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Biography of Richard Millhouse Nixon

Powerful Essays
Biography of Richard Millhouse Nixon

Richard Millhouse Nixon, 37th president of the United States (1969-1972) was born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California. Nixon was one of the most controversial politicians of the twentieth century. He built his political career on the communist scare of the late forties and early fifties, but as president he achieved détente with the Soviet Union and opened relations with the People's Republic of China. His administration occurred during the domestic upheavals brought on by the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. He was re-elected in 1972 by an overwhelming margin, but less than two years later, he was forced to become the first man to resign the presidency amid the scandal and shame of Watergate. He staged a difficult political comeback in 1968, after purportedly retiring from politics, and by the end of his life, he had shed some of the scourge of Watergate and was again a respected elder statesman, largely because of his record on foreign policy. He died on February 22, 1994. His writings include three autobiographical works, Six Crises (1962), RN: the Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978), and In the Arena (1990).

Early Political Career

Nixon came from a southern-California Quaker family, where hard work and integrity were deeply rooted and heavily emphasized. Always a good student, he was invited by Harvard and Yale to apply for scholarships, but his older brother's illness and the Depression made his presence close to home necessary, and he was attended nearby Whittier College, where he graduated second in his class in 1934. He went on to law school at Duke University, where his seriousness and determination won him the nickname "Gloomy Gus." He graduated third in his class and applied for jobs with both large Northeastern law firms and the FBI His applications were all rejected, however, and he was forced to go home to southern California, where his mother helped get him a job at a friend's local law firm.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Nixon went to work briefly for the tire-rationing section the Office of Price Administration in Washington, DC, and eight months later, he joined the Navy and was sent to the Pacific as a supply officer. He was popular with his men, and such an accomplished poker player that he was able to send enough of his comrades-in-arms' money back home to help fund his fir...

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...he 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 published and five books on US foreign policy: The Real War (1980), Real Peace (1983), No More Vietnams (1985), 1999: Victory without War (1988), Seize the Moment (1992), and Beyond Peace (1994). By the 1990s, much of the scandal had been forgotten, and Nixon was again hailed as a genius of foreign policy and jokingly considered a possible Republican presidential candidate. T-shirts and bumperstickers appeared bearing the motto "He's tan, he's rested, and he's ready: Nixon in '92."

References

Aitken, Jonathan. Nixon, A Life. Regnery Publishing, 1993

Ambrose, Stephen E. Nixon : The Education of a Politician, 1913-1962. Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Genovese, Michael A. The Nixon Presidency: Power and Politics in Turbulent Times. Greenwood Press, 1990

Hoff-Wilson, Joan. Nixon Reconsidered. BasicBooks, 1994.

WGBH Boston. Nixon (videorecording). PBS Video, 1990.
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