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Richard Milhous Nixon

Nixon, Richard Milhous (1913–94), 37th president of the United States, who became the only president to resign from office. On Aug. 9, 1974, facing impeachment in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Nixon surrendered the presidency. AlthoughNixon's presidency ended in disgrace, he effected important breakthroughs in U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Chinese relations. In addition, in 1973, Nixon signed the ceasefire agreement that ended U.S. participation in the Vietnam War.

Early life

Nixon was graduated from Whittier College in 1934, went to Duke University Law School, and then returned to Whittier to practice law. During World War II he served in the navy.


Nixon entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1947. Reelected in 1948, he became well known nationally as a member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In 1950, Nixon won election to the U.S. Senate. From 1953 to 1961, he served as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1960, Nixon won the Republican nomination for president, but lost the election to Democrat John F. Kennedy. He suffered another defeat in 1962, when he lost a bid for the governorship of California. In 1968, Nixon ran for president a second time. This time, he was successful; in an extremely close race, Nixon defeated the Democratic candidate, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey.


Nixon inherited a nation troubled by serious social and economic problems. The Vietnam War was a source of turmoil and anguish throughout's first term. The war had been going on for years, with mounting casualties and no end in sight. Many Americans were opposed to the war and held protests and rallies demanding an end to the U.S. role in the fighting. In 1969, Nixon, who had pledged to seek an end to the war, began a program of gradually withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam. U.S. military action in Vietnam did not end until 1973, however, when the United States and the other parties in conflict agreed to a ceasefire plan.

In addition to the social upheaval caused by the war, Nixonhad to deal with economic worries: rising unemployment, rampant inflation, and sluggish growth. To address these problems, he instituted a system of government-imposed controls on prices and wages.

In 1972, President Nixon visited China and the USSR and met with the leaders of both countries. He was the first U.S. president to do so. The historic meetings improved troubled relations between the United States and the 2 Communist nations.

Nixon's foreign policy achievements helped him to win reelection in 1972. However, soon after the election, national attention turned to the so-called Watergate scandal. On June 17, 1972, burglars carrying wiretapping equipment had broken into the Democratic national party headquarters in the Watergate buildings in Washington, D.C. Although the burglars were members of 's 1972 reelection committee, Nixondenied any White House involvement in the crime. Later investigations revealed, however, that top White House aides had been involved both in planning the break-in and trying to hide evidence concerning it. Ultimately, tapes of White House conversations would prove that Nixon himself had authorized the cover-up. Nixon tried repeatedly to withhold these tapes. He finally released them on Aug. 5, 1974, after being ordered to do so by the U.S. Supreme Court. With this new evidence, Nixon 's impeachment, already under consideration in Congress, became virtually certain. Nixonresigned from office on Aug. 9th, 1974. Since leaving office he has spent most of his time golfing, writing, and making some public appearances. In 1978 he published hi s memoirs, RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon.


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