Richard Nixon

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Richard Nixon;

Thirty-seventh President of the United States

Born January 9, 1913
Died April 22, 1994
Term 1969-1974

Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States of America, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was the 36th Vice President of the United States of America from 1953 to 1961, in the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a Congressman from California, he investigated Communists and instigated the successful prosecution of Alger Hiss. Nixon served as Vice President under President Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961, and lost his first presidential race to John F. Kennedy by a tiny margin. In 1968 he was elected president, and was reelected in 1972 by a landslide, but resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974 due to a threat of impeachment by Congress for the Watergate scandal. The main impeachment charge was that Nixon obstructed justice by telling employees to mislead FBI investigators about the Watergate burglary.


Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California, on January 9, 1913. Soon after, his family moved to Whittier, California. Nixon's childhood years were not unusual for someone growing up in two small towns near Los Angeles. His parents, Frank and Hannah Nixon, were Quakers and Nixon also saw two of his brothers dies from tuberculosis. Because his father wasn't a successful business man, Nixon grew up relatively poor. But due to these hard times, he established a quality of determination and hard work. A good student and a hard worker, Nixon excelled scholastically at both Whittier High School and Whittier College.


Nixon attended Fullerton High School, from 1926 to 1928, in Fullerton, California, and later, Whittier High School, from 1928 to 1930, in Whittier, California.

He graduated second in his class from Whittier with honor is the study of Shakespeare and Latin. He was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Harvard University, but declined due to the fact that he could not afford the tuition. He instead enrolled at Whittier College, a local Quaker school, where he co-founded the Orthogonian Society, a new fraternity to the campus. At Whittier, Nixon, a formidable debater, was elected student-body president. While at Whittier, he taught Sunday school at East Whittier Friends Church and remained a member all his life.

A lifelong football fan, Nixon practiced with the team, but played little. In 1934, he graduated second in his class from Whittier, and went on to Duke University School of Law, where he received a full scholarship and graduated third in his class.

Military Service

During World War II, Nixon served in the Navy as a reserve officer. He received his training at Quonset Point, Rhode Island and Ottumwa, Iowa, before serving in the supply corps on several islands in the South Pacific, commanding cargo handling units in the SCAT. There he was known as "Nick" and for his exceptional poker-playing skills, banking a large sum of money that helped finance his first campaign for Congress.


President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was the first President to visit the People's Republic of China. He appointed a conservative (William Rehnquist), two moderates (Warren Burger and Lewis Powell) and a liberal (Harry Blackmun) to the U.S. Supreme Court. Nixon was from a Quaker family. His foreign policy as president was marked by détente with the Soviet Union and the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. His centrist domestic policies combined conservative rhetoric and liberal action in civil rights, environmental and economic initiatives. Nixon considered himself to be a Keynesian, that is, his economic views were shaped by economist John Maynard Keynes. [1] As a result of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned the presidency in the face of likely impeachment by the United States House of Representatives. His successor, Gerald Ford, issued a controversial pardon that allowed Nixon to avoid prosecution. Speaking in later life, Ford stated that he felt the pardon was needed to stop a terrible rift developing in American social life.

Watergate Affair/Scandal

The event that ended the Nixon presidency began on June 17, 1972, when five men, all employees of Nixon's reelection campaign, were caught breaking into rival Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC. The intruders and two other accomplices were convicted of burglary and wiretapping in Jan. 1973. The Watergate affair ultimately caused Nixon to resign on 9 August 1974. Nixon had no prior knowledge of a plan to burglarize Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate hotel, yet his loyalty to subordinates led Nixon to approve to cover up activities and transferring money from the Presidential election campaign fund to pay the legal expenses of convicted burglarers. Former White House Counsel John Dean testified to a Congressional investigating committee of Nixon's involvement in the cover-up.

The Congressional hearings revealed Nixon had tape recorded conversations and telephone calls in his office. The president, citing Executive Privilege, refused to turn the tapes over to the committee. In Oct. 1973 Nixon ordered Elliot Richardson, the attorney general, to fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who had subpoenaed the tapes, but Richardson resign in protest. Richardson's assistant, William Ruckelshaus, also refused to fire Cox and was fired by Nixon. Finally, Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox. The incident, which was trumped in the press as the "Saturday Night Massacre," although nobody had been killed, led to widespread calls for Nixon's impeachment.

The White House released edited transcripts of the tapes in April 1974, and eventually the tapes themselves, after the Supreme Court rejected Nixon's claim to executive privilege. The House Judiciary Committee issued three articles of impeachment on July 30, 1974. The document also indicted Nixon for illegal wiretapping, misuse of the CIA, perjury, bribery, obstruction of justice, and other abuses of executive power.[Citation Needed]

"In all of this," the articles of impeachment summarize, "Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States." After conferring with Republican Seantors Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. Nixon was succeeded in office the same day by Vice President Gerald R. Ford, who a month later issued a full pardon to Nixon.


  • Victory Without War, New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1989.
  • Beyond Peace, New York, NY: Random House, 1994.
  • Four Great Americans: Tributes Delivered by President Richard Nixon. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1973.
  • In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal, New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  • Leaders New York, NY: Warner Books, 1982.
  • Nixon in Retrospect, 1946-1962: Selected Quotations. Silver Spring, MD: Research Data Publishers, 1973.
  • No More Vietnams, New York, NY: Arbor House, 1985.
  • Real Peace. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  • RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  • Seize the Moment: America’s Challenge in a One- SuperpowerWorld. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
  • Setting the Course; The First Year, New York, NY: Funk & Wagnalls, 1970.
  • Six Crises. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.
  • Summons to Greatness: A Collage of Inspirational Though and Practical Ideas from the Messages and Addresses of Richard Nixon, Thirty-:Seventh President of the United States, Washington, D.C.: Friends of President Nixon, 1972.
  • The Real War, New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1980.

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