“It is necessary for me to establish a winner image; therefore, I have to beat somebody.”
Richard Nixon worked hard to improve welfare and protect the environment. He also signed a cease-fire, ending America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He visited countries all over the world, working to improve relationships with Communist countries, in particular.
Yet, he is most remembered for his dishonest political tactics. Nixon grew up in Whittier, California. His father owned a grocery store and he worked in the store from a young age. His family was poor but Nixon worked his way through college and later graduated from Duke University Law School. He was elected to both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. During these early campaigns, people nicknamed him, “Tricky Dick” because of his questionable campaign strategies.
As President, he and his staff were found guilty of several crimes, including filing false tax reports and using campaign funds improperly. Nixon hired burglars to break into his opponent’s hotel rooms at the Watergate hotel. The burglars were looking for embarrassing information that would help Nixon win the next election.
- Richard B. Nixon was born January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California.
- He married Thelma Catherine (Pat) Ryan in 1940. They had two daughters.
- Nixon was intelligent and hardworking. He was often awkward though and preferred to be alone.
- The first astronauts landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, during Nixon’s presidency.
- After burglars were caught in the Watergate hotel rooms looking through important documents, Nixon said he hadn’t been involved. Secret tapes found in the White House proved that he had approved the burglaries. Nixon and his staff had also placed illegal wiretaps on phones, hoping to get some “dirt” on their enemies. They also paid people to keep quiet.
- Once word got out about Nixon’s crimes, he had two choices: resign from his role as President or face impeachment and a trial in the Senate. Nixon chose to resign.
- Historians rank Nixon’s presidency as one of the most corrupt.
Questions and Answers
Question: What did President Nixon do after his resignation?
Answer: President Nixon felt deeply humiliated. He said, “I let the American people down. And I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life.” More than sixty lawsuits were filed against him and life was not easy. To help pay expenses, he wrote his autobiography and later become a scholar and historian. He was a Quaker and prayed regularly. He died of a stroke in 1994.
Visit Whitehouse.gov to learn more about Richard Nixon’s presidency.