- NAME: Richard Nixon
- OCCUPATION: U.S. President
- BIRTH DATE: January 09, 1913
- DEATH DATE: April 22, 1994
- EDUCATION: Whittier College, Duke University School of Law
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Yorba Linda, California
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Richard Milhous Nixon
- AKA: Richard M. Nixon
- Nickname: "Tricky Dick"
- AKA: Richard Nixon
- Nickname: "Red Hunter"
- Nickname: "Slick Rick"
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Richard Nixon was the 37th U.S. president and the only commander-in-chief to resign from his position, after the 1970s Watergate scandal.
Richard Nixon - Personality (2:25)
An inside look at how Richard Nixon's personality came to bear on his presidency and his legacy.
Richard Nixon served as Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower and was the Republican Nominee for President in 1960. He was elected President in 1968, won re-election in 1972, and resigned in 1974 after the Watergate scandal.
Learn about the circumstances that lead to the famous Watergate scandal.
Learn about the famous Watergate scandal and how it could be traced back to President Richard Nixon.
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By 1968, the nation was openly agonizing over the war in Vietnam, not only on college campuses, but in mainstream media. In February, newscaster Walter Cronkite took an almost unprecedented (for him) position offering commentary on his recent trip to Vietnam, stating that he felt victory was not possible and that the war would end in a stalemate. President Lyndon Johnson lamented, "If I've lost Cronkite,
I've lost the nation." The anti-war protest continued. Richard Nixon's campaign stayed above the fray portraying him as a figure of stability and appealing to what he referred to as the "silent majority" of social conservatives who were the steady foundation of the American public.
Richard Nixon was able to construct a coalition of Southern and Western conservatives during the campaign. In exchange for their support, he promised to appoint "strict constructionists" to the federal judiciary and selected a running mate acceptable to the South, Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew. The two waged an immensely effective media campaign with well orchestrated commercials and public appearances. They attacked Democrats for the nation's high crime rate and a perceived surrender of nuclear superiority to the Soviets. For a time, the Democrats still held the high-ground in the polls, but the assassination of presidential contender Robert Kennedy and a self-destructive nominating convention in Chicago, where Vice President Hubert Humphrey was nominated, weakened their chances. During the entire election campaign, Nixon portrayed a "calm amidst the storm" persona. He promised a "peace with honor" conclusion to the war in Vietnam, a restoration of America's preeminence over the Soviets and a return to conservative values.
In a three-way race between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and independent candidate George Wallace, Nixon won the election by nearly 500,000 votes. He was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States on January 20, 1969.
Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck once called politics "the art of the possible." But a more pragmatic description was offered by U.S. economist John Kenneth Galbraith who said, politics "consists of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable." Nixon experienced both in domestic policies. Nixon needed to appease the Southern partners in his election coalition and address Court ordered bussing to reduce segregation. He offered a practical solution he called "New Federalism" -- locally controlled desegregation. Across the South, the Nixon administration established biracial committees to plan and implement school desegregation. The program was well accepted by the states and by the end of 1970 only about 18 percent of black children in the South were attending all-black schools down from 70 percent in 1968.
As president, Richard Nixon also increased the number of female appointments in his administration, despite opposition from many in his administration. He created a Presidential Task Force on Women's Rights, requested the Department of Justice bring sex-discrimination suits against blatant violators and ordered Department of Labor to add sex discrimination guidelines to all federal contracts.
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