Most Americans know that former President Clinton just had his library dedication in Arkansas. He was a popular president and even the Monica Lewinski scandal was not enough to taint his legacy. Unfortunately, Richard Nixon's library does not seem to have the same prestigious following as Bill Clinton seems to have. Consider that just after Christmas of last year; the Nixon's Foundation and Library won an award that almost no American on the street knows anything about. I have to admit that before I saw the Dimitri Simes who is the current President of the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C., I never even considered that there was a Nixon Foundation. "The Nixon Center is the Nixon Foundation's programmatically independent public policy institute. It recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by acquiring The National Interest, a prestigious foreign policy journal, and by presenting its Distinguished Service Award to Mikhail Baryshnikov at a gala dinner in Washington." (C-SPAN) Because I knew so little about the only American President in United State's history to have to disgracefully resign his post as the most powerful man in the world rather than to be impeached, this report will attempt to take a look at the life of former President Richard Milhous Nixon's life before, during and after the infamous Watergate Scandal.
Birth To President
Most of Nixon's life seems to have been whitewashed by the Watergate scandal and his forced resignation. But he obviously had a life before being President. Richard M. Nixon was born in Yorba, California in a house his father named 'the Linda Farmhouse' on January 9, 1913. "I was born in a house built by my father." (Nixon) It is funny to think that his father actually built the farm house out of a catalogue kit on a little more than eight acres a year before Richard was born. Since we don't build our modern day houses from catalogues any more, the Nixon family home has been saved and can still be seen as a part of the Richard Nixon Museum.
To become President of the United States today, one has to be pretty smart and must obviously have been pretty successful in school. Although he did some pretty stupid things in his professional career, he was no exception to the idea of being a bright guy. As a matter of fact, Richard Nixon was a brilliant student his entire life. He was an honors graduate of Whittier College and then a top of the class Duke University Law School graduate. He was a highly sought after attorney when he eventually began practicing law.
His home life was also pretty good compared to his professional life. Nixon married Patricia Ryan in 1940. The couple had two daughters named Patricia often called Tricia and Julie. His daughters always seemed to love their father a great deal and had few to no complaints to their family's privileged lifestyle attained from their successful father.
When World War II brought the United States into the war, Richard Nixon proudly served as a Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific realm. Although he did not achieve hero status like many potential politicians, he was more than successful enough to platform his military career and his legal career into politics. Thus, upon his discharge from military service, Nixon began a campaign to enter the United States Congress as a representative of California. He easily won election to Congress for his California district. He raised the bar and in 1950 he won a seat as one of California's Senators. After a being recognized as mover and a shaker he was selected as General Eisenhower's running mate for the 1952 Presidential election. Richard Nixon was only 39 at the time.
When Eisenhower became President, newly elected Vice President Richard Nixon became an instrumental part of the Eisenhower Administration. In other words, he was far from being known as the type of Vice President who had no role or as being overshadowed by a powerful President. As a matter of fact, he was such a good Vice President that his party nominated him to run for his own presidency in 1960 where he barely lost to John F. Kennedy. Some political historians feel that the introduction of television may have been the only thing that kept Nixon out of the White House in 1960. John F. Kennedy was a youthful looking individual who seemed to be more photogenic than Nixon. But that did not stop Nixon from winning the party nomination in 1968 and he went on to crush his competition from Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and third-party candidate George C. Wallace. At long last, from Yorba, California to the most powerful man in the world, Richard Milhous Nixon had come full circle.
Richard Nixon's election in 1968 showed his tenacity and his drive and motivation because he built on his early successes of his political career and overcame his demoralizing defeats when he ran for President in 1960 and for the Governorship of California in 1962. Richard Nixon in his first term of office as the nation's president proved to actually be a very successful one. "Richard M. Nixon arrived at the White House just before 2 PM On January 20, 1969, a couple of hours after taking the oath as the thirty-second president of the United States." (Reeves)
For example, world reconciliation was one of the main objectives of his administration because the world was in turmoil from the Cold War, the Vietnam War and many other climactic situations around the globe. Even the United States, there was a serious divide from poverty and the wars. If nothing else, Nixon clearly was instrumental in pulling the American troops out of Viet Nam.
For example, in 1973, Nixon announced a new accord with North Viet Nam that literally ended all military involvement in Indochina. He was also instrumental in improving the strife with Russia, then the U.S.S.R. And also China. Nixon visited both Beijing and Moscow in 1972 which went a long way in reducing obvious tensions with the communist world. The world may have even avoided nuclear implosion because of his summit meetings with the then Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev because the two worked out important treaties that limited strategic nuclear weapons.
Today we see trade with China as a major concern due to the unbelievably high trade imbalance. But in the late 60's and early 70's, China was a highly sought after trading partner because the American's assumed that the world's largest population would buy our goods and services and not the other way around. Therefore, President Nixon was the first American President in many years to actually visit the communist nation of China. His political coup of partnering with the Chinese opened the door to all new trade opportunities which in a sense helped our nation grow even richer. But the Watergate scandal brought fresh divisions to the country and ultimately led to his resignation.
Some of his many other successes and accomplishments while in office include his policies of revenue sharing, the end of the hated military draft, many new anticrime laws, as well as score of environmental protection programs and laws. One of the more important tasks of any president is the appointing of Supreme Court Justices. Nixon had pledged that if elected that he would put more conservative Justices in the Supreme Court and he followed up as promised. Although the nation probably credits the Kennedy and Johnson administrations with the Apollo programs, it was actually Richard Nixon who was president in his first term in 1969 when the American space program made its historical first moon landing.
These and many other great accomplishments helped the world become a friendlier and stable place and the American people rewarded his successes by reelecting him to office 1972 where Nixon easily defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern. AS a matter of fact, Nixon was so successful at the time that his victory over McGovern is still one of the widest margins in presidential history. But the wheels eventually came of the cart.
I am a strong believer that Al Gore won the presidency during his race with George W. Bush during the Gore vs. Bush campaign. But only a minor scandal ever came out of it. Sure it was just a coincidence that the governor of the state that was the battleground of obvious voter fraud was seen as nothing more than a flaw in our election process. But unfortunately fro Nixon, his scandal was not simply overlooked. Only a few months after he crushed George McGovern, a scandal of unprecedented importance hit the Nixon Administration.
The problem was eventually named the "Watergate" scandal because there was a criminally motivated break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee that was in the Watergate hotel in Washington D.C. Of course the break-in occurred during the 1972 Presidential campaign and it was clearly and remarkably traced to senior officials of the Committee to re-elect…