Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America, was born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda in Southern California to Francis A. and Hannah Milhous Nixon. Nixon had a very rough childhood. Due to the illness of Richard’s brother, his mother was rarely around. Richard’s father was a very loud man who would beat his sons and enjoyed arguing with everyone, especially when it came to politics. Richard had to help out at the family gas station and grocery store while he was a college student.
Nixon grew up harboring resentment toward people who were born into families and privileged and could trade on their social connections. Nixon attended Duke University and graduated from law school there. After graduating, Nixon applied to become an agent with the FBI and was rejected. He was also rejected when he applied to various major law firms. Eventually, Nixon found a job in a small law firm in Southern California. Nixon served as a Naval Officer during World War II. Afterward, he began to climb up the political ladder.
He began by first serving in the U. S. House of Representatives and then in the Senate. Throughout Nixon’s career, he used smear-politics to gain victory by viciously attacking his opponents. He used the public’s fear of communism during the Cold War years to his advantage by accusing several of his political enemies of being soft on communism. In 1952, President Eisenhower agreed to allow Nixon to serve as his running mate although he never really liked him. This was because Nixon would help Eisenhower win California. Six weeks before the election, a bombshell was dropped on the campaign.
An illegal secret political fund of Nixon’s was discovered and publicized. Although Nixon was encouraged to withdraw from the ticket, he, instead, went on television and delivered a speech not about receiving bribes or money but about a little dog that his daughter had named Checkers. Eisenhower was convinced to keep Nixon on the ticket when he heard of the positive response of the American people to the “Checkers Speech. ” Eisenhower and Nixon later won the 1952 election by a massive landslide. In 1956, Nixon was, once again, on the Republican ticket as the vice-presidential candidate.
During his second term, Nixon became more active. Eisenhower sent him on tours of South America and the Soviet Union. In 1960, Nixon was unanimously nominated to run for the presidency. Many people were very confident in Nixon’s ability to win the election quite easily because his opponent, John F. Kennedy, was little known nationally and had a reputation as a playboy in Washington circles. However, Kennedy took advantage of the new, modern campaigning techniques and used the television more than personal contact.
The presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy was the first one ever televised. Kennedy came off as very strong, confident, and appeared to be in control. Nixon, on the other hand, refused to wear make-up and appeared haggard and almost ghost-like. The election of 1960 was one of the closest in history with Kennedy winning by only 100,000 votes nationwide. In 1962, Nixon ran for governor of California. He ended up losing soundly to Pat Brown. After this loss, Nixon made a comment at a press conference that “you don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.
Nixon claimed that the press conference was going to be his last. He then took a job as a Wall Street lawyer but returned to campaigning in 1966. In 1968, Nixon was running for the presidency for the second time. Nixon pretty much avoided speaking about the issue of the Vietnam War. The only thing that he had to say was that he would find an “honorable end” to the war. The Democrats, however, were badly split over the war and pretty much tore themselves apart. Nixon eventually gained a close victory over Hubert Humphrey.
Upon gaining the presidency, Nixon focused more on foreign affairs than he did on the affairs of the United States. Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman and John Erhlichman handled most of the domestic policies and tried to shield Nixon from many of the trivial daily details of the administration. The Vietnam War was the major obstacle in the new president’s designs and was the thing that destroyed his predecessor. Before Nixon was even inaugurated, he had Henry Kissinger engaging in secret peace talk with North Vietnam ih hopes of speeding up American withdrawl from Vietnam.
Eventually, on January 28, 1973, a cease-fire was established and the United States was allowed to remove its 23,7000 trooped and end its twelve-year involvement in Vietnam. Domestically, Nixon opposed federal welfare services. He also implemented the New Economic Policy, which called for a ten percent tax on many imported goods, a repeal of certain excise taxes, tax breaks for industries undertaking new investment, and a ninety-day freeze on wages, prices, and dividends designed to halt inflation.
Initially, these policies were successful but inflation once again began to accelerate and the cost of living began to rise again, which negatively impacted many segments of American society. Despite the finally peaceful outcome of the Vietnam situation, and all of his diplomatic accomplishments, Nixon’s vicious, unrelenting policies and his blatant scoffing of the anti-war movement had triggered some serious domestic upheavals. One example of which would be the shooting of fifteen students at a Kent State anti-war demonstration. The public was visible dissatisfied with the president from around 1970 on.
This only made Nixon’s insecurity grow. It was this paranoia that led Nixon to form the Special Investigations Unit, which was also known as the “plumbers. ” This outfit was illegally equipped by the CIA and sent on missions to embarrass and discredit any potential Democratic opponents. Nixon also form an outfit names the Committee to RE-elect the President (CREEP), which collected $60 million, much of which was in violation of existing campaign laws, and disbursed funds for “dirty tricks” which included tapping the phone of the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Agents of the plumbers were involved in the tapping of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D. C. Agents employed by officials of CREEP were arrested at the Watergate on June 17, 1972. This event occurred only four months before the election and prompted Nixon and his leading aides to cover-up White House and CREEP involvement in Watergate. On June 23, Nixon approved a plan that included promises of clemency and the payment of “hush money” to the men arrested at Watergate in order to divert the blame from himself. This plan, however, did not work.
Some of the people found guilty of performing illegal acts, not just Watergate, included Nixon’s chief of staff, his chief domestic adviser, two attorney generals, three White House counsels, his personal attorney, his campaign finance chairman, his deputy campaign manager, and his appointments secretary. Nixon was re-elected in 1972 by beating George McGovern. Nixon received 60. 7 percent of the vote. Soon after, in 1973, 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 and 1972.
Nixon’s last 16 months in office were plagued by legal defeats and personal humiliations. After it was learned that Nixon had tapes of conversations that later incriminated himself and others, he fought to keep the tapes from the prosecutors but failed. Nixon’s reputation was also damaged by the tapes revealing that he wanted to get revenge on a number of “enemies. ” The Internal Revenue Service also assessed Nixon nearly $300,000 in back taxes. On July 27, the House Committee on the Judiciary approved three articles of impeachment against him involving obstruction of justice and the abuse of presidential power.
“Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office,” the first article concluded, “engaged personally and through his subordinates and agents in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede and obstruct investigations . . . to cover-up, conceal and protect those responsible and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful activities. ” The second article charged Nixon with using the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and IRS to harass opponents of the administration. It also charged him with maintaining “a secret investigative unit within the office of the President” that “engaged in covert and unlawful activities.
The third accused him of obstruction of justice for refusing to cooperate with Congress in the inquiry. The Democrats and a small group of Republicans on the committee approved all of the articles of impeachment. The House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee issued a report in which they concluded that “the charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice . . . may be taken as substantially confessed by Mr. Nixon. ” They agreed with Democrats on the committee that Nixon had “committed certain acts for which he should have been impeached and removed from office. ”
On August 8 at 8:00 in the evening, Nixon addressed the nation. He announced that he would be resigning from the office of president and it would be going into effect at noon on August 9, 1974. Nixon was the first president in American history to resign his office. Gerald Ford assumed the presidency after Nixon’s resignation, telling Americans that “our long national nightmare is over. ” Ford subsequently pardoned Nixon of all crimes associated with the Watergate scandal. This act angered many of the nation’s citizens and was a significant factor in Ford’s failure to be re-elected in 1976.
Nixon resigned from the California bar, but was disbarred in New York, which prevented him from practicing law. In 1974, Nixon almost died from a blood clot. After this, Nixon’s luck seemed to get better. He received a large fee for authoring his memoirs. He also gave an interview to television personality David Frost for $750,000. Nixon died from complications of a stroke on April 22, 1994 in New York City. His funeral drew people from around the globe. These people included every president who was still living.
A Eulogy was given by President Clinton in which he dwelled on Nixon’s great accomplishments, particularly in foreign affairs, rather than on his constitutional crimes such as those pertaining to the Watergate scandal. Summary Richard Milhous Nixon’s life started out being kind of tough but he eventually went on to be able to do great things such as becoming the President of the United States of America. Throughout his life, Richard Nixon did many things that were very great and very impressive but he was also responsible for doing many things that were definitely not so great and impressive.
Nixon had a very impressive career when it came to foreign affairs but his career was far less impressive when you look at what was happening in the United States. If Nixon hadn’t been quite so paranoid and insecure in his own abilities, he would have made a far better president. After all, it was his paranoia and his insecurities that led him to forming the “plumbers” and to authorizing the things that ended up going on at the Watergate complex, which eventually led to his resignation from the Presidency.