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Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974. A lawyer and member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a representative and senator from California and was the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His five years in the White House saw 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.
|37th President of the United States|
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
|Preceded by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Gerald Ford|
|36th Vice President of the United States|
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
|President||Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|Preceded by||Alben W. Barkley|
|Succeeded by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|United States Senator|
December 1, 1950 – January 1, 1953
|Preceded by||Sheridan Downey|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Kuchel|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 12th district
January 3, 1947 – November 30, 1950
|Preceded by||Jerry Voorhis|
|Succeeded by||Patrick J. Hillings|
Richard Milhous Nixon
(1913-01-09)January 9, 1913
Yorba Linda, California, U.S.
|Died||April 22, 1994(1994-04-22) (aged 81)|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum|
(m. 1940; died 1993)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service|
37th President of the United States
Nixon was born into a poor family of Quakers in a small town in Southern California. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1937, practiced law in California, and then moved with his wife Pat to Washington in 1942 to work for the federal government. After 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, and in 1950, he was elected to the Senate. Nixon was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in the 1952 election, and served for eight years as the vice president. He ran for president in 1960, narrowly lost to John F. Kennedy, then failed again in a 1962 race for governor of California, after which it was widely believed that his political career was over. However, in 1968, he made another run for the presidency and was elected, defeating Hubert Humphrey by less than one percentage point in the popular vote, as well as defeating third party candidate George Wallace.
Nixon ended American involvement in Vietnam combat in 1973 and the military draft in 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, the Clean Air Acts, and the Clean Water Acts (although he vetoed the final version of the CWA). He implemented the recently 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 with a historic electoral landslide in 1972 when he defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern.
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 leading from the Nixon administration's involvement in Watergate eroded his support in Congress and the country. Nixon and senior members of his administration were found to have weaponized government agencies against his enemies, among much other wrongdoing. On August 9, 1974, facing almost certain impeachment and removal from office, Nixon resigned from the presidency. Afterwards, he was issued a pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford.
During nearly 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote his memoirs and nine other books. He undertook many foreign trips, attempting to rehabilitate his image into that of an elder statesman and leading expert on foreign affairs. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81. Surveys of historians and political scientists have ranked Nixon as a below-average president. However, evaluations of him have proven complex, with the successes of his presidency contrasted against the circumstances of his departure from office.