Halloween Massacre

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For the Angolan Civil War massacre, see Halloween massacre (Angola).

The "Halloween Massacre" is the term associated with the major reorganization of U.S. President Gerald R. Ford's Cabinet on November 4, 1975. Several prominent moderate Republicans in the administration were replaced by more conservative figures. The changes were:

Subsequent to these events, Rogers Morton was also replaced by Elliot Richardson as Secretary of Commerce.

Political commentators quickly dubbed Ford's sweeping changes the "Halloween Massacre," reminiscent of President Richard M. Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" in October 1973.[1] Historians argue that President Ford's decision was not one of his own design and traditionally two theories are postulated to support this thesis. First, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney manipulated their appointments to advance their own agendas within the American political arena. Or, second, Rumsfeld and Cheney convinced Ford to make these changes in order to improve his election prospects against his primary Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan.[2][not in citation given]

Veteran political correspondents and commentators initiated newspaper and magazine articles immediately fingering Donald Rumsfeld as the manipulator of these events despite Ford's protestations that he had made the decision alone.[3] The historiography of the "Halloween Massacre" appears to support these interpretations.[4]


  1. ^ The University of Texas, Timeline of President Ford's Life and Career,
  2. ^ United States Senate, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, 41st Vice President (1974-1977)
  3. ^ Goldman, Peter, Ford Shakes Up His Cabinet, Time Magazine, 11/17/75. Time Magazine.com,
  4. ^ Blumenthal, Sidney, The Long March of Dick Cheney, Salon.com