Richard M. Nixon Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968, but many of his moments of triumph and failure occurred before this time. So many of these early accomplishments, along with his major accomplishments while in office as well, have been shadowed by the Watergate scandal. From this, we are able to see how vital the President of the United States really is. It shows us what is expected of the President, while in and out of office.
The President represents his country, and the people do not tolerate it when their president does not represent them in a good way. Richard Nixon is a prefect example of all these things. He also shows how no one is above the law, not even in the highest position of government. Born into a small lemon farm in California, Richard Nixon lived on the edge of poverty. The lemon ranch in which he lived in was not profitable and his father was constantly changing jobs and professions.
Richard showed signs of leadership and political interest as early as the age of 7. By then, he was reading newspapers and discussing politics with his father. He also had a skill for music, and later became a accomplished pianist. Richard Nixon was offered a scholarship to Harvard University, but was forced to put it down, for his family needed him at home. He eventually enrolled in Whittier College, were he graduated 3rd in his class. After he graduated from Whittier, he applied for a scholarship to Duke University Law School in North Carolina, and in 1937 he graduated with honors. Now Nixon had to think about his future.
He decided to return to California, where he was hired by the respected law firm of Wingert and Bewley. He remained in this profession until he was offered a job with the government in the Office of Price Administration. But, this job did not last long. Within the same year, America had entered the war, and in the following year, Nixon joined the navy. It was during the war when Nixon learned to play Poker.
He became so good at it, he rarely lost. Later, much of his campaign money was earned this way. Richard Nixon won his first campaign in 1946, and became a member of the House of Representatives. He of course was representing California, his home state. Nixon was also assigned to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
This committee was mostly concerned with Communists in the United States. On August 3, 1948, Whittaker Chambers, a Time Magazine editor who had been a Communist, appeared before HUAC. He gave the committee members the names of Communist agents with whom he said he had worked with before leaving the Communist Party. One of these agents was Alger Hiss, a well-known and respected lawyer who had worked in the State Department and had friends in high places. Hiss had helped prepare the meeting with FDR and Joseph Stalin at Yalton. Alger Hiss said he had never known a man named Whittaker Chambers.
He spoke eloquently in his own defense and was applauded by many HUAC members who were present. It would have been much easier for Nixon to let the matter drop, as most HUAC members wanted to do. Nixon was determined to find out who was lying. Then in December, Chambers gave the committee some rolls of microfilm that he had been hiding in a hollowed-out pumpkin. The famous papers were later to be labeled the “pumpkin papers.” These papers were actually copies of State Department papers, many of which appeared to have been copied on Hiss’s typewriter.
This was enough to convince a jury that hiss was a Communist agent who had stolen top secret information from the United States government and that he had lied under oath. His was then sentenced to five years in jail. It was a personal victory for Richard Nixon. In 1950, Nixon was elected for a 6 year term in the Senate. He only served 2 of these years, the remaining spent as Vice President to General Eisenhower. While in office, he continued his anti-communism beliefs. In 1960, Eisenhower’s second term was coming to an end. The Republicans chose Richard Nixon to be their presidential candidate, and the Democrats chose John F.
Kennedy. Although Nixon had a clear advantage over Kennedy, Nobody was sure who would win in the end. Come election night, it looked as if for the most part Nixon would be elected, but last-minute votes from Illinois and Texas gave the presidency to Kennedy. But, Nixon’s campaign for presidency had not ended. Once again he ran for President in 1968, and as last time there was a narrow victory, but it was his this time. Richard Nixon’s Presidential accomplishments rival some of the most acclaimed US figures of all time.
Nixon was constantly be reminded about the problems in Vietnam through the demonstrations and protests on the streets outside the White House. Nixon wanted the Vietnam War to end as much as any other American did. But he wanted to end it “honorably,” with South Vietnam a free country. He was afraid that if the troops abandoned Vietnam, other countries seeking help would not look at the US as a reliable ally. Nixon began his plan called “Vietnamization.” This was the gradual removal of troops, not allowing the South Vietnamese to fall under communist control. Finally, in January 1973, a cease-fire agreement was signed, and Nixon withdrew all American troops.
But North Vietnam forces overran the country, and South Vietnam surrendered in April of 1975. The fighting had been for nothing. This marked the first time in history that the United States had lost a war. Also during his Presidency, Nixon though sought to bring the cold war to an end and improve foreign relations. Meeting with several different communist countries, he became the first US President to visit China since it’s morph to Communist rule.
Nixon also visited to the Soviet Union where he also became the first US President to enter the Kremlin. Here, Nixon encouraged the USSR to reduce the production of nuclear arms, and a treaty was signed. At the time, the government was experiencing an outbreak of “news leaks.” They were the highest in twenty years. President Nixon decided to install microphones hidden in a number of White House offices to record conversations that he would be having with others, he also installed a wire-taping system on the telephones. Other Presidents had done the same thing, but not nearly as extensively as Nixon-nor with such tragic results.
During the summer of 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington’s Watergate Hotel. Nixon read about the Watergate break-in while on vacation. The men were trying to “bug” the Democratic offices by planting listening devices in the rooms. Later the public learned that one of them was working for the Committee to Re-Elect President Nixon. Although no one had accused President Nixon of any wrong doing, Nixon preceded to be cautious and worried about the situation. But, attacks against the President came, after awhile they began to seriously weaken his presidency. Even though many charges proved top be false, Nixon looked worse and worse in the eyes of many Americans.
Some people called for his removal from office, while other supported him and urged the President not to give up. In 1974, Nixon’s Presidency was weakened beyond repair. “The presidency is bigger than any man .. ,” he said, “bigger than any individual president .. .” He could not stay on to fight back-it would only hurt the country.
On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first president to do so. Foreign leaders who had trusted and admired President Nixon could not understand how this tragedy had happened. Richard Nixon’s Resignation left a mark on us all. It shows how one’s self-triumph is so worthless if a self-defeat is there to cover it up. If not for Watergate, the most critical event in Richard Nixon’s administration would have been the ending of the Vietnam War.
But because of Watergate, putting an end to the Vietnam War is hidden, and over shadowed by the fraud. Richard Nixon made a crucial error towards his presidency. He should have never allowed or tried to cover-up any Watergate evidence. This ruined his presidency, and jeopardized our nation’s hope for world peace and the end to communism. If I was managing the situation I would have never allowed such a thing to occur-nevertheless a cover up.
It’s frightening to see someone in such a high position be associated with organized crime. Especially when that someone Is one you trust, and let represent you through their actions. I believe President Nixon deserved his pardon, for the humiliation and defeat which followed his resignation will haunt thousands more times, than any criminal punishment.