Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

Overview
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda
Yorba Linda, California
Yorba Linda is a suburban city in northeastern Orange County, California, approximately northeast of Downtown Santa Ana, and southeast of Downtown Los Angeles....

, California.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Richard Nixon'
Start a new discussion about 'Richard Nixon'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Timeline

1952   Richard Nixon makes his "Checkers speech".

1958   During a visit to Caracas, Venezuela, Vice President Richard Nixon's car is attacked by anti-American demonstrators.

1959   At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a "Kitchen Debate".

1968   United States presidential election, 1968: Republican Richard Nixon wins the American presidency, in what turned out to be a decades-long realignment election.

1969   Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard Nixon declares the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States now expects its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense. This is the start of the "Vietnamization" of the war.

1969   The ''Apollo 11'' astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker-tape parade in New York. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, they are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Richard Nixon.

1969   U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agree in Washington, D.C. on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. is to retain its rights to bases on the island, but these are to be nuclear-free.

1970   President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General's warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertisements on television and radio in the United States, starting on January 1, 1971.

1970   Protests erupt in Seattle, Washington, following the announcement by U.S. President Richard Nixon that U.S. Forces in Vietnam would pursue enemy troops into Cambodia, a neutral country.

1970   President Richard Nixon appoints Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington the first female United States Army Generals.

 
Quotations

Sock it to me?

Cameo appearance on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In|Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (16 September 1968)

The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.

Inaugural address (20 January 1969); later used as Nixon's epitaph.
Encyclopedia
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda
Yorba Linda, California
Yorba Linda is a suburban city in northeastern Orange County, California, approximately northeast of Downtown Santa Ana, and southeast of Downtown Los Angeles....

, California. After completing his undergraduate work at Whittier College
Whittier College
Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California. As of January 2009, the college has approximately 1540 enrolled students.-Overview:...

, he graduated from Duke University School of Law
Duke University School of Law
The Duke University School of Law is the law school and a constituent academic unit of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States. One of Duke's 10 schools and colleges, the School of Law began as the Trinity College School of Law in 1868. In 1924, following the renaming of Trinity...

 in 1937 and returned to California to practice law. He and his wife, Pat Nixon
Pat Nixon
Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon was the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and was First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. She was commonly known as Patricia or Pat Nixon.Born in Nevada, Pat Ryan grew up in Los Angeles, California...

, moved to Washington to work for the federal government in 1942. He subsequently joined the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 in 1946
California's 12th congressional district election, 1946
An election for a seat in the United States House of Representatives took place in California's 12th congressional district on November 5, 1946, the date set by law for the elections for the 80th United States Congress...

 and to the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 1950
United States Senate election in California, 1950
The 1950 United States Senate election in California followed a campaign characterized by accusations and name-calling. Republican Richard Nixon defeated Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas, after Democratic incumbent Sheridan Downey withdrew during the primary election campaign...

. His pursuit of the Hiss Case
Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official...

 established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

 of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

, the first of five national nominations he received from his party, a record he shares with Franklin Roosevelt. Nixon served for eight years as vice president
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

, traveling extensively and undertaking major assignments from Eisenhower. Nixon waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, and lost a race for Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 in 1962
California gubernatorial election, 1962
The California gubernatorial election, 1962 was held on November 6, 1962. The Democratic incumbent, Pat Brown, ran for re-election against former Vice President Richard Nixon...

. Following these defeats, he announced his withdrawal from political life. However, in 1968 he ran again for the presidency and was elected
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

.

American involvement in Vietnam was widely unpopular; although Nixon initially escalated the war there, he subsequently moved to end US involvement, completely withdrawing American forces by 1973. Nixon's ground-breaking visit
1972 Nixon visit to China
U.S. President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. It marked the first time a U.S. president had visited the PRC, who at that time considered the U.S. one...

 to the People's Republic of China in 1972 opened diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he initiated détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons....

 with the Soviet Union the same year. In domestic policy, his administration generally sought to transfer power from Washington to the states. In an attempt to slow inflation, Nixon imposed wage and price controls. He enforced desegregation of Southern schools and established the Environmental Protection Agency. Though he presided over Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

, the culmination of the project to land a person on the moon, he scaled back manned space exploration. He was reelected by a landslide
United States presidential election, 1972
The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard...

 in 1972.

Nixon's second term was marked by crisis: 1973 saw an Arab oil embargo
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 as a result of U.S. support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

 and a continuing series of revelations about the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

, which began as a break-in at a Washington office. The scandal escalated despite efforts by the Nixon administration to cover it up, costing Nixon much of his political support, and on August 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 and removal from office. After his resignation, he was controversially issued a pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

. In retirement, Nixon's work authoring several books and undertaking many foreign trips helped to rehabilitate his image. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later
Death and funeral of Richard Nixon
On April 22, 1994, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, died after suffering a stroke four days earlier. His public funeral followed five days later at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in his hometown of Yorba Linda, California...

 at the age of 81. Nixon remains a source of considerable interest among historians, as they struggle to resolve the enigma of a president of great ability who left office in disgrace yet subsequently reinvented himself as an elder statesman.

Early life


Nixon was born to Francis A. Nixon
Francis A. Nixon
Francis Anthony "Frank" Nixon was an American businessman and the father of U.S. President Richard Nixon....

 and Hannah Milhous Nixon
Hannah Milhous Nixon
Hannah Milhous Nixon was the mother of President Richard Nixon.She was born near Butlerville, Indiana, the daughter of Almira Park , who was from Columbiana County, Ohio, and Franklin Milhous, a native of Colerain Township, Belmont County, Ohio. She was married to Francis A...

 on January 9, 1913, in a house his father built in Yorba Linda, California. His mother was a Quaker
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

 (his father converted from Methodism
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 after his marriage), and his upbringing was marked by conservative Quaker observances of the time, such as refraining from alcohol, dancing, and swearing. Nixon had four brothers: Harold
Harold Nixon
Harold Samuel Nixon was a brother of United States President Richard Nixon, the eldest of five children:*Harold Nixon*Richard Nixon *Donald Nixon...

 (1909–33), Donald
Donald Nixon
Francis Donald Nixon was a brother of United States President, Richard Nixon.He was the third of five children:*Harold Nixon *Richard Nixon *Donald Nixon...

 (1914–87), Arthur
Arthur Nixon
Arthur Burdg Nixon was a brother of President Richard Nixon.He was the fourth of five children:*Harold Nixon *Richard Nixon...

 (1918–25), and Edward
Edward Nixon
Edward Calvert Nixon is an American entrepreneur and the youngest and last surviving brother of former United States President Richard Nixon. He coauthored his memoir, The Nixons: A Family Portrait, with Karen L. Olson. The book was published in 2009.-Early life:Born in Whittier, California,...

 (born 1930). Four of the five Nixon boys were named after kings who had ruled in historical or legendary England; Richard, for example, was named after Richard the Lionheart
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

.
Nixon's early life was marked by hardship, and he later quoted a saying of Eisenhower to describe his boyhood: "We were poor, but the glory of it was, we didn't know it." The Nixon family ranch failed in 1922, and the family moved to Whittier
Whittier, California
Whittier is a city in Los Angeles County, California about southeast of Los Angeles. The city had a population of 85,331 at the 2010 census, up from 83,680 as of the 2000 census, and encompasses 14.7 square miles . Like nearby Montebello, the city constitutes part of the Gateway Cities...

, California. In an area with many Quakers, Frank Nixon opened a grocery store and gas station. Richard's younger brother Arthur died in 1925 after a short illness. At the age of twelve, Richard was found to have a spot on his lung, and with a family history of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, he was forbidden to play sports. Eventually, the spot was found to be scar tissue from an early bout of pneumonia. Young Richard attended East Whittier Elementary School, where he was president of his eighth-grade class.

Frank and Hannah Nixon believed that attendance at Whittier High School had caused Richard's older brother Harold to live a dissolute lifestyle before the older boy fell ill of tuberculosis (he died of the disease in 1933). Instead, they sent Richard to the larger Fullerton High School
Fullerton High School, California
Fullerton Union High School is a public high school located in the Orange County, California city of Fullerton, United States operated by the Fullerton Joint Union High School District.-History:...

. He received excellent grades, even though he had to ride a school bus for an hour each way during his freshman year—later, he lived with an aunt in Fullerton
Fullerton, California
Fullerton is a city located in northern Orange County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 135,161.It was founded in 1887 by George and Edward Amerige and named for George H. Fullerton, who secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway...

 during the week. He played junior varsity football, and rarely missed a practice, even though he was rarely used in games. He had greater success as a debater, winning a number of championships and taking his only formal tutelage in public speaking from Fullerton's Head of English, H. Lynn Sheller. Nixon later remembered Sheller's words, "Remember, speaking is conversation ... don't shout at people. Talk to them. Converse with them." Nixon stated that he tried to use the conversational tone as much as possible.

Nixon's parents permitted him to transfer to Whittier High School for his junior year, beginning in September 1928. At Whittier High, Nixon suffered his first electoral defeat, for student body president. He generally rose at 4 a.m., to drive the family truck into Los Angeles and purchase vegetables at the market. He then drove to the store to wash and display them, before going to school. Harold had been diagnosed with tuberculosis the previous year; when Hannah Nixon took him to Arizona in the hopes of improving his health, the demands on Richard increased, causing him to give up football. Nevertheless Nixon graduated from Whittier High third in his class of 207 students.

Nixon was offered a tuition grant to attend Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, but Harold's continued illness and the need for Hannah Nixon to care for him meant Richard was needed at the store. He remained in his hometown and attended Whittier College
Whittier College
Whittier College is a private liberal arts college in Whittier, California. As of January 2009, the college has approximately 1540 enrolled students.-Overview:...

, his expenses there covered by a bequest from his maternal grandfather. Instead of fraternities and sororities, Whittier had literary societies. Nixon was snubbed by the only one for men, the Franklins; many members of the Franklins were from prominent families but Nixon was not. He responded by helping to found a new society, the Orthogonian Society. In addition to the society, schoolwork, and work at the store, Nixon found time for a large number of extracurricular activities, becoming a champion debater and gaining a reputation as a hard worker. In 1933, he became engaged to Ola Florence Welch, daughter of the Whittier police chief; the two broke up in 1935.

After his graduation from Whittier in 1934, Nixon received a full scholarship to attend Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

 School of Law
Duke University School of Law
The Duke University School of Law is the law school and a constituent academic unit of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States. One of Duke's 10 schools and colleges, the School of Law began as the Trinity College School of Law in 1868. In 1924, following the renaming of Trinity...

. The school was new and sought to attract top students by offering scholarships. It paid high salaries to its professors, many of whom had national or international reputations. The number of scholarships was greatly reduced for second and third year students, forcing recipients into intense competition. Nixon not only kept his scholarship but was elected president of the Duke Bar Association and graduated third in his class in June 1937. He later wrote of his alma mater: "I always remember that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future, Duke University is responsible in one way or another."

Early career, marriage and war service


After graduating from Duke, Nixon initially hoped to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

. He received no response to his letter of application and only learned years later that he had been hired, but his appointment had been canceled at the last minute due to budget cuts. Instead, he returned to California and was admitted to the bar
State Bar of California
The State Bar of California is California's official bar association. It is responsible for managing the admission of lawyers to the practice of law, investigating complaints of professional misconduct, and prescribing appropriate discipline...

 in 1937. He began practicing with the law firm Wingert and Bewley in Whittier, working on commercial litigation
Commercial law
Commercial law is the body of law that governs business and commercial transactions...

 for local petroleum companies and other corporate matters, as well as on wills
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

. In later years, Nixon proudly stated that he was the only modern president to work as a practicing attorney. Nixon was reluctant to work on divorce cases, disliking frank sexual talk from women. In 1938, he opened up his own branch of Wingert and Bewley in La Habra
La Habra, California
La Habra is a city in the northwestern corner of Orange County, California. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 60,239. Its related city, La Habra Heights is located to the north of La Habra, and is in Los Angeles County.-Origin of name:...

, California, and became a full partner in the firm the following year.

In January 1938, Nixon was cast in the Whittier Community Players production of The Dark Tower
The Dark Tower (play)
The Dark Tower is a mystery drama by George S. Kaufman and Alexander Woollcott, first produced in 1933.The play was later adapted for the Warner Brothers film The Man With Two Faces starring Mary Astor, Louis Calhern, and Edward G. Robinson....

. There he played opposite a high school teacher named Thelma "Pat" Ryan
Pat Nixon
Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon was the wife of Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, and was First Lady of the United States from 1969 to 1974. She was commonly known as Patricia or Pat Nixon.Born in Nevada, Pat Ryan grew up in Los Angeles, California...

. Nixon described it in his memoirs as "a case of love at first sight"—for Nixon only, as Pat Ryan turned down the young lawyer several times before agreeing to date him. Once they began their courtship, Ryan was reluctant to marry Nixon; the relationship dragged on two years before she assented to his proposal. They wed at a small ceremony on June 21, 1940. After a honeymoon in Mexico, the Nixons began their married life in Whittier. They had two children, Tricia (born 1946) and Julie (born 1948).

In January 1942, the couple moved to Washington, D.C., where Nixon took a job at the Office of Price Administration
Office of Price Administration
The Office of Price Administration was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. The functions of the OPA was originally to control money and rents after the outbreak of World War II.President Franklin D...

. In his political campaigns, Nixon would suggest that this was his response to Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

, but he had sought the position throughout the latter part of 1941. Both Nixon and his wife believed he was limiting his prospects by remaining in Whittier. He was assigned to the tire rationing division, where he was tasked with replying to correspondence. He did not enjoy the role, and four months later, applied to join the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. As a birthright Quaker, he could have claimed exemption from the draft
Conscription in the United States
Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

, and deferments were routinely granted for those in government service. His application was successful, and he was inducted into the Navy in August 1942.

Nixon completed Officers Candidate School and was commissioned as an ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

 in October 1942. His first post was as aide to the commander of the Ottumwa Naval Air Station in Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

. Seeking more excitement, he requested sea duty and was reassigned as the naval passenger control officer for the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command
South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command
South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command was a joint command of US military logistics units in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. It contributed notably to the success of U.S...

, supporting the logistics
Military logistics
Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with:...

 of operations in the South West Pacific theater
South West Pacific theatre of World War II
The South West Pacific Theatre, technically the South West Pacific Area, between 1942 and 1945, was one of two designated area commands and war theatres enumerated by the Combined Chiefs of Staff of World War II in the Pacific region....

. After requesting more challenging duties, he was given command of cargo handling units. Nixon earned two service star
Service star
A service star, also referred to as a battle star, campaign star, or engagement star, is an attachment to a United States military decoration which denotes participation in military campaigns or multiple bestowals of the same award. Service stars are typically issued for campaign medals, service...

s and a citation of commendation, although he saw no actual combat. Upon his return to the US, Nixon was appointed the administrative officer of the Alameda Naval Air Station in California. In January 1945, he was transferred to the Bureau of Aeronautics
Bureau of Aeronautics
The Bureau of Aeronautics was the U.S. Navy's material-support organization for Naval Aviation from 1921 to 1959. The bureau had "cognizance" for the design, procurement, and support of Naval aircraft and related systems...

 office in Philadelphia to help negotiate the termination of war contracts, and he received another letter of commendation for his work there. Later, Nixon was transferred to other offices to work on contracts and finally to Baltimore. In October 1945, he was promoted to lieutenant commander
Lieutenant commander (United States)
Lieutenant commander is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3...

. He resigned his commission on New Year's Day 1946.

Rising politician



Congressional career



In 1945, Republicans in California's 12th congressional district
California's 12th congressional district
California's 12th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California that spans from the southwestern portions of San Francisco in the north down to San Mateo in the south, and from Moss Beach in the west to the edge of San Mateo in the east, where it borders...

, frustrated by their inability to defeat Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhis
Jerry Voorhis
Horace Jeremiah "Jerry" Voorhis was a Democratic politician from California. He served five terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1937 to 1947, representing the 12th Congressional district in Los Angeles County...

, sought a consensus candidate who would run a strong campaign against him. They formed a "Committee of 100" to decide on a candidate, hoping to avoid internal dissensions which had led to Voorhis victories. After the committee failed to attract higher-profile candidates, Herman Perry, Whittier's Bank of America
Bank of America
Bank of America Corporation, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by market capitalization. The bank is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina...

 branch manager, suggested Nixon, a family friend with whom he had served on the Whittier College Board of Trustees before the war. Perry wrote to Nixon in Baltimore. After a night of excited talk between the Nixons, the naval officer responded to Perry with enthusiasm. Nixon flew to California and was selected by the committee. When he left the Navy at the start of 1946, Nixon and his wife returned to Whittier, where Nixon began a year of intensive campaigning. He contended that Voorhis had been ineffective as a congressman and suggested that Voorhis's endorsement by a group linked to communists meant that Voorhis must have radical views. Nixon won the election, receiving 65,586 votes to Voorhis' 49,994.

In Congress, Nixon supported the Taft–Hartley Act of 1947 and served on the Education and Labor Committee. He was part of the Herter Committee, which went to Europe to report on the need for US foreign aid. Nixon was the youngest member of the committee, and the only Westerner. Advocacy by Herter Committee members, including Nixon, led to congressional passage of the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

.


Nixon first gained national attention in 1948 when his investigation, as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee
House Un-American Activities Committee
The House Committee on Un-American Activities or House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"...

 (HUAC), broke the Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official...

 spy case. While many doubted Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers was born Jay Vivian Chambers and also known as David Whittaker Chambers , was an American writer and editor. After being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent later testifying in the perjury and espionage trial...

' allegations that Hiss, a former State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 official, had been a Soviet spy, Nixon believed them to be true. He discovered that Chambers saved microfilm
Microform
Microforms are any forms, either films or paper, containing microreproductions of documents for transmission, storage, reading, and printing. Microform images are commonly reduced to about one twenty-fifth of the original document size...

 reproductions of incriminating documents by hiding the film in a pumpkin. Hiss was convicted of perjury
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

 in 1950 for denying under oath he had passed documents to Chambers. In 1948, Nixon successfully cross-filed
Cross-filing
In American politics, cross-filing occurs when a candidate runs in the primary election of not only his own party, but also that of one or more other parties, generally in the hope of reducing or eliminating his competition at the general election...

 as a candidate in his district, winning both major party primaries, and was comfortably reelected.

In 1949, Nixon began to consider running for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 against the Democratic incumbent, Sheridan Downey
Sheridan Downey
Sheridan Downey was a lawyer and a Democratic U.S. Senator from California from 1939 to 1950.-Early life:...

, and entered the race in November of that year. Downey, faced with a bitter primary battle with Representative Helen Gahagan Douglas, announced his retirement in March 1950. Nixon and Douglas won the primary elections and engaged in a contentious campaign in which the ongoing Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 was a major issue. Nixon tried to focus attention on Douglas' liberal voting record. As part of that effort, a "Pink Sheet" was distributed by the Nixon campaign suggesting that, as Douglas' voting record was similar to that of New York Congressman Vito Marcantonio
Vito Marcantonio
Vito Anthony Marcantonio was an American lawyer and democratic socialist politician. Originally a member of the Republican Party and a supporter of Fiorello LaGuardia, he switched to the American Labor Party.-Early life:...

 (believed by some to be a communist), their political views must be nearly identical. Nixon won the election by almost twenty percentage points.

In the Senate, Nixon took a prominent position in opposing global communism, traveling frequently and speaking out against "the threat". He maintained friendly relations with his fellow anti-communist, the controversial Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 senator, Joseph McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

, but was careful to keep some distance between himself and McCarthy's allegations. Nixon also criticized President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

's handling of the Korean War. He supported statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, voted in favor of civil rights for minorities, and supported federal disaster relief for India and Yugoslavia. He voted against price controls and other monetary restrictions, benefits for illegal immigrants, and public power.

1952 campaign; vice president



General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 was nominated for president by the Republicans in 1952. He had no strong preference for a vice presidential candidate, and Republican officeholders and party officials met in a "smoke-filled room
Smoke-filled room
In U.S. political slang, a smoke-filled room is a term for a secret political gathering or round table style decision-making process. The phrase is generally used to suggest a cabal of powerful or well-connected, cigar-smoking men such as the Bilderberg group meeting privately to nominate a dark...

" and recommended Nixon to the general, who agreed to the senator's selection. Nixon's youth (he was then 39), stance against communism, and his political base in California—one of the largest states—were all seen as vote-winners by the leaders. Among the candidates considered along with Nixon were Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 Senator Robert Taft
Robert Taft
Robert Alphonso Taft , of the Taft political family of Cincinnati, was a Republican United States Senator and a prominent conservative statesman...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 Governor Alfred Driscoll and Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 Senator Everett Dirksen
Everett Dirksen
Everett McKinley Dirksen was an American politician of the Republican Party. He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate...

. On the campaign trail, Eisenhower spoke to his plans for the country, leaving the negative campaigning
Negative campaigning
Negative campaigning, also known more colloquially as "mudslinging", is trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy rather than emphasizing one's own positive attributes or preferred policies...

 to his running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

.

In mid-September, the media reported that Nixon had a political fund, maintained by his backers, which reimbursed him for political expenses. Such a fund was not illegal, but it exposed Nixon to allegations of possible conflict of interest. With pressure building for Eisenhower to demand Nixon's resignation from the ticket, the senator went on television to deliver an address to the nation on September 23, 1952. The address, later termed the Checkers speech
Checkers speech
The Checkers speech or Fund speech was an address made by Richard Nixon, the Republican vice presidential candidate and junior United States Senator from California, on television and radio on September 23, 1952. Senator Nixon had been accused of improprieties relating to a fund established by his...

, was heard by about 60 million Americans—including the largest television audience up to that point. Nixon emotionally defended himself, stating that the fund was not secret, nor had donors received special favors. He painted himself as a man of modest means (his wife had no mink coat; instead she wore a "respectable Republican cloth coat") and a patriot. The speech would be remembered for the gift which Nixon had received, but which he would not give back: "a little cocker spaniel dog ... sent all the way from Texas. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers." The speech was a masterpiece of rhetoric and prompted a huge public outpouring of support for candidate Nixon. Eisenhower decided to retain him on the ticket, which proved victorious in the November election
United States presidential election, 1952
The United States presidential election of 1952 took place in an era when Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union was escalating rapidly. In the United States Senate, Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin had become a national figure after chairing congressional...

.

Eisenhower had pledged to give Nixon responsibilities during his term as vice president that would enable him to be effective from the start as a successor. Nixon attended Cabinet
United States Cabinet
The Cabinet of the United States is composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States, which are generally the heads of the federal executive departments...

 and National Security Council meetings and chaired them when Eisenhower was absent. A 1953 tour of the Far East succeeded in increasing local goodwill toward the United States and prompted Nixon to appreciate the potential of the region as an industrial center. He visited Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 and Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 in French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

. On his return to the United States at the end of 1953, Nixon increased the amount of time he devoted to foreign relations.

Biographer Irwin Gellman, who chronicled Nixon's congressional years, said of his vice presidency:

Eisenhower radically altered the role of his running mate by presenting him with critical assignments in both foreign and domestic affairs once he assumed his office. The vice president welcomed the president's initiatives and worked energetically to accomplish White House objectives. Because of the collaboration between these two leaders, Nixon deserves the title, "the first modern vice president".


Despite intense campaigning by Nixon, who reprised his strong attacks on the Democrats, the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in the 1954 elections. These losses caused Nixon to contemplate leaving politics once he had served out his term. On September 24, 1955, President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack; his condition was initially believed to be life-threatening. Eisenhower was unable to perform his duties for six weeks. The 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution had not yet been proposed, and the Vice President had no formal power to act. During this time, however, Nixon acted in Eisenhower's stead, presiding over Cabinet meetings and ensuring that aides and Cabinet officers did not seek power. According to Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a long time professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history...

, Nixon had "earned the high praise he received for his conduct during the crisis ... he made no attempt to seize power".

His spirits buoyed, Nixon sought a second term, but some of Eisenhower's aides aimed to displace him. In a December 1955 meeting, Eisenhower proposed that Nixon not run for reelection in order to give him administrative experience before a 1960 presidential run and instead become a Cabinet officer in a second Eisenhower administration. Nixon, however, believed such an action would destroy his political career. When Eisenhower announced his reelection bid in February 1956, he hedged on the choice of his running mate, stating that it was improper to address that question until he had been renominated. Although no Republican was opposing Eisenhower, Nixon received a substantial number of write-in votes against the President in the 1956 New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

 election. In late April, the President announced that Nixon would again be his running mate. Eisenhower and Nixon were reelected by a comfortable margin in the November 1956 election
United States presidential election, 1956
The United States presidential election of 1956 saw a popular Dwight D. Eisenhower successfully run for re-election. The 1956 election was a rematch of 1952, as Eisenhower's opponent in 1956 was Democrat Adlai Stevenson, whom Eisenhower had defeated four years earlier.Incumbent President Eisenhower...

.
In the spring of 1957, Nixon undertook another major foreign trip, this time to Africa. On his return, he helped shepherd the Civil Rights Act of 1957
Civil Rights Act of 1957
The Civil Rights Act of 1957, , primarily a voting rights bill, was the first civil rights legislation enacted by Congress in the United States since Reconstruction following the American Civil War.Following the historic US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v...

 through Congress. The bill was weakened in the Senate, and civil rights leaders were divided over whether Eisenhower should sign it. Nixon advised the President to sign the bill, which he did. Eisenhower suffered a mild stroke in November 1957, and Nixon gave a press conference, assuring the nation that the Cabinet was functioning well as a team during Eisenhower's brief illness.

On April 27, 1958, Richard and Pat Nixon embarked on a goodwill tour of South America. In Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, Uruguay, Nixon made an impromptu visit to a college campus, where he fielded questions from students on US foreign policy. The trip was uneventful until the Nixon party reached Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

, Peru, where he was met with student demonstrations. Nixon went to the campus, got out of his car to confront the students, and stayed until forced back into the car by a volley of thrown objects. At his hotel, Nixon faced another mob, and one demonstrator spat on him. In Caracas, Nixon and his wife were spat on by anti-American demonstrators and their limousine was attacked by a pipe-wielding mob. According to Ambrose, Nixon's courageous conduct "caused even some of his bitterest enemies to give him some grudging respect".

In July 1959, President Eisenhower sent Nixon to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 for the opening of the American National Exhibition
American National Exhibition
The American National Exhibition was held in Sokol'niki Park, Moscow in the summer of 1959.-Objectives:The exhibit was sponsored by the American government, and it followed a similar Soviet Exhibit in New York City earlier that year...

 in Moscow. On July 24, while touring the exhibits with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

, the two stopped at a model of an American kitchen and engaged in an impromptu exchange about the merits of capitalism versus communism that became known as the "Kitchen Debate
Kitchen Debate
The Kitchen Debate was a series of impromptu exchanges between then U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the opening of the American National Exhibition at Sokolniki Park in Moscow on July 24, 1959. For the exhibition, an entire house was built that the...

".

1960 and 1962 elections; wilderness years



In 1960, Nixon launched his first campaign for President of the United States. He faced little opposition in the Republican primaries and chose former Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was a Republican United States Senator from Massachusetts and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, South Vietnam, West Germany, and the Holy See . He was the Republican nominee for Vice President in the 1960 Presidential election.-Early life:Lodge was born in Nahant,...

 as his running mate. His Democratic opponent was John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, and the race remained close for the duration. Nixon campaigned on his experience, but Kennedy called for new blood and claimed the Eisenhower–Nixon administration had allowed the Soviet Union to overtake the US in ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s (the "missile gap
Missile gap
The missile gap was the term used in the United States for the perceived disparity between the number and power of the weapons in the U.S.S.R. and U.S. ballistic missile arsenals during the Cold War. The gap only existed in exaggerated estimates made by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and United...

"). A new political medium was introduced in the campaign: televised presidential debates
United States presidential election debates
During presidential elections in the United States, it has become customary for the main candidates to engage in a debate...

. In the first of four such debates, Nixon appeared pale, with a five o'clock shadow
Five O'Clock Shadow
Five O'Clock Shadow is an a cappella group from Boston, Massachusetts, that has been in existence since 1991. The band has performed on FOX News, A&E Network, ABC, ESPN and VH-1's "breakthrough" series. They have released 4 cassettes and 5 CDs, winning many Contemporary A cappella Recording...

, in contrast to the photogenic Kennedy. Nixon's performance in the debate was perceived to be mediocre in the visual medium of television, though many people listening on the radio thought that Nixon had won. Nixon lost the election narrowly, with Kennedy ahead by only 120,000 votes (0.2 percent) in the popular vote.
There were charges of vote fraud in Texas and Illinois, both states won by Kennedy; Nixon refused however to consider contesting the election, feeling a lengthy election contest would diminish the United States in the eyes of the world, and the uncertainty would hurt US interests. At the end of his term of office as vice president in January 1961, Nixon and his family returned to California, where he practiced law and wrote a bestselling book, Six Crises
Six Crises
Six Crises is the first book written by Richard Nixon, who later became the thirty-seventh president of the United States. It was published in 1962, and it recounts his role in six major political situations.-The Alger Hiss case:...

, which included coverage of the Hiss case, Eisenhower's heart attack, and the Fund Crisis, which had been resolved by the Checkers speech.

Local and national Republican leaders encouraged Nixon to challenge incumbent Pat Brown
Pat Brown
Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. was the 32nd Governor of California, serving from 1959 to 1967, and the father of current Governor of California Jerry Brown.-Background:...

 for Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 in the 1962 election
California gubernatorial election, 1962
The California gubernatorial election, 1962 was held on November 6, 1962. The Democratic incumbent, Pat Brown, ran for re-election against former Vice President Richard Nixon...

. Despite initial reluctance, Nixon entered the race. The campaign was clouded by public suspicion that Nixon viewed the office as a stepping-stone for another presidential run, some opposition from the far-right of the party, and his own lack of interest in being California's governor. Nixon hoped that a successful run would confirm him in his status as the nation's leading active Republican politician, and ensure he remained a major player in national politics. Instead, he lost to Brown by nearly 300,000 votes, and the defeat was widely believed to be the end of his political career. In an impromptu concession speech the morning after the election, Nixon blamed the media for favoring his opponent, saying, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference". The California defeat was highlighted in the November 11, 1962, episode of ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

's Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
Howard K. Smith: News and Comment
Howard K. Smith: News and Comment was a half-hour ABC news and documentary program hosted by commentator Howard K. Smith , which aired from February 14, 1962, to June 16, 1963...

entitled "The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon". Alger Hiss appeared on the program, and many members of the public complained that it was unseemly to allow a convicted felon air time to attack a former vice president. The furor drove Smith and his program from the air, and public sympathy for Nixon grew.
The Nixon family traveled to Europe in 1963, where Nixon gave press conferences and met with leaders of the countries he visited. The family moved to New York City, where Nixon became a senior partner in the leading law firm Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon was a prominent New York City law firm tracing its origin back to 1869. The firm is known best as the legal launching pad of Richard M. Nixon. For the period during which Nixon was a senior partner, the firm was renamed to Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie &...

. Nixon had pledged, when announcing his California campaign, not to run for president in 1964; even if he had not, he believed it would be difficult to defeat Kennedy, or after his assassination
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

, Kennedy's successor Lyndon Johnson. In 1964, he supported Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 Senator Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 for the Republican nomination for president; when Goldwater was successful in gaining the nomination, Nixon was selected to introduce the candidate to the convention
1964 Republican National Convention
The 1964 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States took place in the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, on July 13 to July 16, 1964. Before 1964, there had only been one national Republican convention on the West Coast...

. Although he thought Goldwater unlikely to win, Nixon campaigned for him loyally. The election
United States presidential election, 1964
The United States presidential election of 1964 was held on November 3, 1964. Incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson had come to office less than a year earlier following the assassination of his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. Johnson, who had successfully associated himself with Kennedy's...

 was a disaster for the Republicans; Goldwater's landslide loss to Johnson was matched by heavy losses for the party in Congress and among state governors.

Nixon was one of the few leading Republicans not blamed for the disastrous results, and he sought to build on that in the 1966 congressional elections. He campaigned for many Republicans seeking to regain seats lost in the Johnson landslide and received credit for helping the Republicans make major gains in the midterm election.

1968 presidential election




At the end of 1967, Nixon told his family he planned to run for president a second time. Although Pat Nixon did not always enjoy public life (for example, she had been embarrassed by the need to reveal how little the family owned in the Checkers speech), she was supportive of her husband's ambitions. Nixon believed that with the Democrats torn over the issue of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, a Republican had a good chance of winning, although he expected the election to be as close as in 1960.
One of the most tumultuous primary election
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

 seasons ever began as the Tet Offensive was launched, followed by the withdrawal of President Johnson as a candidate after doing unexpectedly poorly in the New Hampshire primary; it concluded with the assassination of one of the Democratic candidates, Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

 just moments after his victory in the California primary. On the Republican side, Nixon's main opposition was Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 Governor George Romney
George W. Romney
George Wilcken Romney was an American businessman and Republican Party politician. He was chairman and CEO of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, the 43rd Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973...

, though New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 and California Governor Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 each hoped to be nominated in a brokered convention
Brokered convention
A brokered convention is a situation in United States politics in which there are not enough delegates 'won' during the presidential primary and caucus elections for a single candidate to have a pre-existing majority, during the first official vote for a political party's presidential-candidate at...

. Nixon secured the nomination on the first ballot. He selected Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 Governor Spiro Agnew
Spiro Agnew
Spiro Theodore Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the United States , serving under President Richard Nixon, and the 55th Governor of Maryland...

 as his running mate, a choice which Nixon believed would unite the party, appealing to both Northern moderates and Southerners disaffected with the Democrats.

Nixon's Democratic opponent in the general election was Vice President Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

, who was nominated at a convention
1968 Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to...

 marked by violent protests. Throughout the campaign, Nixon portrayed himself as a figure of stability during a period of national unrest and upheaval. He appealed to what he later called the "silent majority
Silent majority
The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. The term was popularized by U.S...

" of socially conservative Americans who disliked the hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 counterculture and the anti-war
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

 demonstrators. Agnew became an increasingly vocal critic of these groups, solidifying Nixon's position with the right.

Nixon waged a prominent television advertising campaign, meeting with supporters in front of cameras. He stressed that the crime rate was too high, and attacked what he perceived as a surrender by the Democrats of the United States' nuclear superiority. Nixon promised "peace with honor
Peace With Honor
"Peace with Honor" was a phrase U.S. President Richard M. Nixon used in a speech on January 23, 1973 to describe the Paris Peace Accord to end the Vietnam War. The phrase is a variation on a campaign promise Nixon made in 1968: "I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in...

" in the Vietnam War and proclaimed that "new leadership will end the war and win the peace in the Pacific". He did not release specifics of how he hoped to end the war, resulting in media intimations that he must have a "secret plan". His slogan of "Nixon's the One" proved to be effective.

In a three-way race between Nixon, Humphrey, and independent candidate Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 Governor George Wallace
George Wallace
George Corley Wallace, Jr. was the 45th Governor of Alabama, serving four terms: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. "The most influential loser" in 20th-century U.S. politics, according to biographers Dan T. Carter and Stephan Lesher, he ran for U.S...

, Nixon defeated Humphrey by nearly 500,000 votes (seven-tenths of a percentage point), with 301 electoral votes to 191 for Humphrey and 46 for Wallace. In his victory speech, Nixon pledged that his administration would try to bring the divided nation together
Bring Us Together
"Bring Us Together" was a political slogan popularized after the election of Republican candidate Richard Nixon as United States President in 1968...

. Nixon said: "I have received a very gracious message from the Vice President, congratulating me for winning the election. I congratulated him for his gallant and courageous fight against great odds. I also told him that I know exactly how he felt. I know how it feels to lose a close one."

Presidency (1969–74)


Nixon was inaugurated
First inauguration of Richard Nixon
The first inauguration of Richard Nixon as the 37th President of the United States was held on January 20, 1969. The inauguration marked the commencement of the four-year term of Richard Nixon as President and Spiro Agnew as Vice President...

 as president
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 on January 20, 1969, sworn in by his onetime political rival, Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 Earl Warren
Earl Warren
Earl Warren was the 14th Chief Justice of the United States.He is known for the sweeping decisions of the Warren Court, which ended school segregation and transformed many areas of American law, especially regarding the rights of the accused, ending public-school-sponsored prayer, and requiring...

. Pat Nixon held the family Bibles open at Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 2:4, which reads, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks." In his inaugural address, which received almost uniformly positive reviews, Nixon remarked that "the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker"—a phrase that would later be placed on his gravestone. He spoke about turning partisan politics into a new age of unity:

In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another, until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.


Foreign policy



China




Nixon laid the groundwork for his overture to China even before he became president, writing in Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

a year before his election: "There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation." Assisting him in this venture was his National Security Advisor
National Security Advisor (United States)
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

 and future Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, with whom the President worked closely, bypassing Cabinet officials. With relations between the Soviet Union and China at a nadir—border clashes between the two took place during Nixon's first year in office—Nixon sent private word to the Chinese that he desired closer relations. A breakthrough came in early 1971, when Chairman Mao
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 invited a team of American table tennis
Table tennis
Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net...

 players to visit China and play against top Chinese players. Nixon followed up by sending Kissinger to China for clandestine meetings with Chinese officials. On July 15, 1971, it was simultaneously announced by Beijing and by Nixon (on television and radio) that the President would visit China the following February. The announcements astounded the world. The secrecy allowed both sets of leaders time to prepare the political climate in their countries for the contact.

In February 1972, Nixon and his wife traveled to China. Kissinger briefed Nixon for over 40 hours in preparation. Upon touching down, the President and First Lady emerged from Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

 and greeted Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

. Nixon made a point of shaking Zhou's hand, something which then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

 had refused to do in 1954 when the two met in Geneva. Over 100 television journalists accompanied the president. On Nixon's orders, television was strongly favored over printed publications, as Nixon felt that the medium would capture the visit much better than print. It also gave him the opportunity to snub the print journalists he despised.


Nixon and Kissinger met for an hour with Mao and Zhou at Mao's official private residence, where they discussed a range of issues. Mao later told his doctor that he had been impressed by Nixon, whom he considered forthright, unlike the leftists and the Soviets. He also said he was suspicious of Kissinger, though the National Security Advisor referred to their meeting as his "encounter with history". A formal banquet welcoming the presidential party was given that evening in the Great Hall of the People
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, People's Republic of China, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It functions as the People's Republic of China's...

. The following day, Nixon met with Zhou; the joint communique following this meeting recognized Taiwan as a part of China, and looked forward to a peaceful solution to the problem of reunification. When not in meetings, Nixon toured architectural wonders including the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

, Ming Tombs, and the Great Wall
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

. Americans received their first glimpse into Chinese life through the cameras which accompanied Pat Nixon, who toured the city of Beijing and visited communes, schools, factories, and hospitals.

The visit ushered in a new era of Sino-American relations. Fearing the possibility of a Sino-American alliance, the Soviet Union yielded to pressure for détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 with the United States.

Vietnam War


When Nixon took office, about 300 American soldiers were dying each week in Vietnam, and the war was broadly unpopular in the United States, with violent protests against the war ongoing. The Johnson administration had agreed to suspend bombing in exchange for negotiations without preconditions, but this agreement never fully took force. Nixon sought some arrangement which would permit American forces to withdraw, while leaving South Vietnam secure against attack.
Nixon approved a secret bombing campaign of North Vietnamese positions in Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 in March 1969 (code-named Operation Menu
Operation Menu
Operation Menu was the codename of a covert United States Strategic Air Command bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia and Laos from 18 March 1969 until 26 May 1970, during the Vietnam War...

) to destroy what was believed to be the headquarters of the Viet Cong. In mid-1969, Nixon began efforts to negotiate peace with the North Vietnamese, sending a personal letter to North Vietnamese leaders, and peace talks began in Paris. Initial talks, however, did not result in an agreement. In July 1969, Nixon visited South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, where he met with his US military commanders and President Nguyen Van Thieu
Nguyen Van Thieu
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam , became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a fraudulent election...

. Amid protests at home demanding an immediate pullout, he implemented a strategy of replacing American troops with Vietnamese troops
Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam , sometimes parsimoniously referred to as the South Vietnamese Army , was the land-based military forces of the Republic of Vietnam , which existed from October 26, 1955 until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975...

, known as "Vietnamization". He soon instituted phased US troop withdrawals but authorized incursions into Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, in part to interrupt the Ho Chi Minh trail
Ho Chi Minh trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

, used to supply North Vietnamese forces, that passed through Laos and Cambodia. Nixon's campaign promise to curb the war, contrasted with the escalated bombing, led to claims that Nixon had a "credibility gap
Credibility gap
Credibility gap is a political term that came into wide use during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, it was most frequently used to describe public skepticism about the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's statements and policies on the Vietnam War...

" on the issue.

In 1971, excerpts from the "Pentagon Papers
Pentagon Papers
The Pentagon Papers, officially titled United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States' political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967...

", which had been leaked by Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg, PhD, is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War,...

, were published by The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

and The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

. When news of the leak first appeared, Nixon was inclined to do nothing; the Papers, a history of United States' involvement in Vietnam, mostly concerned the lies of prior administrations and contained few real revelations. He was persuaded by Kissinger that the papers were more harmful than they appeared, and the President tried to prevent publication. The Supreme Court eventually ruled for the newspapers.

As US troop withdrawals continued, conscription was reduced and in 1973 ended; the armed forces became all-volunteer. After years of fighting, the Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam...

 were signed at the beginning of 1973. The agreement implemented a cease fire and allowed for the withdrawal of remaining American troops; however, it did not require the 160,000 North Vietnam Army regulars located in the South to withdraw. Once American combat support ended, there was a brief truce, before fighting broke out again, this time without American combat involvement. North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam in 1975.

Latin American policy


Nixon had been a firm supporter of Kennedy in the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months...

 and 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

; on taking office he stepped up covert operations against Cuba and its president, Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

. He maintained close relations with the Cuban-American exile community through his friend, Bebe Rebozo, who often suggested ways of irritating Castro. These activities concerned the Soviets and Cubans, who feared Nixon might attack Cuba in violation of the understanding between Kennedy and Khrushchev which had ended the missile crisis. In August 1970, the Soviets asked Nixon to reaffirm the agreement. Despite his hard line against Castro, Nixon agreed. The process—which began in secret, but quickly leaked—had not been completed when the US deduced that the Soviets were expanding their base at the Cuban port of Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of Cienfuegos Province. It is located about from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed La Perla del Sur...

 in October 1970. A minor confrontation ensued, which was concluded with an understanding that the Soviets would not use Cienfuegos for submarines bearing ballistic missiles. The final round of diplomatic notes, reaffirming the 1962 accord, were exchanged in November.

The election of Marxist candidate Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 as President of Chile
President of Chile
The President of the Republic of Chile is both the head of state and the head of government of the Republic of Chile. The President is responsible of the government and state administration...

 in September 1970 led Nixon to order that Allende not be allowed to take office. Edward Korry, US Ambassador to Chile, told Nixon that he saw no alternative to Allende, and Nixon ruled out American intervention, though he remained willing to assist opponents of Allende who might come forward. With the Chilean armed forces in disarray following the assassination of the Army leader, General René Schneider
René Schneider
General René Schneider Chereau was the commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army at the time of the 1970 Chilean presidential election, when he was assassinated during a botched kidnapping attempt. His murder virtually assured Salvador Allende's eventual overthrow and death in a coup three years later...

, Allende took office. The military regrouped under General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

, who overthrew Allende in 1973. During the coup, the deposed president died under disputed circumstances, concerning which there have been allegations of American involvement.

Soviet Union


Nixon used the improving international environment to address the topic of nuclear peace. Following the announcement of his visit to China, the Nixon administration concluded negotiations for the president to visit the Soviet Union. The president and first lady arrived in Moscow on May 22, 1972 and met with Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

, the General Secretary of the Communist Party
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

; Alexei Kosygin, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Premier of the Soviet Union
The office of Premier of the Soviet Union was synonymous with head of government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . Twelve individuals have been premier...

; and Nikolai Podgorny
Nikolai Podgorny
Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny was a Soviet Ukrainian statesman during the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, or leader of the Ukrainian SSR, from 1957 to 1963 and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1965 to 1977...

, the head of state, among other leading Soviet officials.


Nixon engaged in intense negotiations with Brezhnev. Out of the summit came agreements for increased trade and two landmark arms control treaties: SALT I, the first comprehensive limitation pact signed by the two superpowers, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons....

, which banned the development of systems designed to intercept incoming missiles. Nixon and Brezhnev proclaimed a new era of "peaceful coexistence A banquet was held that evening at the Kremlin
Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

.

Seeking to foster better relations with the United States, both China and the Soviet Union cut back on their diplomatic support for North Vietnam and advised Hanoi to come to terms militarily. Nixon later described his strategy:

I had long believed that an indispensable element of any successful peace initiative in Vietnam was to enlist, if possible, the help of the Soviets and the Chinese. Though rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviet Union were ends in themselves, I also considered them possible means to hasten the end of the war. At worst, Hanoi was bound to feel less confident if Washington was dealing with Moscow and Beijing. At best, if the two major Communist powers decided that they had bigger fish to fry, Hanoi would be pressured into negotiating a settlement we could accept.


Having made considerable progress over the previous two years in US-Soviet relations, Nixon embarked on a second trip to the Soviet Union in 1974. He arrived in Moscow on June 27 to a welcome ceremony, cheering crowds, and a state dinner at the Grand Kremlin Palace
Grand Kremlin Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace , also translated Great Kremlin Palace, was built from 1837 to 1849 in Moscow, Russia on the site of the estate of the Grand Princes, which had been established in the 14th century on Borovitsky Hill...

 that evening. Nixon and Brezhnev met in Yalta
Yalta
Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

, where they discussed a proposed mutual defense pact, détente, and MIRVs. While he considered proposing a comprehensive test-ban treaty, Nixon felt he would not have time as president to complete it. There were no significant breakthroughs in these negotiations.

Middle Eastern policy



As part of the Nixon Doctrine
Nixon Doctrine
The Nixon Doctrine was put forth in a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by U.S. President Richard Nixon. He stated that the United States henceforth expected its allies to take care of their own military defense, but that the U.S. would aid in defense as requested...

 that the US would avoid direct combat assistance to allies where possible, instead giving them assistance to defend themselves, the US greatly increased arms sales to the Middle East—particularly Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia—during the Nixon administration. The Nixon administration strongly supported Israel, an American ally in the Middle East but the support was not unconditional. Nixon believed that Israel should make peace with its Arab neighbors and that the United States should encourage it. The president believed that—except during the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

—the US had failed to intervene with Israel, and should use the leverage of the large US military aid to Israel to urge the parties to the negotiating table. However, the Arab-Israeli conflict was not a major focus of Nixon's attention during his first term—for one thing, he felt that no matter what he did, American Jews would oppose his reelection.

When an Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria attacked in October 1973, beginning the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, Israel suffered initial losses. The US took no action for several days, until Nixon ordered an airlift to Israel, taking personal responsibility for any response by Arab nations. Nixon cut through inter-departmental squabbles and bureaucracy to initiate an airlift of American arms. By the time the US and Soviet Union negotiated a truce, Israel had penetrated deep into enemy territory. The war resulted in the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, in which Arab nations refused to sell crude oil to the US in retaliation for its support of Israel. The embargo caused gasoline shortages and rationing in the United States in late 1973, and was eventually ended by the oil-producing nations as peace took hold. Kissinger played a major role in the settlement, and was also able to reestablish US relations with Egypt for the first time since 1967; Nixon made one of his final international visits as president there in June 1974.

Domestic policy



Economy



At the time Nixon took office in 1969, inflation was at 4.7 percent—its highest rate since the Korean War. The Great Society
Great Society
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States promoted by President Lyndon B. Johnson and fellow Democrats in Congress in the 1960s. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice...

 had been enacted under Johnson, which, together with the Vietnam War costs, was causing large budget deficits. There was little unemployment, but interest rates were at their highest in a century. Nixon's major economic goal was to reduce inflation; the most obvious means of doing so was to end the war. This could not be accomplished overnight, and the US economy continued to struggle through 1970, contributing to a lackluster Republican performance in the midterm congressional elections (Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress throughout Nixon's presidency). According to political economist Nigel Bowles in his 2011 study of Nixon's economic policies, the new president did little to alter Johnson's policies through the first year of his presidency.

Nixon was far more interested in foreign affairs than domestic policies, but believed that voters tend to focus on their own financial condition, and that economic conditions were a threat to his reelection. As part of his "New Federalism
New Federalism
New Federalism is a political philosophy of devolution, or the transfer of certain powers from the United States federal government back to the states...

" views, he proposed grants to the states, but these proposals were for the most part lost in the congressional budget process. However, Nixon gained political credit for advocating them. In 1970, Congress had granted the President the power to impose wage and price freezes, though the Democratic majorities, knowing Nixon had opposed such controls through his career, did not expect Nixon to actually use the authority. With inflation unresolved by August 1971, and an election year looming, Nixon convened a summit of his economic advisers at Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

. He then announced temporary wage and price controls, allowed the dollar to float against other currencies, and ended the convertibility of the dollar into gold. Bowles points out, "by identifying himself with a policy whose purpose was inflation's defeat, Nixon made it difficult for Democratic opponents ... to criticize him. His opponents could offer no alternative policy that was either plausible or believable since the one they favored was one they had designed but which the president had appropriated for himself." Nixon's policies dampened inflation through 1972, although their aftereffects contributed to inflation during his second term and into the Ford administration.

After he won reelection, Nixon found inflation returning. He reimposed price controls in June 1973. The price controls became unpopular with the public and businesspeople, who saw powerful labor unions as preferable to the price board bureaucracy. The controls produced food shortages, as meat disappeared from grocery stores and farmers drowned chickens rather than sell them at a loss. Despite the failure to control inflation, controls were slowly ended, and on April 30, 1974, their statutory authorization lapsed.

Governmental initiatives and organization


Nixon advocated a "New Federalism
New Federalism
New Federalism is a political philosophy of devolution, or the transfer of certain powers from the United States federal government back to the states...

", which would devolve power to state and local elected officials, though Congress was hostile to these ideas and enacted few of them. He eliminated the Cabinet-level United States Post Office Department
United States Post Office Department
The Post Office Department was the name of the United States Postal Service when it was a Cabinet department. It was headed by the Postmaster General....

, which in 1971 became the government-run United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

.

Nixon was a late convert to the conservation movement
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

. Environmental policy had not been a significant issue in the 1968 election; the candidates were rarely asked for their views on the subject. He saw that the first Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

 in April 1970 presaged a wave of voter interest on the subject, and sought to use that to his benefit; in June he announced the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 (EPA). Nixon broke new ground by discussing environment policy in his State of the Union speech; other initiatives supported by Nixon included the Clean Air Act of 1970 and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

 (OSHA); the National Environmental Policy Act
National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act is a United States environmental law that established a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment and also established the President's Council on Environmental Quality ....

 required environmental impact statement
Environmental impact statement
An environmental impact statement , under United States environmental law, is a document required by the National Environmental Policy Act for certain actions "significantly affecting the quality of the human environment". An EIS is a tool for decision making...

s for many Federal projects. Nixon vetoed the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that...

 of 1972—objecting not to the policy goals of the legislation but to the amount of money to be spent on them, which he deemed excessive. After Congress overrode his veto, Nixon impounded the funds he deemed unjustifiable.

In 1971, Senator Edward Kennedy
Edward Kennedy
Edward Kennedy may refer to:*Ted Kennedy, Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy , United States Senator from Massachusetts*Edward Kennedy , journalist who first reported the German surrender in World War II*Edward Kennedy, Jr., son of U.S...

 of Massachusetts proposed a plan for universal federally run health insurance, partly motivated by dramatic rises in public and private health care expenditures. In response, Nixon proposed a health care plan which would provide insurance for low-income families, and require that all employees be provided with health care. As this still would have left some forty million people uncovered, Kennedy and the other Democrats declined to support it, and the measure failed, though a Nixon proposal for increased use of health maintenance organization
Health maintenance organization
A health maintenance organization is an organization that provides managed care for health insurance contracts in the United States as a liaison with health care providers...

s passed Congress in 1973.

US space program




After a nearly decade-long national effort, the United States won the race to land astronauts on the moon on July 20, 1969, with the flight of Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

. Nixon spoke with Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

 and Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

 during their moonwalk. He called the conversation "the most historic phone call ever made from the White House". Nixon, however, was unwilling to keep funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the high level seen through the 1960s as NASA prepared to send men to the moon. NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine
Thomas O. Paine
Thomas Otten Paine , American scientist, was the third Administrator of NASA, serving from March 21, 1969 to September 15, 1970.During his administration at NASA, the first seven Apollo manned missions were flown...

 drew up ambitious plans for the establishment of a permanent base on the moon by the end of the 1970s and the launch of a manned expedition to Mars as early as 1981. Nixon, however, rejected both proposals.

On May 24, 1972, Nixon approved a five-year cooperative program between NASA and the Soviet space program
Soviet space program
The Soviet space program is the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991...

, culminating in the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, a joint mission of an American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft in 1975.

Civil rights


The Nixon years witnessed the first large-scale integration
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 of public schools in the South. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. Hopeful of doing well in the South in 1972, he sought to dispose of desegregation as a political issue before then. Soon after his inauguration, he appointed Vice President Agnew to lead a task force, which worked with local leaders—both white and black—to determine how to integrate local schools. Agnew had little interest in the work, and most of it was done by Labor Secretary
United States Secretary of Labor
The United States Secretary of Labor is the head of the Department of Labor who exercises control over the department and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies....

 George Shultz. Federal aid was available, and a meeting with President Nixon was a possible reward for compliant committees. By September 1970, fewer than ten percent of black children were attending segregated schools. By 1971, however, tensions over desegregation surfaced in Northern cities, with angry protests over the busing of children to schools outside their neighborhood to achieve racial balance. Nixon opposed busing personally but enforced court orders requiring its use.

In addition to desegregating public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970—the first significant federal affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time...

 after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification. Nixon had campaigned as an ERA supporter in 1968, though feminists criticized him for doing little to help the ERA or their cause after his election, though he appointed more women to administration positions than Lyndon Johnson had.

Reelection, Watergate scandal, and resignation



1972 presidential campaign



Nixon believed his rise to power had peaked at a moment of political realignment. The Democratic "Solid South
Solid South
Solid South is the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party candidates for nearly a century from 1877, the end of Reconstruction, to 1964, during the middle of the Civil Rights era....

" had long been a frustration to Republican ambitions. Goldwater had won several Southern states by opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

 but had alienated more moderate Southerners. Nixon's efforts to gain Southern support in 1968 were diluted by Wallace's candidacy. Through his first term, he pursued a Southern Strategy
Southern strategy
In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to the Republican Party strategy of winning elections in Southern states by exploiting anti-African American racism and fears of lawlessness among Southern white voters and appealing to fears of growing federal power in social and economic matters...

 with policies, such as his desegregation plans, that would be broadly acceptable among Southern whites, encouraging them to realign with the Republicans in the aftermath of the Civil Rights era. He nominated two Southern conservatives, Clement Haynsworth
Clement Haynsworth
Clement Furman Haynsworth, Jr. was a United States judge and an unsuccessful nominee for the United States Supreme Court....

 and G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court, but neither was confirmed by the Senate.


Nixon entered his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot on January 5, 1972, effectively announcing his candidacy for reelection. Virtually assured the Republican nomination, the President had initially expected his Democratic opponent to be Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 (brother of the late president), but he was largely removed from contention after the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident. Instead, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 Senator Edmund Muskie
Edmund Muskie
Edmund Sixtus "Ed" Muskie was an American politician from Rumford, Maine. He served as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter from 1980 to 1981...

 became the front runner, with South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

 Senator George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

 in a close second place.

On June 10, McGovern won the California primary and secured the Democratic nomination. The following month, Nixon was renominated at the 1972 Republican National Convention
1972 Republican National Convention
The 1972 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held from August 21 to August 23, 1972 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. It nominated the incumbents Richard M. Nixon of California for President and Spiro T. Agnew of Maryland for Vice...

. He dismissed the Democratic platform as cowardly and divisive. McGovern intended to sharply reduce defense spending and supported amnesty for draft evaders as well as abortion rights. With some of his supporters believed to be in favor of drug legalization, McGovern was perceived as standing for "amnesty, abortion and acid". McGovern was also damaged by his vacillating support for his original running mate, Senator Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Francis Eagleton was a United States Senator from Missouri, serving from 1968–1987. He is best remembered for briefly being the Democratic vice presidential nominee under George McGovern in 1972...

, dumped from the ticket following revelations that he had received treatment for depression. Nixon was ahead in most polls for the entire election cycle, and was reelected on November 7, 1972 in one of the largest landslide election victories in American history. He defeated McGovern with over 60 percent of the popular vote, losing only in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Watergate


The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included "dirty tricks
Dirty tricks
Dirty tricks are unethical, duplicitous, slanderous or illegal tactics employed to destroy or diminish the effectiveness of political or business opponents...

" such as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the FBI, CIA, and the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

. The activities became known after five men were caught breaking into Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate complex
Watergate complex
The Watergate complex is a group of five buildings next to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. in the United States. The site contains an office building, three apartment buildings, and a hotel-office building...

 in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

picked up on the story; reporters Carl Bernstein
Carl Bernstein
Carl Bernstein is an American investigative journalist who, at The Washington Post, teamed up with Bob Woodward; the two did the majority of the most important news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations, the indictment of a vast number of...

 and Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post....

 relied on an informant known as "Deep Throat
Deep Throat
Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post in 1972 about the involvement of United States President Richard Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal...

"—later revealed to be Mark Felt
W. Mark Felt
William Mark Felt, Sr. was an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation , who retired in 1973 as the Bureau's Associate Director...

, associate director at the FBI—to link the men to the Nixon administration. Nixon downplayed the scandal as mere politics, calling news articles biased and misleading. As a series of revelations made it clear that Nixon aides had committed crimes in attempts to sabotage the Democrats and others, senior aides such as White House Counsel
White House Counsel
The White House Counsel is a staff appointee of the President of the United States.-Role:The Counsel's role is to advise the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House...

 John Dean
John Dean
John Wesley Dean III is an American lawyer who served as White House Counsel to United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. In this position, he became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up...

 and Chief of Staff
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking member of the Executive Office of the President of the United States and a senior aide to the President.The current White House Chief of Staff is Bill Daley.-History:...

 H. R. Haldeman
H. R. Haldeman
Harry Robbins "Bob" Haldeman was an American political aide and businessman, best known for his service as White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon and for his role in events leading to the Watergate burglaries and the Watergate scandal – for which he was found guilty of conspiracy...

 faced prosecution.

In July 1973, White House aide Alexander Butterfield
Alexander Butterfield
Alexander Porter Butterfield is a retired U.S. military officer, public servant, and businessman. He served as the deputy assistant to President Richard Nixon from 1969 until 1973. He was a key figure in the Watergate scandal, but was not personally involved in any wrongdoing, and was not...

 testified that Nixon had a secret taping system that recorded his conversations and phone calls in the Oval Office. These tapes were subpoena
Subpoena
A subpoena is a writ by a government agency, most often a court, that has authority to compel testimony by a witness or production of evidence under a penalty for failure. There are two common types of subpoena:...

ed by Watergate Special Counsel Archibald Cox
Archibald Cox
Archibald Cox, Jr., was an American lawyer and law professor who served as U.S. Solicitor General under President John F. Kennedy. He became known as the first special prosecutor for the Watergate scandal. During his career, he was a pioneering expert on labor law and also an authority on...

. Nixon refused to release them, citing executive privilege
Executive privilege
In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government...

. With the White House and Cox at loggerheads, Nixon had Cox fired in October in the "Saturday Night Massacre
Saturday night massacre
The "Saturday Night Massacre" was the term given by political commentators to U.S. President Richard Nixon's executive dismissal of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on October 20,...

"; he was replaced by Leon Jaworski
Leon Jaworski
Leonidas "Leon" Jaworski was the second Special Prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal...

. In November, Nixon's lawyers revealed that an audio tape of conversations, held in the White House on June 20, 1972, featured an 18½ minute gap. Rose Mary Woods
Rose Mary Woods
Rose Mary Woods was Richard Nixon's secretary from his days in the Congress in 1951, through his Vice Presidency, Presidency, and until the end of his political career. Before H.R...

, the President's personal secretary, claimed responsibility for the gap, alleging that she had accidentally wiped the section while transcribing the tape, though her tale was widely mocked. The gap, while not conclusive proof of wrongdoing by the President, cast doubt on Nixon's statement that he had been unaware of the cover-up.
Though Nixon lost much popular support, even from his own party, he rejected accusations of wrongdoing and vowed to stay in office. He insisted that he had made mistakes, but had no prior knowledge of the burglary, did not break any laws, and did not learn of the cover-up until early 1973. On October 10, 1973, Vice President Agnew resigned amid allegations—unrelated to Watergate—of bribery, tax evasion and money laundering from his tenure as Maryland's governor. Nixon chose Gerald Ford, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives
Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives
The House Minority Leader is one of the party leaders of the United States House of Representatives. This title is currently held by Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi of California....

, to replace Agnew.

On November 17, 1973, during a televised question and answer session with the press, Nixon said,
The legal battle over the tapes continued through early 1974, and in April 1974 Nixon announced the release of 1,200 pages of transcripts of White House conversations between him and his aides. The House Judiciary Committee, opened impeachment
Impeachment in the United States
Impeachment in the United States is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office...

 hearings against the President on May 9, 1974, which were televised on the major networks. These hearings culminated in votes for articles of impeachment, the first being 27–11 in favor on July 27, 1974 on obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice
The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of interfering with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials...

. Other charges leveled against Nixon were: Abuse of power and contempt of Congress
Contempt of Congress
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically the bribery of a senator or representative was considered contempt of Congress...

(for providing only the edited transcripts of the tapes and not the tapes themselves). On July 24, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously
United States v. Nixon
United States v. Nixon, , was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision. It was a unanimous 8-0 ruling involving President Richard Nixon and was important to the late stages of the Watergate scandal. It is considered a crucial precedent limiting the power of any U.S. president.Chief Justice...

 that the full tapes, not just selected transcripts must be released.

Even with support diminished by the continuing series of revelations, Nixon hoped to win through. However, one of the new tapes, recorded soon after the break-in, demonstrated that Nixon had been told of the White House connection to the Watergate burglaries soon after they took place, and had approved plans to thwart the investigation. In a statement accompanying the release of the "Smoking Gun Tape" on August 5, 1974, Nixon accepted blame for misleading the country about when he had been told of the truth behind the Watergate break-in, stating that he had a lapse of memory. He met with Republican congressional leaders soon after, and was told he faced certain impeachment in the House and had, at most, 15 senators prepared to vote for his acquittal—far fewer than the 34 he needed to avoid removal from office.

Resignation


In light of his loss of political support and the near certainty of impeachment, Nixon resigned the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974, after addressing the nation on television the previous evening. The resignation speech was delivered from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. Nixon stated that he was resigning for the good of the country and asked the nation to support the new president, Gerald Ford. Nixon went on to review the accomplishments of his presidency, especially in foreign policy. He defended his record as president, and stated:
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly".


Nixon's speech contained no admission of wrongdoing, and was termed "a masterpiece" by Conrad Black
Conrad Black
Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, OC, KCSG, PC is a Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords, and a historian, columnist and publisher, who was for a time the third largest newspaper magnate in the world. Lord Black controlled Hollinger International, Inc...

, one of his biographers. Black opined that "What was intended to be an unprecedented humiliation for any American president, Nixon converted into a virtual parliamentary acknowledgement of almost blameless insufficiency of legislative support to continue. He left while devoting half his address to a recitation of his accomplishments in office." The initial response from network commentators was generally favorable, with only Roger Mudd
Roger Mudd
Roger Mudd is a U.S. television journalist and broadcaster, most recently as the primary anchor for The History Channel. Previously, Mudd was weekend and weekday substitute anchor of CBS Evening News, co-anchor of the weekday NBC Nightly News, and hosted NBC's Meet the Press, and NBC's American...

 of CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 stating that Nixon had evaded the issue, and had not admitted his role in the cover-up.

Later years and death



Pardon and illness


Following his resignation, the Nixons flew to their home La Casa Pacifica
La Casa Pacifica
La Casa Pacifica is a mansion located in the Cottons Point Estates gated community on the beaches of San Clemente, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean...

 in San Clemente
San Clemente, California
San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 63,522 at the 2010 census. Located on the California Coast, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego at the southern tip of the county, it is known for its ocean, hill, and mountain views, a pleasant climate and its Spanish...

, California. According to his biographer, Aitken, after his resignation, "Nixon was a soul in torment". Congress had funded Nixon's transition costs, including some salary expenses, though reducing the appropriation from $850,000 to $200,000. With some of his staff still with him, Nixon was at his desk by 7 a.m.—with little to do. His former press secretary, Ron Ziegler
Ron Ziegler
Ronald Louis "Ron" Ziegler was White House Press Secretary and Assistant to the President during United States President Richard Nixon's administration.-Early life:...

, sat with him alone for hours each day.

Nixon's resignation had not put an end to the desire among many to see him punished. The Ford White House considered a pardon of Nixon, though it would be unpopular in the country. Nixon, contacted by Ford emissaries, was initially reluctant to accept the pardon, but then agreed to do so. Ford, however, insisted on a statement of contrition; Nixon felt he had not committed any crimes and should not have to issue such a document. The former president eventually agreed, and on September 8, 1974, Ford granted him a "full, free, and absolute pardon". This ended any possibility of an indictment. Nixon then released a statement:

I was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate, particularly when it reached the stage of judicial proceedings and grew from a political scandal into a national tragedy. No words can describe the depth of my regret and pain at the anguish my mistakes over Watergate have caused the nation and the presidency, a nation I so deeply love, and an institution I so greatly respect.


In October 1974, Nixon fell ill with phlebitis
Phlebitis
Phlebitis is an inflammation of a vein, usually in the legs.When phlebitis is associated with the formation of blood clots , usually in the deep veins of the legs, the condition is called thrombophlebitis...

. Told by his doctors that he could either be operated on or die, a reluctant Nixon chose surgery and, while hospitalized, was visited by President Ford. Nixon was under subpoena for the trial of three of his former aides—Dean, Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman
John Ehrlichman
John Daniel Ehrlichman was counsel and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon. He was a key figure in events leading to the Watergate first break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal, for which he was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury...

—and The Washington Post, disbelieving his illness, printed a cartoon showing Nixon with a cast on the "wrong foot". Judge John Sirica
John Sirica
John Joseph Sirica was the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, where he became famous for his role in the Watergate scandal...

 excused Nixon's presence despite the defendants' objections. Congress instructed Ford to retain Nixon's presidential papers—beginning a legal battle over the documents which would last three decades, and would eventually be won by the former president and his estate. While Nixon was in hospital, the 1974 midterm elections took place, in which Watergate and the pardon were factors which contributed to the Republican loss of 43 seats in the House and three in the Senate.

Return to public life


In December 1974, Nixon began planning his comeback despite the considerable ill-will against him in the country. He wrote in his diary, referring to himself and Pat,

So be it. We will see it through. We've had tough times before and we can take the tougher ones that we will have to go through now. That is perhaps what we were made for—to be able to take punishment beyond what anyone in this office has had before particularly after leaving office. This is a test of character and we must not fail the test.

By early 1975, Nixon's health was improving. He maintained an office in a Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 station 300 yards from his home, at first taking a golf cart and later walking the route each day; he mainly worked on his memoirs. He had hoped to wait before writing his memoirs; the fact that his assets were being eaten away by expenses and lawyer fees compelled him to begin work quickly. He was handicapped in this work by the end of his transition allowance in February, which compelled him to part with much of his staff, including Ziegler. In August of that year, he met with British talk-show host and producer David Frost
David Frost
Sir David Frost is a British broadcaster.David Frost may also refer to:*David Frost , South African golfer*David Frost , classical record producer*David Frost *Dave Frost, baseball pitcher...

, who paid him $600,000 for a series
The Nixon Interviews
The Nixon Interviews were a series of interviews of former United States President Richard Nixon conducted by British journalist Sir David Frost, and produced by John Birt. They were recorded and broadcast on television in four programs in 1977...

 of sit-down interviews, filmed and aired in 1977. They began on the topic of foreign policy, recounting the leaders he had known, but the most remembered section of the interviews was that on Watergate. Nixon admitted that he had "let down the country" and that "I brought myself down. I gave them a sword and they stuck it in. And they twisted it with relish. And, I guess, if I'd been in their position, I'd have done the same thing." The interviews garnered 45–50 million viewers—becoming the most-watched program of their kind in television history.

The interviews helped improve Nixon's financial position—at one point in early 1975 he had only $500 in the bank—as did the sale of his Key Biscayne property to a trust set up by wealthy Nixon friends such as Bebe Rebozo. In February 1976, Nixon visited China at the personal invitation of Mao. Nixon had wanted to return to China, but chose to wait until after Ford's own visit in 1975. Nixon remained neutral in the 1976 primary battle between Ford and Reagan—won by Ford in a close fight at the convention in Kansas City
1976 Republican National Convention
The 1976 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States met at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, 1976. The convention nominated incumbent Gerald Ford for President, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California...

, at which Nixon (who had been nominated by five of the previous six conventions) was not mentioned once. Ford lost narrowly in the general election
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

 to Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 Governor Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, which led to suggestions that Ford would have been elected had he not pardoned Nixon. Nixon biographer Black points out that had no pardon been issued, Nixon would likely have been on trial in November 1976, causing a GOP loss by a much greater margin. The Carter administration had little use for Nixon and blocked his planned trip to Australia, causing the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 to withhold from him an official invitation.

In early 1978, Nixon went to the United Kingdom. He was shunned by American diplomats and by most ministers of the James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

 government. He was welcomed, however, by the Leader of the Opposition, Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, as well as by former prime ministers Lord Home
Alec Douglas-Home
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC , known as The Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963 and as Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1974, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1963 to October 1964.He is the last...

 and Sir Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

, though two other former prime ministers, Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 and Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 declined to meet with him. Nixon addressed the Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

 regarding Watergate:

Some people say I didn't handle it properly and they're right. I screwed it up. Mea culpa. But let's get on to my achievements. You'll be here in the year 2000 and we'll see how I'm regarded then.

Author and elder statesman



In 1978, Nixon published his memoirs, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, the first of ten books he was to author in his retirement. The book was a bestseller and attracted a generally positive critical response. Nixon journeyed to the White House in 1979, invited by Carter for the state dinner for Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

. Carter had not wanted to invite Nixon, but Deng had stated he would visit Nixon in California if the former president was not invited. Nixon had a private meeting with Deng and visited Beijing again in mid-1979.

In early 1980, the Nixons purchased a New York City townhouse after being rejected by two Manhattan co-ops
Housing cooperative
A housing cooperative is a legal entity—usually a corporation—that owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings. Each shareholder in the legal entity is granted the right to occupy one housing unit, sometimes subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease. ...

. When the former Shah of Iran died in Egypt in July 1980, Nixon defied the State Department, which intended to send no US representative, by attending the funeral. Though Nixon had no official credentials, as a former president he was seen as the American presence at its former ally's funeral. Nixon supported Ronald Reagan for president in 1980, making television appearances portraying himself as, in biographer Stephen Ambrose's words, "the senior statesman above the fray". He wrote guest articles for many publications both during the campaign and after Reagan's victory. After eighteen months in the New York City townhouse, Nixon and his wife moved in 1981 to Saddle River
Saddle River, New Jersey
Saddle River is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 3,152. Saddle River has the second-highest per-capita income in the state...

, New Jersey.

Throughout the 1980s, Nixon maintained an ambitious schedule of speaking engagements and writing, traveled, and met with many foreign leaders, especially those of Third World countries. He joined former Presidents Ford and Carter as representatives of the United States at the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

. On a trip to the Middle East, Nixon made his views known regarding Saudi Arabia and Libya, which attracted significant US media attention; The Washington Post ran stories on Nixon's "rehabilitation". Nixon journeyed to the Soviet Union in 1986 and on his return sent President Reagan a lengthy memorandum containing foreign policy suggestions and his personal impressions of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

. Following this trip, Nixon was ranked in a Gallup poll
Gallup's most admired man and woman poll
Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll is an annual poll that Gallup has conducted at the end of virtually every single year since 1948. Americans are asked, without prompting, to say what man and woman "living today in any part of the world, do [they] admire most?" The result is published as a...

 as one of the ten most admired men in the world.

In 1986, Nixon addressed a convention of newspaper publishers, impressing his audience with his tour d'horizon of the world. At the time, political pundit Elizabeth Drew wrote, "Even when he was wrong, Nixon still showed that he knew a great deal and had a capacious memory, as well as the capacity to speak with apparent authority, enough to impress people who had little regard for him in earlier times." Newsweek ran a story on "Nixon's comeback" with the headline "He's back".

On July 19, 1990, the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda
Yorba Linda, California
Yorba Linda is a suburban city in northeastern Orange County, California, approximately northeast of Downtown Santa Ana, and southeast of Downtown Los Angeles....

, California opened as a private institution with the Nixons in attendance. They were joined by a large crowd of people, including Presidents Ford, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, as well as their wives, Betty
Betty Ford
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford , better known as Betty Ford, was First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford...

, Nancy
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

, and Barbara
Barbara Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush...

. In January 1991, the former president founded the Nixon Center (today the Center for the National Interest
Center for the National Interest
The Nixon Center was a Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank. On March 9, 2011 it was renamed The Center for the National Interest....

), a Washington policy think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 and conference center.

Pat Nixon died on June 22, 1993, of emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 and lung cancer. Her funeral services were held on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. Former President Nixon was distraught throughout the interment. Inside the building, he delivered a moving tribute to her.

Death and funeral


Nixon suffered a severe stroke on April 18, 1994, while preparing to eat dinner in his Park Ridge
Park Ridge, New Jersey
Park Ridge is a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States. Park Ridge had a population of 8,645 as of the 2010 United States Census....

, New Jersey home. A blood clot
Thrombosis
Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood through the circulatory system. When a blood vessel is injured, the body uses platelets and fibrin to form a blood clot to prevent blood loss...

 resulting from his heart condition had formed in his upper heart, broken off, and traveled to his brain. He was taken to New York Hospital–Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, initially alert but unable to speak or to move his right arm or leg. Damage to the brain caused swelling (cerebral edema
Cerebral edema
Cerebral edema or cerebral œdema is an excess accumulation of water in the intracellular or extracellular spaces of the brain.-Vasogenic:Due to a breakdown of tight endothelial junctions which make up the blood-brain barrier...

), and Nixon slipped into a deep coma. He died at 9:08 p.m. on April 22, 1994, with his daughters at his bedside. He was 81 years old.

Nixon's funeral took place on April 27, 1994—the first for an American president since Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

's in 1973, over which Nixon had presided. Eulogists at the Nixon Library ceremony included then-President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

, California Governor Pete Wilson
Pete Wilson
Peter Barton "Pete" Wilson is an American politician from California. Wilson, a Republican, served as the 36th Governor of California , the culmination of more than three decades in the public arena that included eight years as a United States Senator , eleven years as Mayor of San Diego and...

, and the Reverend Billy Graham
Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American evangelical Christian evangelist. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, and is number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for...

. Also in attendance were former Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and their wives.

Richard Nixon rests beside his wife Pat on the grounds of the Nixon Library. He was survived by his two daughters, Tricia and Julie, and four grandchildren. In keeping with his wishes, his funeral was not a full state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

, though his body did lie in repose in the Nixon Library lobby from April 26 to the morning of the funeral services. Mourners waited in line up to eight hours in chilly, wet weather to pay their respects. At its peak, the line to pass by Nixon's casket was three miles long with an estimated 42,000 people waiting to pay their respects.

John F. Stacks of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine said of Nixon shortly after his death, "An outsize energy and determination drove him on to recover and rebuild after every self-created disaster that he faced. To reclaim a respected place in American public life after his resignation, he kept traveling and thinking and talking to the world's leaders ... and by the time Bill Clinton came to the White House [in 1993], Nixon had virtually cemented his role as an elder statesman. Clinton, whose wife served on the staff of the committee that voted to impeach Nixon, met openly with him and regularly sought his advice." Tom Wicker
Tom Wicker
Thomas Grey "Tom" Wicker was an American journalist. He was best known as a political reporter and columnist for The New York Times.-Background and education:...

 of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

noted that Nixon had been equalled only by Franklin Roosevelt in being five times nominated on a major party ticket and, quoting Nixon's 1962 farewell speech, wrote, "Richard Nixon's jowly, beard-shadowed face, the ski-jump nose and the widow's peak, the arms upstretched in the V-sign, had been so often pictured and caricatured, his presence had become such a familiar one in the land, he had been so often in the heat of controversy, that it was hard to realize the nation really would not 'have Nixon to kick around anymore'." Ambrose said of the reaction to Nixon's death, "To everyone's amazement, except his, he's our beloved elder statesman."

Upon Nixon's death, almost all of the news coverage mentioned Watergate, but for the most part, the coverage was favorable to the former president. The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Morning News is the major daily newspaper serving the Dallas, Texas area, with a circulation of 264,459 subscribers, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported in September 2010...

stated, "History ultimately should show that despite his flaws, he was one of our most farsighted chief executives." This offended some; columnist Russell Baker
Russell Baker
Russell Wayne Baker is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose, as well as for his autobiography, Growing Up.-His career:...

 complained of "a group conspiracy to grant him absolution". Cartoonist Jeff Koterba
Jeff Koterba
Jeffrey Koterba is an American editorial cartoonist based in Omaha, Nebraska. He has been Omaha World Herald's cartoonist since 1989 and his work is syndicated nationwide to over 400 newspapers by King Features Syndicate.-Biography:...

 of the Omaha World-Herald
Omaha World-Herald
The Omaha World-Herald, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is the primary daily newspaper of Nebraska, as well as portions of southwest Iowa. For decades it circulated daily throughout Nebraska, and in parts of Kansas, South Dakota, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming. In 2008, distribution was reduced to the...

depicted History before a blank canvas, his subject Nixon, as America looks on eagerly. The artist urges his audience to sit down; the work will take some time to complete, as "this portrait is a little more complicated than most".

Legacy


Historian and political scientist James MacGregor Burns
James MacGregor Burns
James MacGregor Burns is an historian and political scientist, presidential biographer, and authority on leadership studies. He is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College and Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the of the School of Public Policy at the University...

 observed of Nixon, "How can one evaluate such an idiosyncratic president, so brilliant and so morally lacking?" Nixon's biographers disagree on how he will be perceived by history. According to Ambrose, "Nixon wanted to be judged by what he accomplished. What he will be remembered for is the nightmare he put the country through in his second term and for his resignation." Irwin Gellman, who chronicled Nixon's congressional career, suggests that "he was remarkable among his congressional peers, a success story in a troubled era, one who steered a sensible anti-Communist course against the excess of McCarthy". Aitken feels that "Nixon, both as a man and as a statesman, has been excessively maligned for his faults and inadequately recognised for his virtues. Yet even in a spirit of historical revisionism, no simple verdict is possible."
Nixon's Southern Strategy is credited by some historians as causing the South to become a Republican stronghold, though others deem economic factors more important to the change. Throughout his career, he was instrumental in moving his party away from the control of isolationists, and as a congressman was a persuasive advocate of containing Soviet communism. According to his biographer, Herbert Parmet, "Nixon's role was to steer the Republican party along a middle course, somewhere between the competitive impulses of the Rockefellers, the Goldwaters, and the Reagans."

Nixon is given credit for his stance on domestic affairs, which resulted in the passage and enforcement of environmental and regulatory legislation. Historian Paul Charles Milazzo in his 2011 paper on Nixon and the environment, points to Nixon's creation of the EPA and his enforcement of legislation such as the 1973 Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

, stating that "though unsought and unacknowledged, Richard Nixon's environmental legacy is secure."

Nixon saw his policies regarding Vietnam, China, and the Soviets as key to his place in history. George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

, Nixon's onetime opponent, commented in 1983, "President Nixon probably had a more practical approach to the two superpowers, China and the Soviet Union, than any other president since World War II ... With the exception of his inexcusable continuation of the war in Vietnam, Nixon really will get high marks in history." Political scientist Jussi M. Hanhimäki disagrees, saying Nixon's diplomacy was merely a continuation of the Cold War policy of containment
Containment
Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a "domino effect". A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet...

, using diplomatic rather than military means.

Historian Keith W. Olson has written that Nixon left a negative legacy: fundamental mistrust of government with its roots in Vietnam and Watergate. During the impeachment of Bill Clinton
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

 in 1998, both sides tried to use Nixon and Watergate to their advantage: Republicans suggested that Clinton's misconduct had been comparable to Nixon's, while Democrats contended that Nixon's actions had been far more serious than those of the incumbent. Another legacy, for a time, was a decrease in the power of the presidency as Congress passed restrictive legislation in the wake of Watergate. Olson, however suggests that grants of power to George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks restored the president's power.

Personality and public image



Nixon's career was frequently dogged by his persona and the public's perception of it. Editorial cartoonists and comedians often exaggerated his appearance and mannerisms, to the point where the line between the human and the caricature became increasingly blurred. He was often portrayed with unshaven jowls, slumped shoulders, and a furrowed, sweaty brow.

Nixon had a complex personality, both very secretive and awkward, yet strikingly reflective about himself. He was inclined to distance himself from people and was formal in all aspects, wearing a coat and tie even when home alone. Nixon biographer Conrad Black
Conrad Black
Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, OC, KCSG, PC is a Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords, and a historian, columnist and publisher, who was for a time the third largest newspaper magnate in the world. Lord Black controlled Hollinger International, Inc...

 described him as being "driven" though also "uneasy with himself in some ways". According to Black, Nixon "thought that he was doomed to be traduced, double-crossed, unjustly harassed, misunderstood, underappreciated, and subjected to the trials of Job
Book of Job
The Book of Job , commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a...

, but that by the application of his mighty will, tenacity, and diligence, he would ultimately prevail". Biographer Elizabeth Drew summarized Nixon as a "smart, talented man, but most peculiar and haunted of presidents". In his account of the Nixon presidency, author Richard Reeves described Nixon as "a strange man of uncomfortable shyness who functioned best, alone with his thoughts". Nixon's presidency was doomed by his personality, Reeves argues: "He assumed the worst in people and he brought out the worst in them ... He clung to the idea of being 'tough'. He thought that was what had brought him to the edge of greatness. But that was what betrayed him. He could not open himself to other men and he could not open himself to greatness."
In October 1999, a volume of 1971 White House audio tapes was released that contained statements by Nixon deemed derogatory toward Jews. In one conversation with H. R. Haldeman
H. R. Haldeman
Harry Robbins "Bob" Haldeman was an American political aide and businessman, best known for his service as White House Chief of Staff to President Richard Nixon and for his role in events leading to the Watergate burglaries and the Watergate scandal – for which he was found guilty of conspiracy...

, Nixon said that Washington was "full of Jews" and that "most Jews are disloyal," making exceptions for some of his top aides. He then added, "But, Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?" Elsewhere in the 1971 recordings, Nixon denies being anti-Semitic, saying, "If anybody who's been in this chair ever had reason to be anti-Semitic, I did ... And I'm not, you know what I mean?"

Nixon believed that putting distance between himself and other people was necessary for him as he advanced in his political career and became president. Even Bebe Rebozo, by some accounts his closest friend, did not call him by his first name. Nixon stated of this, "Even with close friends. I don't believe in letting your hair down, confiding this and that and the other thing—saying, 'Gee, I couldn't sleep' ... I believe you should keep your troubles to yourself. That's just the way I am. Some people are different. Some people think it's good therapy to sit with a close friend and, you know, just spill your guts ... [to] reveal their inner psyche—whether they were breast-fed or bottle-fed. Not me. No way." When told that most Americans, even at the end of his career, did not feel they knew him, Nixon replied, "Yeah, it's true. And it's not necessary for them to know."

See also

  • Murray Chotiner
    Murray Chotiner
    Murray M Chotiner was an American political strategist, attorney, government official, and close associate and friend of President Richard Nixon during much of the 37th President's political career...

    , Nixon's campaign manager and aide.
  • Nixon in China
    Nixon in China (opera)
    Nixon in China is an opera in three acts by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman. Adams' first opera, it was inspired by the 1972 visit to China by US President Richard Nixon. The work premiered at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987, in a production by Peter Sellars with...

    , 1987 opera by John Adams.

External links



> > > > > > > >