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Richard Nixon – Brief Biography

Richard NixonRichard Milhous Nixon is one of the most fascinating political figures of the 20th Century.

Nixon’s political career began in 1947 when he was elected to the House of Representatives, after campaigning strongly as an anti-communist.

By 1952, he had moved to the Senate and was chosen by Dwight Eisenhower to be his running mate in the presidential election. Nixon was embroiled in a scandal and delivered a famous television address that came to be known as the Checkers Speech.

Nixon served as Vice-President for eight years under Eisenhower. At one stage, after Eisenhower had a stroke, Nixon assumed a more active role. Nixon was never close to Eisenhower. Once, Eisenhower was once asked if he could name a major idea of Nixon’s that what he had adopted as President. Click here for Eisenhower’s response.

Nixon secured the Republican Party nomination and was narrowly defeated by John F. Kennedy in 1960.

In 1962, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor of California and stated famously that “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

By 1968 he was on his way back, winning the Republican Party nomination, defeating Democrat Hubert Humphrey and becoming the 37th President on January 20, 1969. He was seen as having recovered from defeat, a quality that became association with Nixon. Click here to Hubert Humphrey on the ‘new Nixon’.

Later in 1969, he was to deliver his famous Silent Majority speech in which he set out his attitude to America’s future.

Nixon was re-elected in a landslide in 1972, defeating Senator George McGovern, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 1973. A few days later, he announced an agreement to end the Vietnam War.

However, by the beginning of 1973, the Watergate scandal was unfolding and the next eighteen months were dominated by damaging revelations and a legal fight between the Executive arm of government versus the Congress and the Supreme Court.

Nixon was facing impeachment by the House of Representatives when he resigned in August 1974, the first President ever to do so.

Following his resignation, Nixon devoted himself to rehabilitating his public reputation. He wrote a number of books and travelled widely.

Nixon died in 1994. His funeral was held on April 27 at The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace, Yorba Linda, California. Eulogies were delivered by Dr. Billy Graham, the evangelist, Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former Secretary of State, and Pete Wilson, the then Governor of California. President Bill Clinton also spoke. He was flanked by all the living former Presidents, except Reagan. Perhaps the most moving tribute was paid by the man who was Chairman of the Republican Party during Nixon’s term, Senator Bob Dole.

Nixon Speeches

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