Gerald R. Ford Museum
Exhibits, Events, Education Center

303 Pearl Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

616-254-0400 (tel)
616-254-0386 (fax)

e-mail
Ford Museum Facebook Page

Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm (Mon-Sat)
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Sundays
(Closed New Year's, Thanksgiving, & Christmas Days)


Gerald R. Ford Library
Research, Events, Small Exhibits

1000 Beal Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

734-205-0555 (tel)
734-205-0571 (fax)

e-mail
Ford Library Facebook Page

Hours: 8:45am-4:45pm (Mon-Fri)
(Closed Federal Holidays)



Topic Ideas for Student Papers
(Last updated January 2004)


The attached list identifies some of the topics that undergraduates might choose to research in the Ford Library's "open" collections. For some topics, the volume and quality of material are sufficient to support major honors thesis projects. In other cases, the scope of material might be more suitable to a 10-15 page seminar paper. In all cases, students must rely on the UM Undergraduate and Graduate Libraries for related books and articles. (The Ford Library's small printed works collection does not circulate.)

The 1974-1977 papers of President Ford and his White House, Domestic Council, and National Security Council staffs are the core of the Ford Library's holdings. Other materials include Ford's 1949-1973 congressional papers, 1973-1974 vice-presidential papers, files of First Lady Betty Ford and her staff, and a wide range of personal papers, oral histories, and organizational records from numerous, diverse sources.

Library hours are Monday-Friday 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The Library is closed weekends, evenings and Federal holidays. It is open during semester breaks and mid-term breaks. Students can learn more about Ford Library collections by:

  • Seeking advice by e-mail, telephone, or in person, from Library reference staff.

  • Consulting our "Collections Guide and Finding Aids". It has a master list of all collections with each collection entry linked to a detailed description.

  • Requesting search reports from our internal PRESNET database of over 90,00 folder titles and 300,000 index entries. We can e-mail reports to you or produce them while you wait. PRESNET is much more powerful than our website search engine.

Topic Categories
Commerce, Labor,Transportation, Regulatory Reform
Economic Affairs
Energy, Science, and Environment
Executive Powers and White House Operations
Health, Education, and Welfare
Intergovernmental and Urban Affairs
International Relations, National Security
Law and Justice

Miscellaneous
Politics
Ford's Congressional Years, 1949-73

Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Regulatory Reform
Aircraft Noise Control Proposals
Airline Deregulation
Antitrust Reform Legislation
Bank Regulatory Reform
Cable Television Deregulation
Common Situs Picketing Bill
Consumer Protection Agency Legislation
Fair Trade Laws Repeal (Robinson-Patman Act)
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Loan Guarantees
Motor Carrier (trucking industry) Deregulation
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (airbags, truck air brakes, etc.)
National Commission on Productivity and Work Quality
No-Fault Automobile Insurance Legislation
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations
Penn Central Railroad Loan Guarantees
Pension Reform (Employee Retirement Income Security Act)
Public Service and Public Works Jobs Legislation
Questionable Corporate Payments Abroad Investigation
Railroad Reorganization (Amtrak and Conrail) and Deregulation

Return to Top of topic list

Economic Affairs - Domestic(See International Relations for international economic matters).
Banking Industry Regulation by the Federal Reserve System
Conference on Inflation, 1974
Economic Policy Board (creation and operation)
Federal Budget Process
Federal Open Market Committee and Interest-Rate Decisions
Monetary Policy (money supply)
Nixon Administration Abandonment of the Gold Standard
Nixon Economic Stabilization Program (wage-price controls)
Tax Reform Proposals
Whip Inflation Now (WIN) Program

Return to Top of topic list

Energy, Physical Sciences, and Environment
Alaska Pipeline Construction (energy vs. environmental concerns)
Automobile Emission Standards
Clean Air Act Amendments
Earthquake Prediction Research
Energy Policy and Conservation Act
NASA and the Space Program (Including Apollo-Soyuz docking)
Natural Gas Deregulation
Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy Statement
Office of Science and Technology Policy (presidential science advisor)
Oil Price Decontrol/Oil Import Fees
Outer Continental Shelf Oil Leasing (new oil, environmental risk, splitting the revenue)
Predator Control (restrictions on DDT and other poisons)
Strategic Petroleum Reserve (establishment of)
Strip Mining Regulation
Supersonic Commercial Aircraft Development and Landing Rights (SST and Concorde)
Uranium Enrichment Industry and Privatization
Vice President Rockefeller's $100 Billion Energy Independence Proposal

Return to Top of topic list

Executive Powers and White House Operations
Appointments to Federal Government Boards, Commissions, and Agencies
Cabinet Meetings/White House Liaison with the Cabinet
Camp David -- Who Went, When, and Why
Confirmation of Ford & Rockefeller as Vice President under 25th Amendment
Conflict of Interest Standards for Presidential Appointees
Executive Privilege (withholding information from Congress)
First Lady Betty Ford's Activities and Staff
Floating Coalitions Veto Strategy
"Legislative Encroachment" on Presidential Powers (including Legislative Veto)
Pocket Veto Power
Post-Watergate 94th Congress (internal reforms and impact on White House liaison)
Presidential Decisions on Signing or Vetoing Legislation
Presidential Transitions (1974 and 1977)
President's Daily Schedule/Time Management
Press/Media Relations (including press conferences)
Rumsfeld and Cheney as White House Chiefs of Staff
Speech writing Process (including State of the Union addresses)
"Sunday Morning Massacre" Personnel Changes
Vice President Nelson Rockefeller's role in the Administration
White House Liaison with Congress
White House Liaison with European-American Ethnic Groups, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans, Women, and Youth

Return to Top of topic list

Health, Education and Welfare
Abortion Policy
Child Day Care Centers (standards/federal aid)
Drug Abuse Policy (Domestic Council Drug Abuse Review & white paper)
Education for All Handicapped Children Act
Food Stamps Reform
Mass Immunization for Swine Influenza Threat
Mrs. Ford's Breast Cancer and the Public Response
National Health Insurance Proposals
National School Lunch and Child Nutrition Act Amendments
Social Security Financing
Welfare Reform

Return to Top of topic list

Intergovernmental and Urban Affairs
Emergency Housing Act
Federal Aid to Detroit
General Revenue Sharing (block grants v. categorical grants)
New York City Financial Crisis
Urban Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee

Return to Top of topic list

International Relations, National Security
(Note: In addition to the topics cited below, U.S. relations with any given country might also be a feasible topic.)
Afghanistan Seeks Closer U.S. Ties
Agreement with USSR on Strategic Arms Control, Conservative Opposition in U.S.
American Corporations, U.S. Law, and the Arab Boycott of Firms Dealing with Israel
Angola's Civil War and U.S., Soviet, Cuban, South African, and Chinese Intervention
Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism
Chile, Pinochet, Congress, and the Human Rights Issue
Colby's Troubled Directorship of the CIA
Cuba - CIA Anti-Castro Activities under President Kennedy, as Investigated in 1975
Cyprus Partition, the Greek-American Lobby, and the Fight over Arms Sales to Turkey
Eastern Europe's Soviet "Satellite" Countries and the U.S. Policy of Detente with USSR
Egyptian-Israeli Sinai Disengagement Accord
Emigration of Jews and Dissidents from the Soviet Union
Foreign Aid Programs (including food aid)
Foreign Investments in the United States
Grain Sales to the Soviet Union - Detente and the Domestic Economy Collide
Helsinki Agreements (Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe)
Indochina Refugee Resettlement Program After the Vietnam War
Indonesia Occupies East Timor
Intelligence Community Investigations and Reform
International Economic Summits Begun
International Monetary System Reform
International Trade Policy (including passage of Trade Act of 1974)
Iran's Shah Tries to Buy Pan-American Airlines
Japan - President Ford and Emperor Hirohito Exchange Visits
Korea - North Korean Tree Incident/Axe Murders
Korea - South Korea - U.S. Relations and the Human Rights Issue
Law of the Sea Treaty Negotiations
Lebanon Collapses into Ethnic and Religious Civil War
Mayaguez Incident (Khmer Rouge seizure of Merchant Ship and U.S. Armed Response
Micronesian Status Negotiations and the Northern Marianas Islands Compact
Military Base Closings in U.S., Military Procurement Contracts, and Domestic Politics
Missing in Action/Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia NATO and U.S. Relations with European Allies
National Security Council Meetings - Their Role and Conduct
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy
Ocean Fisheries Jurisdiction (200 mile limit)
Panama Canal Treaty Negotiations
Portugal and Its 500-Year Colonial Empire in Revolution and Breakup
Presidential Trips to U.S.S.R., Japan, South Korea (1974); China, Indonesia, Philippines (1975); Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Helsinki Summit (1975)
Rabat Summit of Arab Leaders Recognizes PLO as the Representative of Palestinians
U.S.-China Business Council (promotion of trade with the People's Republican of China
U.S. Policy and Africa's White Regimes (Namibia, Rhodesia, and South Africa)
Visits of Foreign Leaders to the U.S.
War Powers Resolution

Return to Top of topic list

Law and Justice
Amnesty/Clemency for Vietnam War Draft Evaders and Military Deserters
Assassination Attempts by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and Sara Jane Moore
Attorney General Levi and the Post-Watergate Justice Department
Busing for School Desegregation
Congressional Black Caucus
Copyright Law Revision
Crime Reduction Proposals
Freedom of Information Act Amendments - Veto and Override
Gun Control Legislation
Illegal Immigration
Japanese-American Citizens League and World War II Injustices
Judicial Appointments (including John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court)
La Guardia Airport Bombing
Native American Issues and Protest, including Wounded Knee
Nixon Impeachment Hearings in the House of Representatives
Nixon Papers Controversy
Nixon Pardon Controversy
Presidential Study Commission on Records and Documents of Public Officials
Privacy Legislation and Policy
Puerto Rico: Statehood, Commonwealth Status, or Independence
Sex Discrimination in Educational Institutions (fight over the first Title IX regulations)
Voting Rights Act Extension
White House Public Liaison Office and its Work with African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, Women, and European Ethnic Groups
Women's Rights/International Women's Year/Equal Rights Amendment

Return to Top of topic list

Miscellaneous
American Revolution Bicentennial Celebration
Children's Letters to the President
Lt. Commander Ford's World War II Naval Service
President's Commission on Olympic Sports
Robert Hartmann's 1938 Student Visit to Imperial Japan and Occupied Manchuria
State Dinner Menus, Entertainment, and Guest Lists

Return to Top of topic list

Politics(Including the 1976 Presidential Campaign)
Campaign Debates Preparations
Campaign Speeches (including the President's convention acceptance speech)
Campaign Strategy
Congressional Elections of 1974 and the Democratic Landslide
Contest for the Republican Nomination between Ford and Ronald Reagan
Federal Election Campaign Act (campaign reform)
Ford's 1976 Campaign "Kick-off" at U-M Crisler Arena
Ford's Second Debate "Poland Gaffe"
George H.W. Bush and the Ford White House
Hatch Act Reform Legislation (political activities of government employees)
Impact of Election Reforms on Presidential Campaigns
Media Coverage of the Campaign
New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina or other primary
Political Advertising (Ford v. Reagan)
President Ford Committee - Creating an Effective Campaign Organization
Public Opinion Polling (1972 and 1976 elections)
Republican Platform (Ford compromises with the Reagan opposition)
Travel Advance - Planning and Logistics for Presidential Trips
Voter Registration Legislation
White House Liaison with the Republican Party

Return to Top of topic list

Ford's Congressional Years, 1949-1973
Attempt to Impeach Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
Exclusion of Adam Clayton Powell from Congress
Ford-Boggs Trip to China, 1972
Ford's First Campaign, 1948
Ford's Constituents and the Issues of the 1960s
Ford's Rise to House Minority Leader in Response to the 1964 Goldwater Debacle
House Republicans and the Vietnamese War
House Republican Organization, 1965-73 (Minority Leader, Policy Committee, Planning and Research Committee, task forces, etc.)
House Republicans' Liaison with the Nixon White House, 1969-73
Nixon's 1972 Campaign
Opposition to Johnson Administration Policies, 1965-68
Republican Party Coordinating Committee, 1965-68
State of the Union Responses/Other Joint House-Senate Republican Leadership Activities, 1965-68
Warren Commission Investigation of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Return to Top of topic list