Following the election of 1969, the incoming Nixon administration inherited many immediate challenges from its predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson. The Vietnam war was entering its fourth year, and over 31, 000 American troops had been killed. At that time, 540, 000 American soldiers were currently stationed in North Veit nam, and no progress had been made at peace negotiations in Paris. The nation would further divide itself following the assassinations of Anti-war activists Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy in 1968 and a rising rate of inflation. Nixon's administration implemented an effective foreign and domestic agenda which regulated price controls, opened diplomatic relations with China, signed a National Environmental Policy Act, withdrew troops from South Vietnam and arguably ended the Cold war with signing of the SALT I agreements.

However, the success of the Nixon administration will never be truly appreciated, as many of these accomplishments are now understood to be motivated by a desire to prolong his political career. Therefore, Nixon's policy of political scandal as a legitimate means to mobilize political support will forever define the for mar Navy commander's rise and subsequent resignation. Throughout Nixon term, the president was directly involved in the secret bombing of Cambodia, surveillance of Americans involved in anti-Vietnam war activities, violations of campaign regulations and laws in the 1972 presidential election, reports of improper influence by ITT Corp. on the location of the future Republican National Convention and Nixon's fluctuating decisions on milk price supports that amounted to a shakedown for campaign funds prior to the notorious Watergate affair.