Gerald Ford (born July 14, 1913) was the 38th (1974-1977) President of the United States and the 40th (1973-1974) Vice President. He was the first person appointed to the Vice-Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, and upon succession to the presidency became the first (and to date, only) president in U.S. history to fill that office without having been elected either President or Vice-President.
Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and was originally named Leslie Lynch King after his biological father, but his parents divorced when he was less than a year old. When his mother remarried, he was given the name of his step-father, Gerald Rudolph Ford. Ford obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, where he was a football star. He went on to obtain a law degree from Yale University before serving in the United States Navy during World War II. Returning from the war a confirmed "internationalist", Republican Ford defeated the incumbent in the party primary and was elected to the United States House of Representatives representing the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963 and served in the House until 1973. When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States at the height of the Watergate scandal. Following the resignation of Richard Nixon, Ford ascended to the presidency on August 9, 1974.
The Ford administration saw the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, the execution of the Helsinki Accords and the continuing specter of inflation and recession. Faced with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in Congress, the administration was hampered in its ability to pass major legislation, and Ford's vetoes were frequently overridden. After Ford was criticized by many for granting a pre-emptive pardon to Nixon, Democrat Jimmy Carter narrowly defeated him in the 1976 presidential race. Along with his own Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, he is one of two people appointed Vice President rather than elected.