Richard M Nixon

Richard M. Nixon


Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th president of the United States (1969-1974). He was the only U.S. president ever to resign from office. He left the presidency on August 9, 1974, while facing almost certain impeachment for his involvement in the Watergate political scandal.




Early life (1913-1946)

·       Richard Milhous Nixon was born on a lemon farm in Yorba Linda, CA on January 9, 1913.

·       He studied at Whittier College and at Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC. In 1937, he began to practise law in Whittier, CA.

·       In 1940 he married Thelma Catherine Patricia Ryan; they had two children, Patricia and Julie.

·       After the outbreak of World War II Nixon worked for the wartime Office of Price Administration from January to August, 1946. He then served in the Navy until January, 1946, when he was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Early political career and years of defeat (1946-1962)

·       Nixon entered politics in 1946. His aggressive campaigning soon established his reputation as an outspoken anti-Communist. Nixon successfully opposed the Democratic incumbent for the post of a Representative from California. He was re-elected in 1948.

·       He became nationally knwon for his work with the House Committee on Un-American Activities and, in 1950, Nixon easily won election as Senator from California.

·       Nixon's success won him the admiration of party leaders across the country. Nominated as Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate on the Republican ticket in the 1952 presidential election, Nixon was elected Vice President and was re-elected in 1956. Nixon became one of the most active vice presidents in U.S. history. During President Eisenhower's illnesses, he even conducted cabinet meetings, received White House staff reports and assumed many routine presidential duties.

·       He won the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency, 1960, and campaigned vigorously but unsuccessfully against Sen. John F. Kennedy and his running mate, Lyndon B. Johnson.

·       Subsequently he ran for governor of California, but lost this race also. With this loss, political observers unanimously felt Nixon's political career was ended. He entered a private law firm in New York City, but remained an important Republican party spokesman. His book Six Crises (1962) was a best-seller.

The road back (1964-1968)


·       After Lyndon B. Johnson had been elected president in 1964, Nixon campaigned in 35 states for 85 Republican candidates in 1965 and 1966. The outstanding results convinced Nixon that President Johnson could be defeated in 1968, and Nixon began to plan how he could be the man to do it.

·       Nixon declared his candidacy for the office of president on February 1, 1968 and was nominated on August 7, 1968. For his running mate, he selected the little-known governor of Maryland, Spiro T. Agnew.

·       In his campaign against Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Nixon promised to bring 'an honorable end' to the war in Vietnam. He profited from the fact that President Johnson's administration had reached its lowest point of popularity.

·       In a close election, Nixon won by a margin of about 500,000 votes.

First administration (1969-1973)

·       As president, Nixon supported vigorous anti-crime legislation, continuation of a ten-percent surtax on income taxes to combat inflation, and the creation of an anti ballistic missile system to guard U.S. missile bases from enemy rockets.

·       His major goal was settlement of the Vietnam War. In 1969, South Vietnams began to replace U.S. Marine Corps units in combat zones. This policy of gradual withdrawal became known as Vietnamization.

·       In the spring of 1970, however, Nixon deployed U.S. troops in Cambodia to destroy communist supplies of munitions and foodstuffs. A new wave of anti-war protests erupted, sometimes leading to riots and the loss of lives and property.

·       On the other hand, Nixon eased the tension between the U.S. and both China and the Soviet Union. He became the first president to visit China while in office.

·       In November 1972, Nixon and Agnew were re-elected with a landslide victory against their Democratic opponent George McGovern.

Second administration (1973-1974)

·       On January 27, 1973, the U.S. and the other participants in the Vietnam War signed a ceasefire and began exchanging prisoners. The U.S. completed its troop withdrawal from South East Asia in March.

·       The Watergate scandal hit the Nixon administration during 1973. It arose from a burglary of the Democratic national headquarters in the Watergate building complex in Washington, D.C in June 1972, and other illegal activities by employees of Nixon's 1972 re-election committee.

·       Vice President Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, while under investigation unrelated to the Watergate scandal. Nixon named Gerald R. Ford as Agnew's successor, who eventually became vice president on December 3, 1973.

The Watergate scandal (1972-1974)


·       On January 8, 1973, seven men went on trial in the U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., charged with conspiracy, burglary, and violation of federal wire-tapping laws. Five of the men had been arrested in the Democratic party headquarters, among them James W. McCord Jr., security coordinator (at the time of his arrest) for the Committee for the Re-election of the President.

·       Nixon's attempts to cover up the crimes committed by his employees not only earned him the nickname 'Tricky Dick', but became a major part of the scandal and led to a move for his impeachment. On March 20, McCord wrote Chief Judge John J. Sirica a letter in which he asserted that the defendants had been under 'political pressure' to remain silent and that perjury had been committed.

·       Hearings began before the House Judiciary Committee in October 1973. Nixon defied subpoenas (legal requests) that he turn over his secret tape recordings of conversations in his White House offices, which were regarded as crucial evidence in the trial.

·       So in July 1974, the committee recommended three articles of impeachment against Richard M. Nixon - obstructing justice, abusing presidential powers, and disobeying subpoenas.

·       Nixon finally released records of his tapes on August 5. The taped conversations showed that the President had approved a cover-up six days after the Watergate burglary.

·       As a result of this evidence, he faced almost certain impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal from office by the Senate.

·       On August 9, Nixon resigned. Ford was sworn in as president. On September 8, Ford granted Nixon a pardon for all federal crimes that he may have committed while serving as president.



·       The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 14 (1992)

·       Collier's Encyclopedia, Volume 17 (1971!)

·       The American Peoples Encyclopedia, Volume 13 (1966!)

·       The American Peoples Encyclopedia Year Book, Events of 1973 (1974)

· (Mar 15, 2000)

· (Mar 15, 2000)

· (Mar 15, 2000)

· (Mar 15, 2000)

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