America was in crisis
When First Lady Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1974, the nation was reeling. Her husband’s unprecedented swearing-in as President had come in a swirl of confusion and embarrassment. Vice President Spiro Agnew had resigned in disgrace. The Vietnam War was spiraling downward into defeat. Richard Nixon’s denials that he had conspired or lied about Watergate were falling on deaf ears. America was in crisis.