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Richard Nixon

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Richard Nixon

By: Bobby Winkle

ichard Milhous Nixon was the thirty-seventh president of the United States and the only president to have resigned from office. He was on his was to success after receiving his law degree from Duke University Law School in 1937. California Republicans persuaded Nixon in 1946 to be their candidate to challenge Jerry Voorhis, the popular Democratic Congressman, for his seat in the United States House of Representatives. He accuses Voorhis of being 'soft' on Communism. This was damaging to him because the Cold War rivalry between the United States and USSR was just beginning. Voorhis was forced into a defensive position after the two men confronted each other in a series of debates. Nixon's campaign was an example of the vigorous and aggressive style characteristic of his political career that led him to win the election. Nixon gained valuable experience in international affairs as a new member of the United States Congress. He helped establish a program known as the Marshall Plan, in which the US assisted Europe rebuild itself following the war. He also served on the House Education and Labor Committee to develop the National Labor Relations Act. In 1948, writer and editor Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss, a high State Department official, of being a Communist. Nixon, a member of the Un-American Activities Committee, personally pressed the investigation. Hiss denied further charges that he had turned classified documents over to Chambers to be sent to the USSR. Alger Hiss was later convicted and indicted for perjury after sufficient evidence was discovered. Nixon was reelected to Congress after winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations as a result of gaining a national reputation as a dedicated enemy of Communism. In 1950, Nixon was chosen as candidate for the US Senate from California by the Republicans. Again, he won this election by linking his opponent to being pro-Communist. Nixon was selected to be the running mate of the Republican presidential nomination, General Eisenhower, in 1952. Many of Eisenhower's advisors wanted Nixon to resign his candidacy shortly after his vice-presidential nomination because of accusations that he misused his senator expenses fund. No evidence was found to prove this, and, in response, Nixon replied on national television with the 'Checkers' speech, which contained sentimental reference to Nixon's dog, Checkers. The speech was his attempt to prove his innocence. In the following campaign, Nixon once again attacked the Democratic presidential candidate as being soft on Communism. Nixon and Eisenhower's victory led them both to being reelected in 1956, after surviving Republican attempts to replace Nixon. As vice-president, much of Nixon's time was spent representing the president before Congress and on trips abroad as a goodwill ambassador, where he was occasionally the target of anti-US feelings. As Eisenhower neared the end of his second term as president, he endorsed Nixon, who received an impressive vote in party primaries and all but ten of the delegates votes on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. An unusual feature of the campaign was a series of face-to-face discussions between Nixon and his Democratic opponent, Senator John F. Kennedy, who was widely regarded as the winner of the debates, which helped him win the election. In 1962, Nixon returned to California after losing the presidential election and became Republican candidate for governor. It was another bitter campaign, revolving around Communism and law enforcement, but this time his strategy did not work. Most political observers believed Nixon's political career had ended by the was he handled the loss. Nixon moved and joined a large law firm in New York City after his defeat, and remained in close relations with national Republican leaders and campaigned for Republican candidates in two elections. By 1968, he had sufficiently recovered his political standing to announce his candidacy for president. He had two major problems in seeking nomination in 1968. He had not won an election in eighteen years and he had no state in which to base his candidacy. He also could count on few Republican governors for support, though he did have support in Congress and other politicians whom he helped campaigned. He easily won the nomination on the first ballot at the convention and chose the governor of Maryland as his running mate. Vice-president Humphrey, his Democratic opponent, was placed under stress by Nixon from the unsuccessful war in Vietnam's effects. Nearly thirty-two million votes gave him a clear majority in the electoral college. The most important issue Nixon faced when he became president was the Vietnam war. The conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam began in 1959, and in 1964 there were reports that North Vietnam had attacked US vessels. Congress and President Johnson authorized the bombing of North Vietnam and to increase US military involvement. ...

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