need God's sure guidance. With it, nothing can stop the United States of America.
    • I have come to a decision which I felt I should tell you and all of my fellow American citizens, as soon as I was certain in my own mind and in my own conscience that it is the right thing to do. I have learned already in this office that the difficult decisions always come to this desk. I must admit that many of them do not look at all the same as the hypothetical questions that I have answered freely and perhaps too fast on previous occasions. My customary policy is to try and get all the facts and to consider the opinions of my countrymen and to take counsel with my most valued friends. But these seldom agree, and in the end, the decision is mine. To procrastinate, to agonize, and to wait for a more favorable turn of events that may never come or more compelling external pressures that may as well be wrong as right, is itself a decision of sorts and a weak and potentially dangerous course for a President to follow. I have promised to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America.
    • I have asked your help and your prayers, not only when I became President but many times since. The Constitution is the supreme law of our land and it governs our actions as citizens. Only the laws of God, which govern our consciences, are superior to it. As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family. Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write 'The End' to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.
    • There are no historic or legal precedents to which I can turn in this matter, none that precisely fit the circumstances of a private citizen who has resigned the Presidency of the United States. But it is common knowledge that serious allegations and accusations hang like a sword over our former President's head, threatening his health as he tries to reshape his life, a great part of which was spent in the service of this country and by the mandate of its people. After years of bitter controversy and divisive national debate, I have been advised, and I am compelled to conclude that many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court.
    • I deeply believe in equal justice for all Americans, whatever their station or former station. The law, whether human or divine, is no respecter of persons; but the law is a respecter of reality. The facts, as I see them, are that a former President of the United States, instead of enjoying equal treatment with any other citizen accused of violating the law, would be cruelly and excessively penalized either in preserving the presumption of his innocence or in obtaining a speedy determination of his guilt in order to repay a legal debt to society. During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad.
    • It is not the ultimate fate of Richard Nixon that most concerns me, though surely it deeply troubles every decent and every compassionate person. My concern is the immediate future of this great country. In this, I dare not depend upon my personal sympathy as a long-time friend of the former President, nor my professional judgment as a lawyer, and I do not. As President, my primary concern must always be the greatest good of all the people of the United States whose servant I am. As a man, my first consideration is to be true to my own convictions and my own conscience.
    • My conscience tells me it is my duty, not merely to proclaim domestic tranquillity but to use every means that I have to insure it. I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference. I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy. Finally, I feel that Richard Nixon and his loved ones have suffered enough and will continue to suffer, no matter what I do, no matter what we, as a great and good nation, can do together to make his goal of peace come true.
    • We came from many roots, and we have many branches.
    • Government exists to create and preserve conditions in which people can translate their ideas into practical reality. In the best of times, much is lost in translation. But we try. Sometimes we have tried and failed. Always we have had the best of intentions. But in the recent past, we sometimes forgot the sound principles that guided us through most of our history. We wanted to accomplish great things and solve age-old problems. And we became overconfident of our abilities. We tried to be a policeman abroad and the indulgent parent here at home. We thought we could transform the country through massive national programs, but often the programs did not work. Too often they only made things worse. In our rush to accomplish great deeds quickly, we trampled on sound principles of restraint and endangered the rights of individuals. We unbalanced our economic system by the huge and unprecedented growth of Federal expenditures and borrowing. And we were not totally honest with ourselves about how much these programs would cost and how we would pay for them.
    • We must introduce a new balance in the relationship between the individual and the government - a balance that favors greater individual freedom and self-reliance.
    • History and experience tells us that moral progress cannot come in comfortable and in complacent times, but out of trial and out of confusion.
    • For myself, and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.
    • Gerald R. Ford was the most accidental of American presidents, but when he unexpectedly appeared at the crossroads of history, he seemed to have been placed there by a deliberate act of providence. In one important respect, Ford was different from most of his predecessors and all of his successors: He did not seek the presidency... Ford became the 38th president because of the shortcomings of others and because he had earned the trust of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. When the corrupt Spiro T. Agnew was forced to resign as vice president, it was Ford's congressional colleagues who virtually forced President Richard M. Nixon to accept him as Agnew's successor. And when the embattled Nixon was finally engulfed by the Watergate scandal and forced to resign himself, it was the unimposing 'gentleman from Michigan' who inherited the leadership of a deeply troubled nation.
    • More than any other president of this century, Ford was chosen for his integrity and trustworthiness: his peers in Congress put him in the White House because he told the truth and kept his word.
    • He didn't want to say anything bad about anyone. Ford had only one major fault - he was too nice a guy.
    • He was one of the few political leaders I have ever met whose public speeches revealed more than his private conversations.
    • I was America's first instant Vice President, and now America's first instant President. The Marine Corps band is so confused, they don't know whether to play 'Hail to the Chief' or 'You've Come a Long Way, Baby'.
    • I watch a lot of baseball on the radio.
    • I guess it just proves that in America anyone can be president.
    • It would be tragic for this country if we went down the same path and ended up with the same problem that Great Britain has.
    • Our inflation, our public enemy number one, will, unless whipped, destroy our country, our homes, our liberties, our property and finally our national pride as surely as will a well-armed wartime enemy.
    • Teddy Roosevelt . . . once said, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick.' Jimmy Carter wants to speak loudly and carry a fly swatter.
    • The American people want a dialogue between them and their president . . . And if we can't have that opportunity of talking with one another, seeing one another, shaking hands with one another, something has gone wrong in our society.
    • The Constitution is the bedrock of all our freedoms; guard and cherish it; keep honor and order in your own house; and the republic will endure.
    • Things are more like today than they have ever been before.
    • When I became president, I did not want to have a powerful chief of staff. Wilson had his Colonel House, Eisenhower his Sherman Adams, Nixon his Halderman, and I was aware of the trouble those top assistants had caused my predecessors.
    • When I talk about energy, I am talking about jobs. Our American economy runs on energy. No energy - no jobs.
    • gerald ford

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