the pardon of richard nixon (proclamation 4311 wikisource has information on "proclamation 4311") on september 8, 1974, by us president gerald ford granted richard nixon, ford's predecessor, a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes that he might have committed against the united states as president. in particular, the pardon covered nixon's actions during the watergate scandal. in a televised broadcast to the nation, ford, who had succeeded to the presidency upon nixon's resignation, explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country and that the nixon family's situation was "a tragedy in which we all have played a part. it could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. i have concluded that only i can do that, and if i can, i must."
after ford left the white house in 1977, he privately justified his pardon of nixon by carrying in his wallet a portion of the text of burdick v. united states, a 1915 u.s. supreme court decision that suggested that a pardon carries an imputation of guilt and that its acceptance carries a confession of guilt.