President Gerald R. Ford – Nixon Pardon

President Gerald R. Ford – Nixon Pardon September 8, 1974

Ladies and Gentlemen:

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.

In the end, the courts might well hold that Richard Nixon had been denied due process, and the verdict of history would even be more inconclusive with respect to those charges arising out of the period of his Presidency, of which I am presently aware.

But 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 longtime 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 clearly and certainly that I cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed. My conscience tells me that only I, as President, have the constitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book. My conscience tells me it is my duty, not merely to proclaim domestic tranquility 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, ten 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.

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 July (January) 20, 1969, through August 9, 1974.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-ninth.

Did you like this? Share it:




Tags


Pop Culture Madness Network News

  • September 15 in Pop Culture History
    September 15 in Pop Culture History 1949 – The Lone Ranger premiered on ABC-TV, starring Clayton Moore. 1959 – Soviet Premier Khrushchev arrived in the U.S. for an unprecedented visit. 1962 – #1 Hit September 15, 1962 – October 19, 1962: The Four Seasons – Sherry 1963 – A church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killed […]
  • Wills vs Trusts Which Do You Need?
    What Are Wills and Trusts and Which Do You Need? Everyone has heard the terms “wills” and “trusts,” but not everyone knows the differences between the two. Both are useful when planning your estate (such as for elder members of your family) that serve different purposes, and both can work together to create a complete […]
  • The Saturn Awards Announces 2019 Winners For Film, TV, Streaming And Home Entertainment
    Winners for the 45th annual Saturn Awards, honoring motion picture, television, home entertainment and live stage productions, were announced today at an exciting ceremony hosted by Aisha Tyler at the historic Avalon Theater in Hollywood and streamed across 8 online platforms. Leading the way with 6 Saturn Award wins was Marvel/Walt Disney Studio’s Avengers: Endgame which took home […]
  • New Teaser Revealed For Castle Rock Season Two
    Check out the first teaser for the new season of Hulu Original Castle Rock. Season two stars Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, Paul Sparks, Yusra Warsama, Barkhad Abdi, Elsie Fisher and Matthew Alan. Castle Rock premieres Wednesday, Oct. 23, only on Hulu. Sy... Pop Culture Madness Network News.
  • September 14 in Pop Culture History
    September 14 in Pop Culture History 1752 – Yesterday was September 2nd, in Great Britain and the American Colonies, but with the switchover from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, it became September 14 in all of western civilization. 1814 – Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner which later became the United States’ national […]
  • Eddie Money, Seminal Rock Singer, Dead At 70
    (TRR) – Seminal rock singer Eddie Money has died, as first reported by Variety. The “Two Tickets To Paradise” vocalist recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. He was 70 years old. “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this… Continue reading The post Eddie […]
  • Even More Friends 25 Celebrations! ‘The One Back In Vegas’
    Fly, drive, take a train, or even a cross-country road trip via taxi (like Phoebe & Joey in her Yellow Cab) to Las Vegas for a one-of-a-kind Friends 25th Anniversary celebration in the Entertainment Capital of the World, October 18–19. Warner Bros. Television Group joins AT&T and MGM Resorts International to offer fans a phenomenal Friends 25th Vegas takeover in all its glory, […]
  • AMC Reveals Eighth Week Of TWD X Reveals With New Footage
    In the ten weeks leading up to the Season 10 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, October 6 at 9pm ET/8pm CT, AMC will reveal information on the new season across TWD social platforms – photos, videos and never-before-seen content. Today, AMC has released the latest video spot, “End of the World.” The video features new footage from […]
  • John Lithgow Cast In The Pilot Of FX’s ‘The Old Man’
    The pilot of the FX drama series The Old Man continues to load up on talent with the addition of John Lithgow and director Jon Watts, it was announced today by Nick Grad and Gina Balian, Presidents, Original Programming, FX Entertainment. Lithgow will star alongside Jeff Bridges in the pilot, which begins production this fall under the […]
  • Cult Series ‘Dark Shadows’ May Be Getting A Reboot On The CW
    Rumor has it that The CW and Warner Bros. Television are in the process of developing a new series based on the classic 60’s cult series “Dark Shadows”. There is no word on just how the new series will differ for the classic series which blended together elements of a soap opera and comedy. It […]
Loading...