Perhaps you were too young at the time. Nixon was in deep doo-doo. Burglary, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, evidence-tampering…the list goes on. He resigned to avoid impeachment, but this did not give him impunity from prosecution. Gerald Ford pardoned him, because he “had suffered enough”. Also, I’m sure he didn’t want the circus that would certainly follow to get started. For instance, assuming he would be found guilty, which he undoubtedly was, where would you send him?
I am sure that’s why Mr. Ford, a genuine nice guy, and a decent president, was a one-term president. Many, including myself, felt Nixon had not suffered enough, and voted against him for that reason only. I will admit to that myself, and now that I am not a young hothead, I wonder what would have happened had Mr. Ford been given a second term instead of sending Mr. Carter to Washington.