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President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
from the National Archives

Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States.

Served as President: 1969-1974
Vice President: Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford
Party: Republican
Age at inauguration: 56

Born: January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California
Died: April 22, 1994 in New York, New York

Married: Patricia Ryan Nixon
Children: Patricia, Julie
Nickname: Tricky Dick


What is Richard M. Nixon most known for?

Richard Nixon is most known for being the only president to resign from office as a result of the Watergate Scandal. He is also known for ending the Vietnam War and improving U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China.

Growing Up

Richard Nixon grew up the son of a grocer in Southern California. His family was poor and he had a fairly difficult childhood that included two of his brothers dying from illness. Richard was smart, though, and wanted to go to college. He paid his way through Whittier College working nights at his father's grocery store. He enjoyed debate, sports, and drama while in college. He also earned a full scholarship to attend Duke University Law School in North Carolina.
Richard Nixon with Chairman Mao
President Nixon meets with Mao Tse-Tung
from the White House Photo Office

After graduating from Duke, Richard moved back home and began practicing law. When World War II broke out, he joined the navy and served in the Pacific theatre of the war where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before leaving the Navy in 1946.

Before He Became President

After leaving the Navy, Nixon decided to enter politics. He first ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and won a seat in the 1946 elections. Four years later he ran for Senate and won that election as well. Nixon gained a reputation in congress for being anti-communist. This made him popular with the public.

Vice President

In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Richard Nixon to be his running mate for president. Nixon served as Eisenhower's vice president for 8 years where he was one of the most active vice president's in U.S. history.

In many ways Nixon redefined the job of vice president doing far more than other vice presidents before him. He attended National Security and cabinet meetings and even ran several of these meetings when Eisenhower was unable to attend. When Eisenhower had a heart attack and was unable to work for six weeks, Nixon effectively ran the country. Nixon also helped shepherd legislation such as The Civil Rights Act of 1957 through congress and traveled the world conducting foreign affairs.

Nixon ran for president in 1960 and lost to John F. Kennedy. He then tried to run for governor of California and lost. He retired from politics after that and went to work on Wall Street in New York. In 1968 Nixon ran for president again, this time he won.

Richard M. Nixon's Presidency

Although Nixon's presidency will forever be marked by the Watergate scandal, there were many other major events and accomplishments during his presidency. They included:

In 1972 five men were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate buildings in Washington D.C. It turned out that these men were working for the Nixon administration. Nixon denied any knowledge of the break-in. He said that his employees had done this without his permission. However, later tapes were discovered that had recorded Nixon discussing the break-ins. He clearly had knowledge of them and had lied.

The congress was getting ready to impeach Nixon and it was believed that the Senate had the votes to kick him out of office. Instead of going through a brutal trial, Nixon resigned and vice president Gerald Ford became president.
Portrait of Richard Nixon - 37th US President
Richard Nixon
by James Anthony Wills

How did he die?

Nixon died from a stroke in 1994. There were five presidents present at his funeral including Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford.

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