Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from January 20, 1969, until his resignation on August 9, 1974. His presidency was marked by significant achievements in foreign policy and domestic affairs but ultimately overshadowed by the [[Watergate]] scandal, which led to his resignation – the first and only U.S. president to do so.
## Early life and career
Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, to Francis A. Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon. He was the second of five brothers. Nixon grew up in a modest family environment, and his early years were marked by financial hardship. He attended public schools in California and later earned a scholarship to attend Whittier College, a small liberal arts college, where he graduated in 1934. Nixon went on to attend Duke University Law School on a scholarship, earning his law degree in 1937.
After passing the California bar exam, Nixon returned to California to practice law. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant commander. In 1946, Nixon entered politics, winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. He quickly gained a reputation as a fierce anti-communist, joining the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In 1950, Nixon was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he continued to build his political career.
## Vice Presidency
In 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower selected Nixon as his running mate for the presidency. Eisenhower and Nixon won the election, and Nixon served as Vice President from 1953 to 1961. During his tenure, Nixon played an active role in both domestic and foreign policy matters, gaining valuable experience that would later serve him well as President.
Nixon ran for President in 1960, facing off against Democratic candidate [[John F. Kennedy (JFK)]]. The election was a close race, but Kennedy ultimately emerged the victor. After losing the election, Nixon returned to California and resumed his law practice.
## 1968 Presidential election and presidency
In 1968, Nixon re-entered the political arena, securing the Republican nomination for President. He won the general election against Democratic nominee Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party candidate [[George Wallace]]. Nixon's presidency was marked by significant achievements in both foreign and domestic policy.
In foreign affairs, Nixon pursued a policy of détente with the Soviet Union, easing [Cold War](https://doctorparadox.net/dictionaries/cold-war-dictionary/) tensions. He also made history by becoming the first U.S. President to visit the People's Republic of China in 1972, opening diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Domestically, Nixon implemented a series of progressive policies, such as the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the signing of the Clean Air Act, and the implementation of wage and price controls to combat inflation. He also oversaw the desegregation of public schools in the South.
## Watergate scandal and resignation
Nixon's presidency was marred by the [[Watergate]] scandal, which began with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in 1972. As the investigation unfolded, it became clear that individuals connected to Nixon's re-election campaign were involved in the break-in, and a subsequent cover-up reached the highest levels of the White House.
### Figures involved in Watergate
1. **Richard Nixon**: The 37th President of the United States, who resigned due to the scandal.
2. **H.R. Haldeman**: Nixon's White House Chief of Staff, who was involved in the cover-up and later served prison time.
3. **John Ehrlichman**: Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, who was also involved in the cover-up and served prison time.
4. **John N. Mitchell**: Former Attorney General and Nixon's campaign director, who was involved in the planning and cover-up and later served prison time.
5. **Charles Colson**: Special Counsel to the President, who was involved in the cover-up and later served prison time.
6. **G. Gordon Liddy**: A former [[FBI]] agent and key operative in the break-in, who was convicted and served prison time.
7. **E. Howard Hunt**: A former [[CIA]] officer and operative in the break-in, who was also convicted and served prison time.
8. **The "Plumbers"**: A covert White House unit that was involved in the break-in, as well as other illegal activities. Members included Bernard Barker, Frank Sturgis, Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gonzalez, and James W. McC
During the Watergate scandal, President Nixon faced growing evidence of his administration's involvement in the break-in and cover-up. As impeachment loomed, Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974, becoming the first U.S. president to do so. Gerald Ford succeeded him and later granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he may have committed while in office.
After resigning, Nixon retreated from public life and faced financial difficulties. In the late 1970s, he began to re-emerge as a statesman, writing several books and offering advice on foreign policy. Despite his efforts, Nixon's legacy remains heavily tainted by the [[Watergate]] scandal.
See also: [[World War II Timeline]]