- 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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Thought defense spending declined almost in half, government benefits to American citizens rose from a little over 6 percent to nearly 9 percent. Food aid and public assistance escalated $6.6 billion to $9.1 billion. To control increasing inflation and unemployment, Nixon imposed temporary wage and price controls which achieved marginal success, but by the end of 1972, inflation returned with a vengeance, reaching 8.8 percent in 1973, and 12.2 percent in 1974.
With the war in Vietnam winding down, Richard Nixon defeated his Democratic challenger, liberal Senator George McGovern, in a landslide victory receiving almost 20 million more popular votes and winning the Electoral College vote 520 to 17. Nixon looked invincible in his victory. It seems odd, in retrospect, that his re-election campaign, the Committee to Re-Elect the President (also known as CREEP) was so concerned about Democrats opposition that it reverted to political sabotage and covert espionage. Public opinion polls during the campaign indicated President Nixon had an overwhelming lead. The entry of independent candidate George Wallace ensured some Democratic support would be taken from McGovern in the South. And for most of the American public, Senator McGovern's policies were just too extreme.
During the campaign in June, 1972, rumors began to circulate about White House involvement in a seemingly isolated burglary of the Democratic National Election Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Initially, Richard Nixon downplayed the scandal as just politics. By 1973, the investigation (initiated by two cub-reporters for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein) had mushroomed into a full scale inquest. White House officials denied the press's reporting as biased and misleading. But the FBI eventually confirmed that Nixon aids had attempted to sabotage the Democrats during the election, and many resigned in the face of criminal prosecution.
A Senate committee under Senator Sam Ervin soon began to hold hearings. Eventually, White House Counsel John Dean gave evidence that the scandal went all the way to the White House, including the ordering a cover-up of the scandal. Nixon continued to declare his innocence, repeatedly denying previous knowledge about the campaign sabotage and claiming to have learned about the cover-up in early 1973.
In an emotional televised press conference in November, 1973, where he declared "I'm not a crook." However, the President refused to release and information on the scandal, claiming executive privilege. These included White House tape recordings that allegedly revealed details of CREEP's plans to sabotage political opponents and disrupt the FBI's investigation. Facing increased political pressure, Nixon released 1200 pages of transcripts of conversations between him and White House aides, but refused to release all the tape recordings.
The House Judiciary Committee, controlled by Democrats, opened impeachment hearings against the president in May 1974. In July, the Supreme Court denied Richard Nixon's claim of executive privilege and ruled that all the tape recordings must be released to the special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski.
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