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Picture of Gerald R. Ford
[Gerald R. Ford Library]


38th President (1974-1977), 40th Vice President (1973-1974)

Biographical Data
Religious Views
References, Links, & Further Reading

Education: University of Michigan, Yale University Law School

Occupation: lawyer

Political Affiliation: Republican

Organizational Affiliation(s): Mason

Religious Affiliation: Episcopalian

Summary of Religious Views:

Views on Religion & Politics:


"As President, I have been cautioned to be very careful about what I say about religious matters. But the separation of church and state, although a fundamental principle to which I fully subscribe, was never intended, in my view, to separate public morality from public policy. It says that the power of government shall not be used to support or suppress any one faith, but in the same sentence protects the profession and the propagation of all faiths.
"I took a minute yesterday to reread the first amendment to our great Constitution before coming over to join you again on this occasion. And this is what it says, and if I might quote: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
"Now, that says an awful lot in one sentence. It sustains some of our most precious rights. It also underscores how interrelated they are. Freedom to exercise one's religion would be meaningless without freedom of speech and of assembly. Without freedom of the press, there could be neither religious books nor religious broadcasters.
"As we proudly enter a period of celebrating our Bicentennial of independence as a nation, we must remember that our great traditions of freedom did not suddenly start in 1776. For more than two centuries before the Liberty Bell rang, the processes of conflict and compromise were working on this great new continent, and the impassioned extremes of religious and political rivalry were tested and were found wanting.
"In the end, our Founding Fathers sought to establish a new order of society embodying the principles of tolerance and freedom, of unity in diversity, of justice with charity.
"So, the first amendment was written to ensure the perpetuation of the hard-learned lessons from our colonial history that religious belief can neither be coerced nor suppressed by government; that a free people must retain the right to hear, the right to speak, the right to publish and to read, and the right to come together--all of which had been denied the early American settlers at one time or another." -- Remarks at the Annual Congressional Breakfast of the National Religious Broadcasters, 28 January 1975

"The early history of our country was written by men who valued the freedom of religion and who had in common a deep faith in God. I believe it is no accident of history, no coincidence that this Nation, which declared its dependence on God even while declaring its independence from foreign domination, has become the most richly blessed nation in the history of mankind and the world. For it is as true today as it was in the Old Testament times that "blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." I believe that very deeply, and so do you.
"In my own life and throughout my career in public service, I have found in the pages of the Bible a steady compass and a source of great strength and peace. As each of my predecessors in the Presidency has done, I asked for God's guidance as I undertook the duties of this office. I have asked for that guidance many times since." -- Remarks at the Southern Baptist Convention, Norfolk, Virginia, 15 June 1976

References, Links, & Further Reading: Books, Articles, Links


Works By Gerald Rudolph Ford

A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford, Harper and Row, 1979
Humor and the Presidency, Arbor House, 1987
Portrait of the Assassin, Simon and Schuster, 1965


Douglas Brinkley, Gerald R. Ford, Times Books, 2007
James Cannon, Time and Chance: Gerald Ford's Appointment With History, Harper Collins, 1994
James Cannon, Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life, Univ. of Michigan Press, 2013
Thomas M. DeFrank, Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2007
ed. by Bernard J. Firestone and Alexej Ugrinsky, Gerald R. Ford and the Politics of Post-Watergate America, 2 vols., Greenwood Press, 1993
ed. by Carol B. Fitzgerald, Gerald R. Ford, Meckler Pub., 1988
John Robert Greene, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford (American Presidency Series), Univ. Press of Kansas, 1995
Robert Hartmann, Palace Politics: An Inside Account of the Ford Years, McGraw-Hill, 1980
Yanek Mieczkowski, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s, Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2005
Ron Nessen, It Sure Looks Different from the Inside, Simon and Schuster, 1978
Richard Reeves, A Ford, Not A Lincoln, Harcourt Brace, 1975
A. James Reichley, Conservatives in an Age of Change: The Nixon and Ford Administrations, Brookings Institute, 1981
Jerald F. TerHorst, Gerald Ford and the Future of the Presidency, Third Press, 1974
ed. by Kenneth W. Thompson, The Ford Presidency: Twenty-Two Intimate Perspectives of Gerald R. Ford (Portraits of American Presidents), Univ. Press of America, 1988



Works By Gerald Rudolph Ford

Selected Gerald R. Ford Speeches and Writings (Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum)
Document Library (TeachingAmericanHistory.org)
Address to the Nation Pardoning Richard M. Nixon (American Rhetoric)
Address on Taking the Oath of the U.S. Presidency (American Rhetoric)
Address by President Gerald R. Ford, Wednesday, May 23, 2001 (The Leader's Lecture Series -- U.S. Senate)
Gerald R. Ford -- From the 188th State of the Union address on January 19, 1976 (Vincent Voice Library -- Michigan State University)

Biographical Sites

Gerald Rudolph Ford [alternate site] (POTUS)
Gerald R. Ford (White House)
FORD, Gerald Rudolph, Jr., 1913-2006 (Biographical Directory of the US Congress)
Gerald Ford (USA Presidents)
Gerald Ford (American President)
Gerald Rudolph Ford (1973-1974) (Vice Presidents of the United States -- U.S. Senate)
Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) (Hypertext on American History)
Gerald R. Ford Biography (Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum)
President Gerald R. Ford Biography (Scholastic Inc.)
Life Portrait of Gerald R. Ford (C-SPAN)
Gerald R. Ford (Character Above All -- PBS)
Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum
Gerald Ford (Medical History of the Presidents of the United States)

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