Ideas from the National Archives for National History Day
Resources at the
Gerald Ford Presidential Library
The 1976 Presidential election was the first to be affected by significant campaign legislative reform as a result of the Watergate scandal and the abuses of the campaigns of 1968 and 1972. New fundraising and spending limits, more primary elections, and the development of new campaign strategies had to keep in mind an electorate which was more cynical than ever before. The materials documenting the 1976 Presidential election are located in many collections, at the Ford Library including the records of the President Ford Committee; the files of Richard Cheney, assistant to the President; the papers of Robert Teeter, political strategist to Republican candidates; and White House Central Files (WHCF) Subject File categories PL (political affairs), SP (speeches), and TR (trips). The Ford Library web site provides a section of campaign documents as well as relevant speeches and cabinet meeting minutes.
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Three days later, Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone suspect in the murder, was shot and killed during a prison transfer. These events shocked and saddened the nation and left an indelible memory on all who lived through those days and shared the communal experience of grief. Gerald Ford's service on the Warren Commission (which investigated the deaths of Kennedy and Oswald) is documented in the Gerald R. Ford Congressional Papers. The Ford Library also has relevant material in the files of the President's Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States (Rockefeller Commission); the records of the U.S. Army, Military District of Washington, Directorate of Ceremonies and Special Events; and in the White House Central Files (WHCF) Subject File categories FG2-34 (Kennedy, John F.) and JL3-1/K (Assassinations or attempted assassinations).
The Ford Administration struggled through the final chapter of U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam. On April 25, 1975, the U.S. ended its official presence by evacuating its embassy in Saigon. Never again would Americans fully trust their government to initiate unconditional offensive military actions. The events leading up to that day and the impact on the Ford administration are detailed in such collections as the files of Philip Buchen, Counsel to the President; the convenience file of communications with the U.S. Embassy in Saigon; and the parallel file of documents opened from the unprocessed collections of the National Security Advisers (Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft). The Ford Library web site also contains several useful exhibits on this topic including the President's Daily Diary from April 28, 1975; several National Security Memoranda of Conversation; National Security Study Memoranda; and Cabinet Meeting Minutes.