(Created by Luis Carranza, History 135, August 2000)
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What consequences did the Watergate Scandal have on Richards Nixon's presidency?

Richard Milhous Nixon was born into a working class family on January 9, 1913, in the town of Yorba Linda California. Growing up, he worked and studied diligently, excelling at Whittier College and then ranking in the top percentile at Duke University Law School. After studying away from home, Nixon came back to California to practice law. On his return he met his wife, Thelma Catherine (Pat) Ryan. Soon after he enlisted in the US Navy.
His political career began in 1946 when he entered congress by defeating Jerry Voorhis. He drew national attention as he worked on some extremely visible projects, such as [?}. His next move was into the Senate when he was victorious over Congresswoman, Helen Gahagan Douglas. His tactic for winning the Senate race, labelling his opponent a pro-communist sympathizer, was roundly criticized. Two years later Nixon was nominated as the vice presidential running mate for Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was almost removed from his nomination when it was made public that he had accepted eighteen thousand dollars. Nixon, an excellent speaker, prepared a televised speech in his defense. As Vice President, he campaigned and rallied for the Republican Party. He made a name for himself as a great motivator. He traveled across the country and across the globe, giving his party a vigorous sentiment.
After Eisenhower 's second term, Nixon emerged as the new leader of the Republican Party. He was to run against John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy, a bit younger and well liked by the American people, won the election. Nixon then returned to California, where he challenged Edmund G. Brown for Governor. Again Nixon was defeated. He removed himself from politics and moved to New York City in 1962. In 1968 Richard Nixon decided to run once again for President. With a successful media campaign and anti-Vietnam war sentiment, Richard Nixon successfully won the office against Hubert Humphery.
Nixon, as President, focused on international affairs. He withdrew hundreds of thousands of troops out of Vietnam while the war was still being fought. He was also responsible for the military involvement involvement in Cambodia. Nixon later credited these actions (which were not in the public interest) to the withdrawal of all US troops and the releasing of American prisoners of war. Nixon had successful talks in China and in the USSR..
In 1972, Nixon faced re-election against George S. McGovern, and he won by a large margin. In the middle of his second term, allegations arose about an attempted burglary at the Watergate Hotel. There was also talk of wiretapping at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on June 17, 1972. These actions took place in Washington, DC, and were linked to Nixon's advisors. This was the tip of the iceberg. As the investigations continued more and more fraudulent practice was found. With extensive media coverage there was no way of avoiding controversy. White House recordings were found and made public. The Nixon Taxes showed inconsistencies due to alleged illegal campaign contributions. The public was unsympathetic. He had lost the trust of the American People. Vice President Agnew, resigned due to charges of bribery, and Gerald Ford replaced him. Then a federal grand jury found Nixon a coconspirator in a conspiracy to obstruct justice. While Nixon was away on foreign policy issues, the court ordered more recordings to be released. One of them revealed Nixon ordering the FBI to stop the investigation concerning the Watergate Scandal. With overwhelming evidence mounting against him, Nixon decided to resign the presidency of the United States or face impeachment. Vice President Gerald Ford assumed the role of President.

  • 9 January 1913, Richard Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California, to a working class family.
  • 1934, Graduated second in his class at Whittier College in Whittier, California.
  • 1937, Graduated third from Duke University Law School.
  • 1940, Richard Married Thelma Catherine (Pat) Ryan
  • 1942, He enlisted in the United States Navy and served in WWII. He worked his way up to lieutenant commander before he left the armed forces.
  • 1946, claimed victory over Jerry Voorhis, and became congressman in California.
  • 1950, won an office in the Senate, This is also when He began to receive national attention.
  • 1952, Nixon was the Vice Presidential running mate of Dwight D Eisenhower.
  • 1960, Richard Nixon ran for President and was defeated by John F. Kennedy.
  • 1968, He became President of the United States with Vice President Agnew.
  • 1969, withdrawal of us troops from Vietnam begins.
  • 1969, The Apollo Moon landing
  • 1972, Historic Visits to China and the USSR.
  • 1972, Watergate Scandal unfolds in Nixon's peak.
  • 1973, Vice President Agnew resigns and Gerald Ford replaces him.
  • 1974, Richard Nixon resigns in order to avoid impeachment.  

WWW sites
There are several biographical overviews (biography.com) of Richard Nixon on the World Wide Web. The Washington Post has a site dedicated to the him. The White house offers an official site and The Richard Nixon Library is a site dedicated to preserving the integrity of the Nixon family. There are also some Nixon Audio and video archives available. The debate between Nixon and Kennedy is also online as well Nixon's negotiations in China. The Watergate Scandal is covered from all angles, including a detailed timeline. Since Nixon's campaign used media extensively, there is an abundance of links to speeches that he gave. Some notable speeches such at the, "I am not a crook," (see some political cartoons) when he denied involvement in the Watergate coverup, and the "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." speech are available through the History Channel web site.

Also check the following links for useful information.

Recommended Books
Anthony Summers, Arrogance of Power: The Secrete World of Richard Nixon, is a biographical account of Richard Nixon told without sympathy for the ex-president. Richard Nixon wrote his own account of his life in The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, a book in which Nixon reveals some information in his own words. American Foreign Policy since the Vietnam War: The Search for Consensus from Nixon to Clinton, (1999) by Richard A. Melanson, describes some of Nixon's accomplishments in foreign policy. The Contender: Richard Nixon, the Congress Years, 1946-1952 (1994), by Irwin F. Gellman describes Nixon's pre-presidential political career. The Final Days/the Classic, Behind-the-Scenes Account of Richard Nixon's Dramatic Last Days in the White House by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein paints a picture of the Watergate Scandal as it unfolded.

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