President Richard Nixon’s Watergate incident and resignation in August of 1974 left the nation feeling skeptic toward the national government. Gerald Ford, who was not elected by the public, took the oath of office and became the 38th president of the United States. President Ford, coined with a repugnant image in both the eyes of the public and the media, was defeated by 56 electoral votes in the election of 1976. Jimmy Carter managed to receive similar distasteful images by the end of his single term as well. Although there were similarities between Ford and Carter, the two presidents were different in terms of previous experience, domestic policies, and foreign affairs.
Presidents Ford and Carter had mostly different experiences before taking oath for the presidency, with the exception of some similar exposures. Ford climbed up the ladder to become a lieutenant commander of the Navy during World War II. After World War II, he proved his dedication to politics by serving in Congress for 25 years. He served as a House Minority Leader from 1965-1973. Ford became allies with President Nixon during Nixon’s administration. Ford was a huge fan of Nixon’s domestic policies and supported him all the way. Due to the exposure of the Watergate incident, Spiro Agnew resigned, leaving Nixon without a vice-president. Nixon appointed Ford to be his new vice-president. Nearly a year later, Nixon resigned, leaving all of the nation’s problems on Ford’s plate. Carter, like Ford, served in the Navy before entering politics. Carter served seven years as a naval officer. However, his entrance into politics was humbler than Ford’s. He started out locally, unlike Ford’s jump for national politics. In 1955, he sat in the Sumter County Board of Education and eventually became the chairman. He entered state politics in 1962 in the Georgia senate. Even though Carter first persevered to enter Congress, he decided to run for governor of Georgia to shine his liberal light on the state. During his two terms as governor, he pushed for an end to segregation while promoting ecology and government efficiency. Carter decided that the country needed a new type of Democratic president. In the election of 1976, Carter won the presidency with 296 electoral votes. Unlike Ford’s praise for Nixon‘s domestic policies, Carter opposed Nixon’s ways. This laid the groundwork for the diversity between Ford and Carter’s methods when dealing with the vexatious domestic issues of the country.
Faced with similar domestic issues, both presidents approached the issues in strikingly different manners, sharing only a few similarities in their approaches. Both presidents approached the presidency with a yearn to promote honesty and integrity. With Watergate still fresh in the nation’s mind, the presidents aimed to restore the public’s faith in the government. The public admired both of their efforts to push honesty and integrity into their domestic policies; however, the presidents failed to restore confidence in the eyes of the citizens due to their lack of stable plans for the country. For example, Ford entered the presidency pushing for tax increases; however later in the presidency he fought battles with Congress pushing for tax cuts. Carter entered the White House advocating military budget cuts and an end to the use of nuclear weapons. Carter left the White House with the legacy of increasing the budget for defense and advancing nuclear weapons in Europe. Both men were also known for clashing with Congress on a regular basis. Ford and Congress had a constant battle over the balance between tax cuts and government spending. Ford vetoed practically all of Congress’s attempts to increase government spending. Ford’s relationship with Congress created a bumpy road in terms of domestic policies. Carter had a similar experience with Congress during his administration. Carter refused to participate in “backroom deals” when dealing with Congress. This caused Congress to find...
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