This Day Of Presidential Pardons Brings To Mind….
On August 9, 1974, facing impeachment for his role in the Watergate affair, President Nixon resigned from office, and Gerald R. Ford succeeded him as President. A month later, on September 8, Ford stunned the nation by announcing that he was granting Nixon “a full, free, and absolute pardon" for all crimes committed during Nixon’s time in office. The decision to pardon Nixon was one of the most controversial decisions ever made by a President.
A few days afterwards, a one-line letter arrived for Ford. “Dear President Ford,” it said, “I think you are half Right and half wrong.”
The writer, one Anthony Ferreira, did not state his age, but his brevity, handwriting, and use of wide-ruled paper suggest that he was quite young. While his figures weren’t precise—fifty-nine percent of the population actually opposed Ford’s decision—this child managed to encapsulate, in a single sentence, the country’s deep division over the pardon. (National Archives)
Gerald Ford Photo: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum