About the Author - Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a representative and senator from California and as the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His presidency saw the reduction of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, détente with the Soviet Union and China, the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and the est...

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was an American politician who served as the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a representative and senator from California and as the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His presidency saw the reduction of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, détente with the Soviet Union and China, the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nixon's second term ended early when he became the only U.S. president to resign from office, as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon was born into a poor family of Quakers in Yorba Linda, Southern California. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1937, practiced law in California, and then moved with his wife Pat to Washington, D.C., in 1942 to work for the federal government. After serving 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. 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 vice president. He narrowly lost the 1960 presidential election to the Democratic Party nominee John F. Kennedy. After his loss in the 1962 race for governor of California, he announced his retirement from political life. However, in 1968, he made another run for the presidency and defeated the Democratic incumbent vice president Hubert Humphrey. Seeking to bring the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table, Nixon ordered military operations and carpet bombing campaigns in Cambodia. He was able to end American combat involvement in Vietnam in 1973 and the military draft 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 and the Clean Air Acts. 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 in 1972, when he defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern in one of the largest landslide victories in American history. 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 from the Nixon administration's involvement in Watergate eroded his support in Congress and the country. The scandal began with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee office, ordered by administration officials, and escalated despite cover-up efforts by the Nixon administration, of which he was aware. On August 9, 1974, facing almost certain impeachment and removal from office, Nixon resigned. Afterward, he was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. During nearly 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote nine books and undertook many foreign trips, rehabilitating his image into that of an elder statesman and leading expert on foreign affairs. On April 18, 1994, he suffered a debilitating stroke, and died four days later. Evaluations of his presidency have proven complex, with the successes of his presidency contrasted against the circumstances of his departure from office.

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