Richard M. Nixon Quote
In the television age, the key distinction is between the candidate who can speak poetry and the one who can only speak prose.
Richard M. Nixon
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnit...
Nixon was born into a poor family of Quakers in a small town in Southern California. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1937, practiced law in California, and then moved with his wife Pat to Washington, DC in 1942 to work for the federal government. After active duty in the Naval Reserve during World War II, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. His work on the Alger Hiss case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, which elevated him to national prominence, and in 1950, he was elected to the Senate. Nixon was the running mate of Eisenhower, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in the 1952 election, and served for eight years as the vice president. He ran for president in 1960, narrowly lost to John F. Kennedy, then failed again in a 1962 race for governor of California, after which it was widely believed that his political career was over. However, in 1968, he made another run for the presidency and was elected, defeating Hubert Humphrey by less than one percentage point in the popular vote, as well as defeating third-party candidate George Wallace.
Nixon ended American involvement in Vietnam combat in 1973 and the military draft in the same year. His visit to China in 1972 eventually led to diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he also then concluded the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union. Domestically, Nixon pushed for the Controlled Substances Act and began the war on drugs. Nixon's first term took place at the height of the American environmental movement and enacted many progressive environmental policy shifts; his administration created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed legislation such as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Acts, and the Clean Water Acts (although he vetoed the final version of the CWA). He implemented the ratified Twenty-sixth Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, and enforced the desegregation of Southern schools. Under Nixon, relations with Native Americans improved, seeing an increase in self-determination for Native Americans and his administration rescinded the termination policy. Nixon imposed wage and price controls for 90 days, began the war on cancer, and presided over the Apollo 11 Moon landing, which signaled the end of the Space Race. He was re-elected with a historic electoral landslide in 1972 when he defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern.
In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, a conflict which led to the oil crisis at home. From 1973, ongoing revelations leading from the Nixon administration's involvement in Watergate eroded his support in Congress and the country. Nixon and senior members of his administration were found to have weaponized government agencies against his enemies, among much other wrongdoing. On August 9, 1974, facing almost certain impeachment and removal from office, Nixon resigned from the presidency. Afterwards, he was issued a pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford.
During nearly 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote his memoirs and nine other books. He undertook many foreign trips, attempting to rehabilitate his image into that of an elder statesman and leading expert on foreign affairs. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994 and died four days later. Evaluations of his presidency have proven complex, with its successes contrasted against the circumstances of his departure.