University Archives


G. Ford Signed Transcript of Nixon Pardon, Ex-Forbes

“I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States...do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States....”

GERALD R. FORD, Typed Document Signed, Proclamation Granting Pardon to Richard Nixon, September 8, 1974. 2 pp., 8.25? x 10.75?.

President Gerald Ford grants a “full, free, and absolute pardon” to his predecessor Richard Nixon “for all offenses against the United States” in the wake of the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation.

“Richard Nixon became the thirty-seventh President of the United States on January 20, 1969 and was reelected in 1972 for a second term by the electors of forty-nine of the fifty states. His term in office continued until his resignation on August 9, 1974.” (p1)

“It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until or year or more has elapsed. In the meantime, the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States. The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States.” (p1-2)

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”

Historical Background
On September 8, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford took the most controversial action of his presidency in pardoning his disgraced predecessor Richard M. Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while president.

When journalists revealed that Nixon and his aides had engaged in illegal activities during his reelection campaign in 1972 and then attempted to cover up any evidence of wrongdoing, a national scandal erupted. While Congress proceeded with impeachment proceedings, Nixon became the first American president to resign on August 9, 1974. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald Ford became the thirty-eighth President of the United States.

One month later, President Ford issued this pardon to bring closure to the divisive Watergate scandal and end what he termed the “long national nightmare.” Many condemned Ford’s actions, and it may have contributed to his failure to win the narrowly contested 1976 presidential election.

Gerald R. Ford Jr. (1913-2006) was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska, but his parents divorced months after his birth, and he grew up in Michigan. His mother married Gerald Rudolff Ford in 1916, and she renamed her son after her new husband. Ford did not legally change his name until 1935. He became an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1935 and from Yale Law School in 1941. Ford served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and U.S. Navy during World War II. Returning to Michigan, he became active in Republican politics and won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948. He served in Congress from 1949 to 1973, the last nine years as House Minority Leader. In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Ford as one of nine members of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. When Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in October 1973, Ford became Vice President to President Richard M. Nixon. Ten months later, Nixon resigned, and Ford became President. He narrowly lost reelection to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Ex. The Forbes Collection. Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), American owner-publisher of Forbes magazine, and consummate collector, amassed one of the most substantial and broad collections of such breadth and depth that it filled a half-dozen residences, and sat on three continents. Many of his manuscripts were sold in multi-million dollar sales by Christie's in the early 2000s. The Forbes name is considered to be the apex of provenance when attached to an item like the one above. We are honored to have been chosen by the family to sell at auction the substantial balance of the collection.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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