Richard M. Nixon, 37 th president of the United States, was one of the most controversial politicians. He used the communist scare of the late forties and early fifties to catapult his career, but as president he eased tension with the Soviet Union and opened relations with Red China. Nixon's administration occurred during the domestic upheavals brought on by the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. But, to his demise, the Watergate scandal during his second term eventually forced him to resign to avoid impeachment. Early Life Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California to the proud parents of Francis Anthony Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon.
Nixon, the second of five sons, came from a southern-Quaker family, where hard work and integrity were deeply-rooted and heavily emphasized. A terrific student, young Richard attended public schools in Whittier, California, where he grew up, and was later invited by Harvard and Yale to apply for scholarships. The affects of the Depression and his older brother's illness made his presence necessary close to home, so he attended nearby Whittier College, where he graduated second in his class in 1934. Nixon went on to law school at Duke University, where his seriousness and determination won him the nickname "Gloomy Gus." After graduating third in his class in 1937, Nixon applied for jobs with large Northwestern law firms and the FBI.
His applications were all rejected, however, his mother helped him get a job at a friend's local law firm. There, Nixon met his fiancee Thelma Ryan. On June 21, 1940, Thelma and Richard were married and soon after would have two children, daughters Patricia Nixon in 1946 and Julie Nixon in 1948. At the Outbreak of W. W.
II, Nixon went to work for the tire-rationing section, the Office of Price Administration in Washington, DC. Eight months later, he joined the Navy and was sent to the Pacific as a supply officer. Nixon was popular with the men, and such an accomplished poker player that he was able to send enough of his comrades money back home to help fund his first political campaign. After returning from the war, Nixon entered politics, answering a Republican party call in the newspaper for someone to run against the five-term Democratic Congressman, Jerry Voorhis. Nixon seemed the perfect man for the job, and he was welcomed generously by the California Republican party.
The style of Nixon's first campaign set the tone for the early part of his political career, where he achieved fame as a devout anti-Communist. He accused CongressmanVoorhis of being a communist, and even went so far to have campaign workers make anonymous calls to voters stating the fact and advising that a vote for Nixon was therefore the best move. Nixon defeated Voorhis with sixty percent of the vote, and upon taking his seat in Congress, he became the junior member of the House Committee on un-American Activities. Nixon's pursuit of Alger Hiss, a former adviser to Franklin Roosevelt and one of the organizers of the United Nations, brought him national exposure. Hiss had been accused of being a communist and of transmitting secret Department documents to the Soviets, and though many believed him innocent, Nixon fiercely pushed the case forward, eventually getting Hiss convicted of perjury and jailed. At the age of thirty five, Nixon was a national figure, and he used this fame to an easy victory in his senate race against three-term Congresswoman Helen Ga hagan Douglas in 1950, once again adopting a communist-bashing campaign.
He accused Ms. Douglas, who opposed the un-American Activities Committee, of being "pink right down to her underwear." In return, Douglas gave Nixon his long-time nickname, "Tricky Dick." Nixon was in the US Senate for a year-and-a-half when the Republican national convention selected him to be General Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate. Much of Nixon's success had been built on the political destroying of his Democratic foes, and Nixon was expected to do much of the dirty work of campaigning. Nixon performed his task admirably, casting doubt on the abilities and patriotism of his and Eisenhower " democratic opponent, Adlai Stevenson. Nixon had to face close scrutiny during the campaign, and when the New York Post announced that he had received secret campaign contributions from wealthy sources, he was nearly pushed of the ticket.
Instead of giving up, Nixon went on national, prime-time television and appealed directly to the voters. He delivered what has come to be known as the "Checkers Speech," showing his financial situation and saying that he was not a wealthy man. The only contribution he claimed to have kept was a dog named Checkers. The speech was a huge success. Nixon remained on the ticket and became vice-president when Eisenhower crushed Stevenson. When Eisenhower was to run again in 1956, Nixon's presence on the ticket was not assured; however, Nixon pressured the president into making a decision, and the Republican ticket once again had Richard Milhous Nixon as the vice-presidential candidate.
In the second campaign, Nixon moved away form his muck-raking, communist-bashing techniques, and the press began speaking of a "New Nixon." Because of Eisenhower's apparent support, Nixon considered by many the Republican heir, and he became more active in his second term. Eisenhower sent him on tours of South America, where his motorcade was spat upon and attacked, and the Soviet Union, where Nixon challenged Nikita Khruschev to an impromptu debate, known as the "Kitchen Debates." Nixon was unanimously nominated at the Republican convention in 1960, and only fourteen years after running for office, he was on election away form presidency. Many were confident of Nixon's ability to win the election easily, being a national figure running against the young, inexperienced John F. Kennedy. Kennedy took advantage of modern campaigning techniques, which employed the television more than personal contact, and he was given a big push by the first-ever televised presidential debates. The attractive, charming Kennedy came off strong, confident, and in control, while Nixon, who refused to wear make-up, looked gaunt, almost ghost-like.
The election was down to the wire, with Kennedy winning by only 100, 000 votes nationwide. Some of the most crucial votes came in Cook County, Illinois, which was controlled by party boss Richard Daley, and many suspected election fraud, but Nixon refused to demand a recount, stating that it would be political suicide if he lost. Nixon ran for governor of California in 1962, but he had never been a locally active politician and his years in Washington had made him out of touch in California. he lost to incumbent Pat Brown.
Disappointed, he took a job as a Wall Street Lawyer, but soon tired of private life and took a campaign trail in 1966, preaching successfully for Republican congressional candidates and bringing himself once again into the heart of republican party affairs. After a grueling four-continent world tour during which he familiarized himself with foreign affairs, Nixon was back in the electoral race again, running for president a second time in 1968. Nixon avoided the tricky issue of the Vietnam War, stating that he would fine an "honorable end" to the war. The Democrats split over many issues, brought Nixon to a close victory over Hubert Humphrey. Why Did I Choose This Person? At First, I did not know much about Richard Nixon and his political career. Truthfully, the reason I picked him was because I had heard of the many scandals he was noted for.
By far it was the toil in Nixon's presidency that made him famous. Nixon pledged that he would bring America together as president, but his margin of victory had been slim and based on white, middle-class voters. As president, he concentrated on foreign affairs, hoping to bring about a generation of peace and new world order. Chief of Staff H. R.
Haldeman and JohnErhlichman, Nixon's closest advisors, handled much of domestic policy, leaving Nixon to concentrate on foreign policy. Nixon often by-passed the Defense and State Departments, instead working closely with National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, a former Harvard professor and newcomer to official foreign policy. The Vietnam War was the major obstacle to the new president. Even before his inauguration, Nixon had Kissinger speak in secret with North Vietnam, hoping a speedy America withdrawal from Vietnam.
Nixon announced replacement of American forces with South Vietnamese, planning to have all American troops out of Vietnam by the end of 1970. Changing his mind, Nixon pledged not to back down, and in early 1970 escalated the war, authorizing bombings on North Vietnam and attacks on Cambodia. After his reelection, Nixon again ordered an increase in bombings. Two weeks after the bombings began, Nixon announced that peace negotiations were soon to resume, and by January 28, 1973, a cease fire was established that allowed the removal of the remaining 23, 700 troops and end its twelve-year military involvement...
Nixon is remembered for is foreign policy achievements, despite his failure to bring an "honorable" end to the Vietnam War, and Kissinger's inability to end the Middle East tensions that were brought on by Israel's victory over Arab countries in the Six-Day War of 1967. Perhaps this notoriety is based on the fact that Nixon was one of the few presidents in American history who practiced foreign policy by design, setting certain goals and moving on. He became the first US president to visit the Soviet Union. He traveled to Moscow in May of 1972. He sought peace with Russia and negotiated with the Soviet Union to limit nuclear weapons, which resulted in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). At the same time, he was making secret contact with the People " s Republic of China, which he visited publicly in February, 1972, opening official diplomatic relations with China for the first time since the communist takeover in 1949.
Despite the final peaceful outcome of the Vietnam situation, and his accomplishments overseas, Nixon's anti-war movement had ignited domestic upheavals, including the shooting of fifteen students at a Kent State anti-war demonstration. The public dissatisfaction with the president brought out Nixon's insecurity and his "dark side." This led Nixon to form the Special Investigations Unit, known as the "plumbers," an outfit illegally equipped by the CIA. They were sent on missions to discredit Democratic opponents. He also made the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which controlled $60 million, violating campaign laws, and funded tapping the phone of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Nixon did not need this help to get reelected in 1972, as he faces a split Democratic party. Nixon won the election with 60.
7 percent of the vote, but many revelations in 1973 hurt Nixon's presidency and brought him to resign. The involvement of the CIA, under Nixon's direction, in a military plot to overthrow Chile's Salvador Allende was exposed, and Vice-president Agnew was forced to resign when it was revealed that he had cheated on his income taxes and had taken more than $100, 000 in payoffs from contractors between 1966 to 1972. The IRS also disclosed that Nixon himself owed more than $400, 000 in back taxes and penalties, and critics pointed out that the Nixon administration had raised subsidies to milk producers, who then donated over a half-million dollars to the Republican party. The final blow came when Nixon's involvement in the plumbers' Watergate burglary was revealed by investigative reporters. Nixon's involvement was documented on audio tapes of White House conversations, which Nixon refused to turn over to investigators.
Nixon cited "executive privilege" and national security as reasons for keeping the tapes, but his appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected. Days later, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach the president on three counts. Nixon finally released the incriminating tapes, and over the next few days both Republican and Democratic Senators, enough to get a conviction, indicated that they would vote against the president if articles of impeachment were offered by the House. On August 9, 1974, before the House could vote to impeach him, Nixon resigned the presidency, the first incumbent ever to do so. Nixon was succeeded by Gerald Ford, the man he had appointed to replace Spiro Agnew as Vice-president. Soon after taking office Ford granted Nixon a pardon for any crimes he might have committed as president.
Unlike some of his aides, Nixon never went to jail. After resigning the presidency, Nixon sought to portray himself as an elder statesman. He then published five books on US foreign policy. By the 1990 s, much of the scandal had been forgotten, and Nixon was once again hailed as a genius of foreign policy and jokingly considered a possible Republican presidential candidate. T-shirts appeared bearing the motto "He's tan, he's rested, and he's ready: Nixon in '92." Sadly on April 22, 1994, at the age of 81, Richard Milhous Nixon died of a sever stroke, but I suggest to you: today, if Nixon were living he might be president. In my opinion, I have no sympathy for Nixon because he had to take responsibility for his actions.
Even though his actions were very devastating to his image and ego, Believe that Nixon's huge popularity, due to his genius in foreign affairs, would still make him a Republican candidate if he were still alive today. Even though Nixon would be almost 89 years old, a mind only enriches with wisdom over time. Interview Question 1: Do you believe the Watergate scandal had any positive outcomes? Answer 1: "I have my regrets, but I believe the Watergate scandal severely shook the faith of the American people in the presidency. Also, it turned out to be a supreme test for U. S. Constitution.
Throughout the ordeal, the constitutional system of checks and balances worked to prevent abuses, as the Founding Fathers had intended. Watergatepositvely showed that in a nation of laws no one is above the law, not even the president." Question 2: How was your "ordeal" dubbed the Watergate scandal? Answer 2: "The burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic Party's campaign headquarters was located at the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington, D. C." Question 3: Answer 3: Final Thoughts I believe it is possible to see the life of Richard Nixon as a long, relentless effort to " change those attitudes by excellence, personal gut performance." It's easy to say, and it often is said, that had Nixon come clean about in the beginning, when he had no direct responsibility, the affair would quickly have blown over and he would have survived. That may be true, but it ignores the fact that the man Richard Nixon was by 1972 couldn't come clean.
What actual excesses or even crimes he might have believed he had to cover up are still a matter of speculation; but with his view of life as battle and crisis as challenge, his determination to prove his worth, particularly to himself, his reluctance to show weakness -- for all those reasons, it would have been impossible for Nixon to do anything but fight back, stand fast, 'stonewall' his enemies. The permanent marks Richard Nixon left on American history are Watergate and his resignation from the presidency before he could be impeached. Those events cause many to believe him an evil man who schemed to overthrow the Constitution; they cause others to consider him a victim of the press, the Democrats, even the CIA. And looking back at Watergate, many Americans can not see beyond it the achievements of a president who often responded to the pressures of his time with knowledge and skill and sometimes even with courage, qualities the American people do not find in most of their leaders today.