September 8, 1974 – President Ford Address To Nation – The Pardon of Richard Nixon – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
September 8, 1974 – In one of his acts as newly sworn-in successor to Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford granted Nixon a full and complete pardon for his role in the Watergate scandal and subsequent cover-up.
Although it was more or less expected. It didn’t really set all that well with a large percentage of the American population who felt that Nixon was getting off with nothing more than a gentle scolding. It signaled something larger and probably more sinister over the coming years and decades – “Crime Does Pay”. The notion that crime could come without consequences, largely predicated on money, position and connections became the cynical uptick to many – and the gradual erosion of conscience and moral fiber has come to be a plague on society in general ever since. Not that any of this was new in our history, but that it had become out in the open and on display with a perceived “thumbs up” during Watergate and its aftermath.
So on September 8, 1974 we were glued to our radios and TV’s, aghast at what was taking place, but so shell-shocked over the trauma of the past two years it almost rated a shaken head and shrugged shoulder.
President Ford: “It is believed that a trial of Richard Nixon, if it became necessary, could not fairly begin until a 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.
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.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-ninth.”
Here is the complete address as it was broadcast on September 8, 1974.
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