Gerald Ford: Personality Traits & Political Views

Instructor: Margaret Moran
Ever imagine going into a job, and suddenly becoming the boss? Well that happened with Gerald Ford in August 9, 1974 when he stepped into the chair of president of the United States. This article is about his personality traits and a few of his political views of Gerald Ford.


Gerald Ford began his presidency on August 9, 1974 with the resignation of Richard Nixon due to the Watergate scandal. Gerald Ford is the first, and to date, the only person to be in both the presidency and vice presidency without ever being elected by the people. The presidency of Gerald Ford came to an end with his defeat to opponent Jimmy Carter in 1976.


But how did he start? Gerald Ford became a star athlete in high school and later at the University of Michigan. He ended up turning down the NFL and enrolled at Yale Law School. In 1941, after his graduation from Yale, Gerald Ford enlisted in the US Naval Reserves as an Ensign. He rose through the ranks and as a Lieutenant Commander he served on the U.S.S. Monterey in the South Pacific during World War 2.

Upon his return to civilian life, he practiced law and eventually pursued a political career with the election into the House of Representatives in 1948. He would remain there for the next 24 years, building trust and relations with both Republic and Democratic party members alike. In 1965, Mr. Ford would become the House Minority Leader, which put him in line to achieve a goal he set for himself, becoming the House Speaker.

But, his career path was going to take a turn into the unknown. Because of impending criminal charges due to tax evasion and money laundering, Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign. This allowed President Nixon to nominate Gerald Ford to fill that roll, and with the reputation and integrity he expressed through his years of service in the House, Gerald Ford became the new Vice President.

Gerald Ford probably thought this was the biggest surprise coming to him through his political career, but there were other plans. In August 9, 1974, Mr. Ford's career path changed again, and with the resignation of Nixon due to the Watergate Scandal, Ford became the 38th President.

Gerald Ford, the 38th President.

Personality Traits

Gerald Ford showed a level of trust and honesty that many in politics envied. With Spiro Agnew's resignation, Congress put him forward because he told the truth and also was known to keep his word in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Both the Congress and the House put Gerald Ford forward because they wanted him to end up replacing the president who was also facing charges.

One of the primary people who influenced Gerald's quality of character was his mother, Dorothy, who was a very strong and resourceful woman. To deal with a hot temper inherited from his father, his mother approached discipline differently. She made Gerald memorize Kipling's poem If and he would be made to recite it each time he lost his temper.

His step-father was everything that Dorothy wished her first husband could have been. He was well-respected in the community, as well as honest, hardworking and kind. He was a man of integrity and he instilled these qualities in young Gerald Ford.

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