当前位置:首页 > America's Presidents > 正文

Gerald Ford: Unelected

2017-11-20

源 稿 窗
大字
小字
 折叠显示 
 全文显示 
[00:05.71]
  • VOA Learning English presents America’s Presidents.
  • [00:11.58]
  • Today we are talking about Gerald Ford.
  • [00:16.19]
  • Ford was the 38th president, but he was never elected to the position.
  • [00:22.23]
  • Instead, an unusual series of events brought him there.
  • [00:28.34]
  • Many historians have described Ford as a good man facing a difficult situation.
  • [00:36.57]
  • He tried to fix a troubled economy, end United States' involvement in Vietnam, and show people that the U.S. government could continue to operate after a crisis.
  • [00:51.57]
  • Critics from the two main political parties had problems with Ford’s efforts.
  • [00:58.47]
  • And voters did not elect him president when they had the chance in 1976.
  • [01:06.14]
  • But he is remembered in American history for making many voters feel better about their elected officials.
  • [01:27.18]
  • When he was born, the future president was given his father’s name: Leslie Lynch King.
  • [01:36.37]
  • But the boy’s father was abusive.
  • [01:39.13]
  • His mother separated from him a short time after their son was born.
  • [01:44.61]
  • She asked a court for permission to cancel their marriage.
  • [01:49.18]
  • Her request was quickly approved.
  • [01:52.86]
  • She and the boy moved from the Midwestern state of Nebraska to Michigan.
  • [01:58.58]
  • In a few years, the mother married a man named Gerald Ford.
  • [02:03.38]
  • The couple had three sons together.
  • [02:07.20]
  • The new family was warm and loving.
  • [02:10.96]
  • In time, the oldest boy officially took his step-father’s name and became Gerald Rudolph Ford, Junior.
  • [02:19.31]
  • He was called Jerry for short.
  • [02:22.03]
  • Growing up, Jerry Ford was a well-liked person and a good student.
  • [02:28.27]
  • He was also a top football player.
  • [02:31.35]
  • He was named the most valuable player on his team at the University of Michigan.
  • [02:34.80]
  • After finishing college, he was offered work with professional football teams.
  • [02:43.86]
  • But Ford wanted to continue his education instead.
  • [02:48.27]
  • He accepted coaching positions for the football and boxing teams at Yale University in Connecticut.
  • [02:55.83]
  • In time, he attended the law school there.
  • [03:00.13]
  • Ford’s path to politics was similar to that of other presidents during that period.
  • [03:05.83]
  • He worked at a law office in his home state.
  • [03:09.46]
  • He fought in World War II.
  • [03:11.40]
  • He married.
  • [03:12.84]
  • Ford’s wife was Elizabeth Bloomer.
  • [03:16.50]
  • Her friends called her Betty.
  • [03:18.12]
  • She had been a dancer and worked as a fashion model.
  • [03:22.08]
  • The Fords went on to have four children.
  • [03:25.74]
  • When Gerald Ford was 35 years old, he launched his political career.
  • [03:32.11]
  • The Republican Party chose him as its candidate for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • [03:38.43]
  • Ford was elected to represent his home area of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • [03:43.87]
  • But unlike many other politicians, he did not move on to the Senate or become governor of a state.
  • [03:52.70]
  • Instead, he stayed in the House of Representatives for 25 years.
  • [03:58.29]
  • The job of congressman was, in many ways, a good choice for Ford.
  • [04:04.07]
  • He was well-liked by many voters and other lawmakers.
  • [04:08.13]
  • He could help different groups come to agreement.
  • [04:11.91]
  • He took increasingly important positions on political issues, and in time became the top person in his party in the House.
  • [04:21.73]
  • Ford was a strong supporter of Republican presidents.
  • [04:26.60]
  • In the 1968 election, Ford advocated for Richard Nixon.
  • [04:32.68]
  • Ford liked Nixon’s plans for the United States, as well as his efforts to improve relations with China and the Soviet Union.
  • [04:42.04]
  • Both Ford and Nixon were re-elected to their positions in 1972.
  • [04:48.50]
  • But by then, major problems had come to light in Nixon’s administration.
  • [05:03.44]
  • One problem in the early 1970s related to Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew.
  • [05:11.93]
  • Agnew had been vice president since 1969.
  • [05:17.61]
  • Five years later, officials found evidence that he had accepted money from contractors, both while Maryland’s governor and as vice president.
  • [05:29.86]
  • In answer, Agnew resigned from the vice presidency.
  • [05:34.90]
  • Normally, voters elect a vice president along with a president every four years.
  • [05:42.67]
  • But by coincidence, the U.S. Constitution had recently been updated to say what happens if the country needs a vice president unexpectedly.
  • [05:55.22]
  • It states that the president has to nominate someone for the position.
  • [06:00.53]
  • Then, a majority of lawmakers in Congress must agree.
  • [06:06.54]
  • So, in 1973, Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to take Agnew’s position.
  • [06:15.31]
  • Nixon was not especially close to Ford.
  • [06:19.33]
  • But, he knew a majority of lawmakers would likely accept him as vice president.
  • [06:25.98]
  • They did.
  • [06:27.96]
  • However, Ford did not serve in the position long.
  • [06:32.16]
  • In eight months, another unexpected event put him in the Oval Office.
  • [07:03.41]
  • In August 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned from office.
  • [07:10.11]
  • He was the first president to do so.
  • [07:14.48]
  • As a result, the vice president, Gerald Ford, became president.
  • [07:21.08]
  • Ford was sworn-in as president on August 9, 1974.
  • [07:27.10]
  • Then he spoke to the nation on television.
  • [07:30.11]
  • He said, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
  • [07:37.36]
  • He told people, “Our Constitution works.
  • [07:41.33]
  • Our great republic is a government of laws and not men.”
  • [07:46.00]
  • The public had understandably lost a good deal of faith in government officials, and especially in Richard Nixon.
  • [07:56.47]
  • Ford wanted to re-establish their trust.
  • [08:00.60]
  • But a few weeks after taking office, Ford used his presidential powers to pardon Nixon.
  • [08:09.84]
  • The pardon meant that Nixon would never face a criminal trial or, if found guilty, punishment for his actions.
  • [08:20.80]
  • Ford said he believed pardoning Nixon would help Americans begin to recover from their painful experience with the former president.
  • [08:32.06]
  • But instead, the move angered many people.
  • [08:36.24]
  • They believed that Nixon should be held responsible.
  • [08:41.26]
  • They also lost some of their trust in Ford.
  • [08:45.15]
  • In addition to these political troubles, Ford faced other difficult issues.
  • [08:52.42]
  • The American economy was struggling.
  • [08:55.95]
  • His administration had to deal with unemployment, inflation and the lasting effects of an energy crisis.
  • [09:04.78]
  • The high price of oil imports came at a time when Americans were using more and more gasoline.
  • [09:15.01]
  • Ford took steps aimed at improving the economy.
  • [09:20.49]
  • But critics said he was not consistent.
  • [09:24.65]
  • Some criticized him for increasing government spending and cutting taxes; others criticized him for reducing government spending and raising taxes.
  • [09:37.04]
  • Ford also oversaw the withdrawal of Americans from Vietnam.
  • [09:42.58]
  • An earlier agreement had brought a ceasefire to groups in South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and Communist forces.
  • [09:52.48]
  • The U.S. officially withdrew its combat troops in 1973.
  • [09:58.06]
  • But the fighting restarted.
  • [10:00.73]
  • Ford asked Congress to approve military and humanitarian aid for the area.
  • [10:08.64]
  • But U.S. lawmakers did not approve the full amount.
  • [10:13.34]
  • And in time, they cut military aid.
  • [10:17.43]
  • In 1975, Communist forces began to take control of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam.
  • [10:26.90]
  • Ford ordered all remaining Americans in the country to leave, along with any South Vietnamese who were connected to the United States.
  • [10:38.03]
  • He said that, as far as Americans were concerned, the Vietnam War was finished.
  • [10:45.17]
  • Americans did not appear to blame Ford for the troubling end of the country’s involvement in Vietnam.
  • [10:54.28]
  • And some recognized that the country’s economic and energy problems had started long before he became president.
  • [11:04.40]
  • But, in general, Ford did not have the support of Congress.
  • [11:09.32]
  • And many voters did not forgive him for pardoning Nixon.
  • [11:14.71]
  • In 1976, Ford officially campaigned for president for the first time.
  • [11:21.67]
  • He won his party’s nomination in a close race against Ronald Reagan, the former governor of California.
  • [11:30.88]
  • But he lost the general election to the Democratic candidate, who said one of his best qualities was that he did not have experience in the federal government.
  • [11:44.10]
  • The argument appeared persuasive to many voters, who still did not appear to be enthusiastic about the government.
  • [11:52.54]
  • In the 1976 election, nearly half of all people who were legally able to vote chose not to.
  • [12:00.39]
  • Ford left the presidency graciously.
  • [12:05.39]
  • He said that, because he had not planned to be president, he was thankful for the unexpected opportunity.
  • [12:30.41]
  • Although Ford said he was ready to retire from politics, he continued to be active in public life.
  • [12:39.15]
  • He advised others on government affairs, published books, and sat on boards and committees.
  • [12:46.47]
  • His wife, Betty Ford, also left a lasting effect on the public.
  • [12:53.45]
  • As first lady, she had spoken about her experience with breast cancer.
  • [12:58.32]
  • After her husband left the presidency, she also spoke openly about her battle with alcohol and drug abuse.
  • [13:08.76]
  • In 1982, Betty Ford co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California to help people get treatment for drug addiction.
  • [13:19.77]
  • She announced her husband’s death in 2006.
  • [13:24.33]
  • Gerald Ford died of heart disease at the age of 93.
  • [13:28.75]
  • By that time, most the public had accepted that one of Ford’s biggest achievements was to help the country recover after Nixon resigned.
  • [13:40.73]
  • President Bill Clinton gave Ford a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts.
  • [13:47.57]
  • And even Jimmy Carter, who beat Ford in the 1976 presidential election, began his inauguration speech by thanking Ford.
  • [13:59.04]
  • Carter said, “For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”
  • [14:16.03]
  • I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
  • 如您有建议或意见点击这里给我们留言