Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States from 1974 to 1977. Earlier, he served as leader of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives, and then as the 40th vice president of the United States from 1973 to 1974. When President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, Ford succeeded to the presidency, but was defeated for election to a full term in 1976.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ford attended the University of Michigan and Yale Law School. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving from 1942 to 1946; he left as a lieutenant commander. Ford began his political career in 1949 as the U.S. representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district. He served in this capacity for 25 years, the final nine of them as the House minority leader. In December 1973, two months after the resignation of Spiro Agnew, Ford became the first person appointed to the vice presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment. After the subsequent resignation of President Nixon in August 1974, Ford immediately assumed the presidency.