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Richard Nixon

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Richard Nixon
Oval Office Photo c. 1972
37th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
Vice President
  • Spiro Agnew (1969–1973)
  • None (Oct–Dec 1973)
  • Gerald Ford (1973–1974)
Preceded byLyndon B. Johnson
Succeeded byGerald Ford
36th Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
PresidentDwight D. Eisenhower
Preceded byAlben W. Barkley
Succeeded byLyndon B. Johnson
United States Senator
from California
In office
December 1, 1950 – January 1, 1953
Preceded bySheridan Downey
Succeeded byThomas Kuchel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 12th district
In office
January 3, 1947 – November 30, 1950
Preceded byJerry Voorhis
Succeeded byPatrick J. Hillings
Personal details
Richard Milhous Nixon

(1913-01-09)January 9, 1913
Yorba Linda, California, U.S.
DiedApril 22, 1994(1994-04-22) (aged 81)
New York City, U.S.
Resting placeRichard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Political partyRepublican
Height1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
(m. 2021; died 1993)
MotherHannah Milhous
FatherFrancis A. Nixon
EducationWhittier College (BA)
Duke University School of Law (JD)
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1942–1946 (active)
1946–1966 (inactive)
Rank Commander
Battles/warsWorld War II
 • South Pacific Theater[1]
Awards Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2)

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was an American politician who was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974, when he became the only president to resign.[2] Before that, Nixon was the 36th vice president (from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower), and a U.S. Representative and Senator from California. He was a Republican.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. He attended Duke University and graduated from its law school in 1937. After graduating, he returned to California to practice law. In 1942, he and his wife Pat moved to Washington to work for the federal government. During World War II, he served on active duty in the Naval Reserve.

Nixon began his career in politics after he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. During this time, he became well known as an anti-Communist. In 1950, he was elected to the Senate. In 1953, he became the vice president of the United States, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He served in this position for eight years. In 1960, Nixon ran for president. He was defeated by John F. Kennedy. Two years later, in 1962, Nixon ran for governor of California. He also lost this election to Pat Brown. In 1968, he ran for president for a second time. He won the election, defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace in a close election.

As president, Nixon got the United States to stop being involved in the Vietnam War. He ended the military draft in 1973. In 1972, Nixon visited China. This visit would eventually create diplomatic relations between the two nations. The same year, he signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union.

Domestically, Nixon imposed wage and price controls for 90 days. He had Southern schools desegregated (ending the separation of people by their race). He established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). He also began the War on Cancer. He presided over the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969. In 1972, Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, defeating George McGovern.

In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, a war which led to the oil crisis at home. In 1973, he had lost a lot of political support because of the Watergate scandal. On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned, becoming the first American president to do so. His successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him.

After resigning, Nixon wrote many books and visited many other countries. He died on April 22, 1994, after suffering a stroke. He is ranked lowly in presidential opinion polls.[3][4][5] Despite this, evaluations of Nixon have been difficult, as he was viewed to have accomplished good things as president, even though he resigned due to a scandal.

Early life, belief & Californian heritage[change | change source]

Nixon's Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California

Nixon was born on January 9, 1913[6] in his family's home in Yorba Linda, California, to Hannah and Francis Nixon. He is the only president born in California. He was named for King Richard the Lionhearted, and was raised as a Quaker. His brother Edward, was a businessman. Herbert Hoover was the only other United States President to belong to the Quaker faith (as a coincidence, Hoover was also one of just three presidents, one of whom was Nixon, to hail from California). Nixon was raised in Whittier, California. His father was of Scotch-Irish ancestry and his mother was of German, English, and Irish ancestry.[7] He attended Whittier High School, Whittier College, and Duke University.[6] He served in the Navy during World War II.[8] Later, he married Thelma Nixon (later Patricia Nixon) and had two daughters, Tricia and Julie.[6]

Harvard Scholarship & More[change | change source]

Nixon received a scholarship to Harvard, but declined to help his family on the farm. Nixon was also tapped to join the FBI. He was very pleased, but at the last minute was rejected due to budget cuts.

Early political career[change | change source]

Nixon in Congress

Congressional career[change | change source]

California congressman (1947–1950)[change | change source]

Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. When in the House, he was a member of House Un-American Activities Commission, a group of Congressmen that tried to expose people in the United States who might have been Communists.

U.S. Senate (1950–1953)[change | change source]

He was later elected a Senator in 1950 after running a controversial campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas.

Vice president (1953–1961)[change | change source]

In the 1952 presidential election, Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Nixon to be vice-president. People accused him of receiving illegal money contributions to his campaign and some people wanted Eisenhower to pick a different vice president, but Eisenhower still kept Nixon. Nixon after the accusations made a speech saying that no matter what people accuse him of illegally receiving during the campaign, he is still going to keep one campaign gift: his dog named Checkers.

The Republican Party decided to keep Nixon as their vice-presidential candidate and when Eisenhower won the election, Nixon became vice-president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During his vice-presidency, he was very busy and traveled across the world to places like South America. While he was vice president, he went to the Soviet Union and had a debate with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. They were both arguing that their country was better.

1960 presidential election[change | change source]

In the presidential election of 1960, he ran against Democrat John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was expected to win at first (because he won the first television debate against Nixon), but as Election Day came closer and closer, Nixon was catching up. In the end, Kennedy won, but it was a very close election.[6]

1962 California gubernatorial election[change | change source]

In 1962, Nixon lost the election for governor of California to Pat Brown. After losing, Nixon said "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.", leading many experts to say that Nixon's political career was over.

1968 presidential election[change | change source]

Nixon in 1968 during his Presidential Campaign

In 1968, Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election and became president of the United States in 1969. Although Humphrey lost the popular vote narrowly, he lost the electoral college in a landslide, carrying just fifteen states.

Presidency, 1969–74[change | change source]

Nixon being sworn in during his inauguration as President in 1969

Nixon took over the Vietnam War from Lyndon Johnson and continued it with the strategy of slowly withdrawing U.S. troops, so that the South Vietnamese troops could take over the fighting by themselves. Nixon secretly bombed many enemy targets in Cambodia and North Vietnam while bringing home the American troops, to make it easier for South Vietnam to win. When his spreading the bombing to Cambodia and Laos became known in 1970, it caused larger protests than ever in America, including at Kent State and even in Washington, DC, where more than 12,000 were arrested in May 1971 at the peak of the protests. Partly because of the amount of opposition, Nixon sped up troop withdrawal and ended the draft.

Nixon Arrives in Beijing during his visit to China in 1972
Nixon's Secret Bombing of Cambodia Plan during the Vietnam War

Nixon was very successful in diplomacy (relations negotiations with foreign countries). He began a policy called "détente" which reduced tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. The two countries would get along and sign treaties that would limit the production of nuclear weapons between both sides. Nixon traveled to communist China and established a very good relationship with them. Before that, there was almost no relationship between the United States and China. It opened up the door for decades of trade in the future, which is why many items in the United States were made in China. His diplomacy with China is seen as one of his greatest accomplishments. Later, under President Carter, the U.S. broke relations with the Republic of China and recognized communist China, not Taiwan, as the legal government of China.

At home, Nixon put many reforms into law. He created the Environmental Protection Agency,[9] supported anti-drug laws, supported anti-crime laws, and supported anti-discrimination laws. When inflation (meaning the value of money goes down and prices go up) was high, he ordered that prices should be frozen for 90 days. Although, he was known as a conservative Republican before he became president, while he was president, he supported some of the liberal ideas that Democrats supported. In 1974, Nixon made a speech that outlined a plan for universal health care.

Nixon's Resignation Speech

Nixon was re-elected by a landslide in 1972 with most Americans approving of him, but soon after, Nixon's reputation would be destroyed and most Americans would disapprove of him. Due to a scandal called "Watergate" during which Nixon attempted to protect (or possibly ordered) men to burglarize the Democratic National Headquarters, Congress was going to put him on trial in a process called impeachment (to remove him from power). Nixon tried to cover up the scandal, but eventually, the Supreme Court ordered him to send his taped conversations (which included him talking about covering up Watergate) to them. Alexander Haig thought Nixon would be convicted and kicked out of office. To prevent this, Nixon resigned (quit) the presidency in 1974.

Post-presidency[change | change source]

Presidents Gerald Ford, Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter in 1991

Nixon's second vice president,[6] Gerald Ford, gave Nixon a pardon of any crimes Nixon committed during Watergate. Ford wanted to end the crisis as quickly as possible, because the nation faced more important problems. Many people blamed Ford for letting Nixon go free, and voted against him when he ran in the 1976 election.

Graveside of Richard Nixon and his wife Pat

Nixon's public image never fully recovered, but he still got some approval back from Republicans as he frequently defended his legacy. He remained as a consultant to later Presidents, and to other people in government and the media especially to British journalist David Frost. His memoirs are considered important readings.[6] His work in negotiating with China in the early 1970s was praised for improving relations between his country and theirs.[6] Nixon died of a stroke in 1994,[6] ten months after his wife Pat died. Not being able to defend his legacy any longer, his overall approval rating fell, and most everyone today acknowledges his wrongdoings related to Watergate. The house where he was born is now part of the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He was buried at the library.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum http://nixon.archives.gov/thelife/nixonbio.pdf Archived September 21, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  2. Wright, John (2001). The New York Times Almanac 2002. Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-57958-348-4.
  3. "Lincoln Wins: Honest Abe tops new presidential survey". CNN. February 16, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  4. "Presidential Historians Survey 2017". C-SPAN. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  5. "Presidents 2018 Rank by Category" (PDF). Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 "Richard M. Nixon". Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  7. "Nixon Genealogy - President Richard Nixon Family History". www.archives.com.
  8. White, Theodore H. (1973). The Making of the President 1972. New York: Antheneum. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-689-10553-1.
  9. Elkins, Chuck (October 2013). "Transcript of "Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the EPA" Video" (PDF). EPA Alumni Association. Retrieved August 20, 2018.

Other websites[change | change source]