- 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"
Best Known For
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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Some of President Nixon's well-intentioned domestic policies under the New Federalism clashed with the Democratic controlled Congress and were fraught with unintended consequences. A case in point was the Family Assistance Plan. The program called for replacing bureaucratically administered programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps and Medicaid, with direct cash payments to those in need,
including single-parent families and the working poor. Conservatives disliked the plan for guaranteeing an annual income to people who didn't work; the labor movement saw it as a threat to the minimum wage; and federal caseworkers saw FAP as a threat to their jobs. Many Americans complained that the addition of the working poor would expand the welfare program rather than reduce it.
Though initially not showing much interest in environmental concerns, after the 1970 Earth Day with millions of demonstrations across the country, President Richard Nixon sensed a political opportunity and a need. He pushed for the Clean Air Act of 1970 and established two new agencies, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. Keeping true to his New Federalism principles of less government and fiscal responsibility, Nixon insisted that all environmental proposals met the cost-benefit standards of the Office of Management and Budget. In 1972, he vetoed the Clean Water Act (which he generally supported) because Congress had boosted its cost to $18 billion. Congress overrode his veto and in retaliation, Nixon used his presidential powers to impound half the money.
Richard Nixon often adopted a stance of confrontation rather than of conciliation and compromise. In his ambition to push through his agenda, he sought to consolidate power within the presidency and took the attitude that the executive branch was exempt for many of the checks and balances imposed by the Constitution. This attitude would later turn on him during the Watergate scandal.
Though achieving some success in domestic politics, most of President Richard Nixon's first term was dominated by foreign affairs and, most notably, the Vietnam War. His administration successfully negotiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, designed to deter the Soviet Union from launching a first strike. Nixon re-established American influence in the Middle East and pressured allies to take more responsibility for their own defense.
With the assistance of his brilliant but taciturn national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, Nixon was able to achieve détente with China and the Soviet Union, playing one off against the other. Since the mid-1960s, tensions between China and its main ally, the USSR, increased causing a breach in their relationship by 1969. Nixon sensed an opportunity to shift the Cold War balance of power towards the West. He sent secret messages to Chinese officials to open a dialogue.
In December 1970, President Nixon reduced trade restrictions against China and silenced anti-China voices with the White House.
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