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Politician & Activist

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon was an American Politian and served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 until 1974.

He also served as the nation’s 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961, he came to national prominence as a representative and senator from California.

He was the only commander-in-chief to resign from his position, after the 1970s Watergate scandal.

  • Full name: Richard Milhous Nixon
  • Born: 9 January 1913, Yorba Linda, California, United States
  • Died: 22 April 1994, NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital
  • Height: 1.8 m
  • Presidential term: 20 January 1969 – 9 August 1974
  • Spouse: Pat Nixon (m. 1940–1993)
  • Vice presidents: Spiro Agnew (1969–1973), Gerald Ford (1973–1974)

About Richard Nixon

Nixon was born on 9 January 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, United States. Nixon was the second of five children born to Frank Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon.

His father was a service station owner and grocer, who also owned a small lemon farm in Yorba Linda. His mother was a Quaker who exerted a strong influence on her son.

Nixon’s early life was hard, as he characterized by saying, “We were poor, but the glory of it was we didn’t know it.” The family experienced tragedy twice early in Nixon’s life: His younger brother died in 1925 after a short illness, and in 1933, his older brother, whom he greatly admired, died of tuberculosis.

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Nixon attended Fullerton High School but later transferred to Whittier High School, where he ran for student body president (but lost to a more popular student).

Nixon graduated high school second in his class and was offered a scholarship to Harvard, but his family couldn’t afford the travel and living expenses.

Instead of Harvard, Nixon attended local Whittier College, a Quaker institution, where he earned a reputation as a formidable debater, a standout in college drama productions and a successful athlete.

Upon graduation from Whittier in 1934, Nixon received a full scholarship to Duke University Law School in Durham, North Carolina.

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After Duke, Nixon returned to the town of Whittier to practice law at Kroop & Bewley. He soon met Thelma Catherine (“Pat”) Ryan, a teacher and amateur actress, after the two were cast in the same play at a local community theatre. The couple married in 1940 and went on to have two daughters, Tricia and Julie.

A career as a small-town lawyer was not enough for a man with Nixon’s ambition, so in August 1942, he and Pat moved to Washington, D.C., where he took a job in Franklin Roosevelt’s Office of Price Administration.

He soon became disillusioned with the New Deal’s big-government programs and bureaucratic red tape, though, and left the public service realm for the U.S. Navy (despite his an exemption from military service as a Quaker and in his job with OPA).

Serving as an aviation ground officer in the Pacific, Nixon saw no combat, but he returned to the United States with two service stars and several commendations. He eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant commander before resigning his commission in January 1946.

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Career

Nixon was born into a poor family in a small town in Southern California. He graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law.

He and his wife Pat moved to Washington in 1942 to work for the federal government. He served on active duty in the Navy Reserve during World War II. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. His pursuit of the Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-Communist which elevated him to national prominence.

In 1950, he was elected to the Senate. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in the 1952 election, serving for eight years in that capacity. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy. Nixon then lost a race for governor of California to Pat Brown in 1962. In 1968, he ran for the presidency again and was elected, defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace in a close election.

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Nixon ended American involvement in the war in Vietnam in 1973, ending the military draft that same year.

Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 eventually led to diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union the same year.

His administration generally transferred power from federal control to state control. He imposed wage and price controls for 90 days, enforced desegregation of Southern schools, established the Environmental Protection Agency, and began the War on Cancer.

He also presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing, which signaled the end of the moon race. He was re-elected in one of the largest electoral landslides in American history in 1972 when he defeated George McGovern.

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In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, leading to the oil crisis at home. By late 1973, the Watergate scandal escalated, costing Nixon much of his political support.

On August 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office—the only time an American president has done so. After his resignation, he was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford.

In 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote his memoirs and nine other books and undertook many foreign trips, thereby rehabilitating 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 at age 81.