From its onset, the power to pardon has been controversial because it has been used more often for the sake of political advantage than the correction of judicial error. To the 38th President of the United States, his perusal for the pardon power; granted by the United States Constitution, Article II, Section 2, had to do with the ushering in of peace into a hectic time period. (U.S. Constitution) A number of Presidents throughout American history have used pardon power for various reasons. For example, George Washington granted the first pardon to leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion, while Andrew Johnson granted a number of pardons to thousands of former Confederate officials and military personnel after the American Civil War. Other uses of pardon include, George H. W. Bush's pardons of 75 people in connection with the Iran-Contra affair, Bill Clinton's pardons of convicted FALN terrorists, and most recently George W. Bush's pardoning of Irve Lewis Libby's prison term. (U.S. Dept of Justice, 2006) Yet in the 20th century, President Gerald Ford granted one of the most memorable pardons to former President Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974, for any crimes he may have committed that gave rise to the Watergate scandal.
Many view Ford’s pardon as a corrupt bargain made to elevate him to the Presidency and alleviate Nixon from any responsibility, yet Ford’s speech shows a man of good judgment who’s primary concern was the clearing up of America’s name which had been sullied by Watergate. Ford desired to end of Nixon’s suffering, whom he believed, “will continue to suffer, no matter what I do.” (Ford Nixon Pardon) In a news conference Ford stated he, “…hoped that our former president who had brought peace to millions would find it for himself.” (Presidents News Conference, 1974) This paper critiques President Ford’s speech entitled “Remarks on Pardoning Richard Nixon.” Though it has been colored with bias from the media, this critique will help individuals who...
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