Presidential Autograph - The 'many constructive contributions you have made to a better and stronger U.S.A.'
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FORD, GERALD. (1913-2006). Thirty-eighth president of the United States. ALS. (“Jerry Ford”). 1p. 4to. N.p., November 22, 1978. On his personal stationery headed with the gilt great seal of the United States. To New York politician HAMILTON FISH III (1888-1991).
Congratulations on your “ninetieth” birthday anniversary. Those who have known you for many years recognize how many constructive contributions you have made to a better and stronger U.S.A. I, and countless others, are most grateful. I hope you have a wonderful day on December 7th and that many more will follow.…
In October 1973, President Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion and money laundering. Following the procedures laid out in the 25th Amendment, Gerald Ford was nominated and confirmed by the Senate as the country’s new V.P. Meanwhile, Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, and despite compelling evidence, he continued to assert his ignorance of the affair, refusing to cooperate until he finally resigned from the nation’s highest office on August 9, 1974. Ford succeeded him, becoming the only person to ever serve as both president and vice president without having been elected to either office. Ford faced the challenges of an economic recession and inflation, cold war tensions with the Soviet Union, the complicated U.S. pullout from Vietnam (resulting in the fall of non-communist South Vietnam), and America’s mistrust of the presidency precipitated by Watergate. In 1976, he reluctantly and unsuccessfully ran against Jimmy Carter.
The grandson of Ulysses S. Grant’s Secretary of State Hamilton Fish and the son of Congressman Hamilton Fish II, Hamilton Fish III was destined for a political career. After graduating from Harvard, Fish won a seat in the New York State Assembly at the age of 26. During World War I, he was captain of the 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment, a unit of African-American soldiers known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” and which served more time on the front lines – 191 days – than any other regiment. After completing his military service, for which he was highly decorated, Fish was elected to Congress and introduced the legislation that created the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. He was also a vocal opponent of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation. Throughout his career, Fish fought against what he saw as the threat of communism, heading the congressional Fish Committee, formed in 1930 to investigate alleged communist influences in America. He was heavily criticized for his isolationist stance prior to U.S. entry into World War II and for advocating better relations with Nazi Germany. For his isolationist views, Fish became the target of a failed British attempt to foil his reelection in 1940. He was, however, defeated in 1944, a loss he blamed on communists in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. At the age of 102, Fish was recognized as the oldest living veteran of Congress. His son followed in his footsteps, serving 13 terms in Congress.
Letters of Ford are uncommon in ALS. Never folded and in mint condition.