Richard Nixon was granted a “full, free and absolute pardon” by his successor as president, Gerald Ford.
The pardon became one of the most controversial aspects of the Watergate scandal. There were allegations and suggestions that Nixon had struck a deal with Ford before resigning. Ford denied these allegations and maintained that the pardon was the only way the nation could heal the wounds of Watergate.
In the new president’s own words, he was a “Ford, not a Lincoln”.
Gerald Ford had been the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. He was chosen by Nixon to be Vice-President, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew in October 1973.
Some people believe that when Ford became next in line of succession the reluctance some politicians had to remove Nixon evaporated.
When he became President on August 9, 1974, Ford spoke of the national nightmare finally being over.
Speculation mounted over whether Nixon would face criminal prosecution. A Memorandum from within the office of the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski on the day Nixon resigned weighed up the arguments for and against prosecution.
However, President Ford decided to pardon his predecessor.
He made a television address on September 8, 1974 to give his reasons for the pardon proclamation.
Nixon’s Pardon – Archived Posts
- Aug 09, 1974: Memorandum To Jaworski On Prosecuting NixonText and image of a memorandum for Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski on the pros and cons of prosecuting Richard Nixon. The memorandum was sent by Carl Feldbaum and Peter Kreindler on the day Nixon resigned the presidency.
- Aug 09, 1974: Remarks By Gerald Ford On Taking the Oath Of Office As PresidentText, audio and video of Gerald Ford taking the oath of office as president, and his first remarks as the 38th President of the United States.
- Sep 08, 1974: President Ford Pardons Richard NixonText, video and audio of President Gerald Ford announcing that he has granted a full pardon to Richard Nixon.
- Sep 08, 1974: Text Of President Ford’s Pardon ProclamationFull text of President Ford’s proclamation granting a full, free and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed whilst serving as president. Includes audio of Ford reading the proclamation.
- Oct 17, 1974: Ford Testifies To Congress About Pardoning NixonVideo of President Gerald Ford’s testimony to Congress on October 17, 1974 about his pardon of Richard Nixon.
- Jan 15, 1975: President Ford’s 1975 State of the Union AddressFull text of President Gerald Ford’s 1975 State of the Union Address, his first as president.
- Dec 26, 2006: Gerald Ford, President Following Watergate, Dies, 93Gerald Rudolph Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died today, aged 93. Ford was the oldest ever ex-president and the only man to assume the presidency without being elected. This page contains a May 1973 White House tape recording of Ford and Nixon discussing Watergate.
- Dec 27, 2006: Newspapers Report Death Of Gerald FordFormer President Gerald Ford died on December 26, 2006. The Los Angeles Times gave his death front page treatment.