Gerald Ford"s presidency have to be assessed in irradiate of both the impressive circumstances under i m sorry Ford presume office and also the severe obstacles he challenged during those years. Ford to be not chosen President (or vice president) by the American public; he ended up being President in 1974 just after Richard Nixon chose to resign quite than challenge removal through Congress. Together President, Ford challenged a failing economy, the likely collapse of south Vietnam (an American ally that 58,000 U.S. Soldiers had passed away to protect), and a public suspiciously of its politics leaders. Democrats managed Congress, which augured ill because that Ford"s legislative program. Of same importance, conference Republicans and Democrats alike seemed intent top top retaking few of the powers they had yielded to the White house over the previous forty years.

Ford understood that his many pressing task was to help the nation move past the despair, disgust, and also distrust produced by the Watergate crisis. Ford"s decided upon presume the presidency, in i m sorry he claimed that "Our lengthy national nightmare is end . . . Our good Republic is a government of laws and also not the men," to be met with nearly universal applause. However the public"s (and Congress"s) goodwill in the direction of Ford conveniently dissipated as soon as the new President pardoned Nixon a mere month right into his tenure. Ford certainly believed that the pardon would assist the nation, and also his own presidency, relocate forward. He also understood that most Americans want Nixon punished. Yet Ford miscalculated. Instead of additional salving the wound of Watergate, Ford re-opened it. The howls the protest native both politicians and the public—including questions about a "deal" in between the former and current Presidents—greatly damaged Ford"s popularity and ended his honeymoon.

Ford arised from this maelstrom to achieve a mixed record. In residential affairs, the Ford management failed come remedy the nation"s dire economic problems, although by 1976 the economy had begun to recover from the previous year"s recession. In Ford"s defense, climbing unemployment, soaring inflation, and the power crisis, in addition to the nation"s longer-term economic decline, were facility and interrelated challenges that confounded the era"s most prestigious economists.

Ford"s chief financial error, however, was political in nature. He replaced his first economic program, which elevated taxes and also capped security in an effort to combat inflation, with a arrangement that cut taxes and restricted government safety in the wishes of fighting unemployment. Democracy accused him of law too small to aid Americans enduring from the unforgiving economy and of flip-flopping on the taxation issue. Ford likewise revised vital parts of his energy program, which opened up him to strikes from both Democrats and conservative Republicans. Ford"s decisions to adjust course in these 2 policy areas raised questions about his capacity to deal with these daunting issues.

In foreign affairs, Ford amassed a solid, if largely unremarkable, record. He continued to go after détente v the Soviet Union, meeting with moderate success. When the unified States and also the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki pact, castle failed to agree on a major arms manage agreement. Moreover, supermacht tensions continued to be high as U.S. And Soviet proxies clashed in Angola. In ~ the same time, when the Vietnam War ended on Ford"s watch—with the memorable, ignominious exit of the United states from Indochina—the Communist win failed come tar the President. One month after the loss of Saigon, Ford ordered a successful armed forces operation come rescue the crew of an American ship, the Mayaguez, caught by Cambodia"s Khmer Rouge; the President"s approval rating shot up accordingly. But, as was the instance with the economy, Ford"s biggest problems in foreign affairs came from his politics critics. Conservative Republicans and Democrats complained that the administration"s plan of détente acquiesced to Soviet power. Movie critics on the left, meanwhile, demanded that Ford rein in the nation"s intelligence agencies. When some in Congress understood Ford"s to plan for better oversight the the CIA unsatisfactory, they responded through their very own programs.

Ford"s presidency, then, was marked by three elements. First, Ford faced extraordinary challenges, especially involving the nation"s financial woes, which that struggled to solve. Second, Ford had difficulty navigating a demanding political environment in which democracy (from across the ideology system spectrum) and conservative Republicans uncovered fault through his leadership and his foreign and also domestic policies. The combination of these an initial two facets helped bring around Ford"s defeat in 1976.


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Simply as surely, though, a 3rd dimension the Ford"s presidency deserves recognition: Americans, by and large, thought that Gerald Ford to be an innately decent and an excellent man and that he would certainly (and did) lug honor to the White House. Return this sentiment confirmed too little to carry Ford to victory in 1976, the is an evaluate that most Americans and also scholars still find valid in the year after his presidency.