Why Did President Ford Pardon Nixon? Essay

Pages: 4 (1260 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: American History  ·  Written: July 13, 2019

Yet, the American press and Nixon’s political opponents were happy to distort the reality and paint Nixon as the representative of government corruption.

Thus, for Ford to pardon Nixon was really not unethical at all: it had never been proven—not even on the Tapes—that Nixon had committed a crime. Whatever guilt could be placed on him was related to his desire to control the narrative. Pardoning Nixon also allowed the U.S. to put the whole sordid affair in the past and move forward. For those who did not want to think of it, who did not want to think of JFK, Bobby, Malcolm or MLK, Jr., moving forward was good.

Political Factor of President Gerald Ford’s Decision to Pardon Richard Nixon

Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon, however, was not just an ethical decision—it was also a political one. Ford also had ties to the Kennedy assassination (he served on the Warren Commission) and cleaning up the Watergate business and showing Nixon through the door and closing that door by way of pardon was a political way to keep all the dirty political business of the 1960s locked and under wraps. Ford’s attempt was futile, however, as the House Select Committee on Assassinations found in 1976 that JFK had probably been assassinated as a result of a conspiracy (JFK Assassination Records, n.d.). Thus, even if Ford was acting ethically by ending the witch hunt over Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, he was also acting politically by pardoning him.

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Essay on Why Did President Ford Pardon Nixon? Assignment

The implications for Ford were immediate: he lost in the following election to Carter. The public had been convinced that it did not matter what Nixon was trying to cover up—the fact that he was not as transparent (as, say, someone like Carter), and the fact that the public had been through four major assassinations, the Vietnam War, Kent State, and a social/sexual revolution, all meant that Ford’s actions were an inexcusable demonstration by the establishment that it did not believe itself accountable to the people. The people thus showed that their voice and vote did still matter—and so they voted out Ford. For me, politics has always been like two-faced Janus: on the one side there are the nice words that leaders use; and on the other side, there are the actions they take behind the scenes that—if the public knew about—would almost certainly bring the era of democracy to close.

Research Paper Conclusion

The reason Constantine refused baptism until the end of his life was that he felt certain he would have to do some likely unethical things before his rule was complete. Leaders often have to make decisions that the average, common man does not have to make—yet the common man is often quick to judge his leaders. Nixon was certainly a flawed man with many secrets—but his connection to Watergate was essentially “fake news” and so Ford’s pardon can be seen as ethical. It can also be seen as political, however, because both Ford and Nixon had other issues that they did not want coming to light—and a pardon was the easiest way to keep them hidden at the time.

  1. Dean, J. (2014). The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. NY: Viking.
  2. Hougan, J. (1984). Secret Agenda. NY: Random House.
  3. JFK Assassination Records. (n.d.). National archives. Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report
  4. Stone, O.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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