Richard Nixon

’s Administation Essay, Research Paper

Richard Nixon

On January 20, 1969, Richard Nixon was sworn in as the thirty-seventh president of the United States. Nixon?s vice-president was Spiro T. Agnew. His work as president started weeks earlier, before he even took office. Those weeks were spent choosing the people who would be in his cabinet.

In 1969, one of the most urgent businesses facing him was finding a way to end the Vietnam War without allowing the government of South Vietnam to be defeated by Communists. Nixon decided to drop bombs on Cambodia. Some of the people in Congress were upset with his decision, saying that it seemed that he was making the unpopular war more widespread. Nixon answered that he was only trying to end the war swiftly. A year later he order troops to invade some areas in Cambodia where Communist troops were hiding in the jungle. This invasion started huge anti-war protests all over the United States. College students did most of the protesting destroying many college campus buildings by setting them on fire. The problem with the Communists in Vietnam had been past to Nixon by the three presidents before him, in which none of them could solve the problem. Another thing was the economy of America. Inflation was at very high levels. People were losing their jobs. Nixon unlike any other Republican president made a big announcement on August 15, 1971. The prices of all good and service, and the wages of most Americans, would freeze for a period of ninety days. During the ninety days, stores could not raise the prices of any items sold in the store. Also, workers could not ask for raises or higher salaries. After the ninety day period, Nixon asked all Americans to follow the changes in the prices and the salaries very carefully. This request to the people, sounded like Nixon was trying to run the United States like a Communist government.

After World War II ended, no American president had visited a Communist nation while in office. Nixon ended that in February of 1972, when he visited Communist China. There he met with the elderly Communist leader Mao Zedong. Nixon was in China for a week, where a new friendship had begun. In his final meeting with his Chinese host, Nixon told them his look on the future. ? We have been here for a week, but this was the week that changed the world. ? A few months after returning from China he traveled to Russia. The bond between Russia and the United States was weak. While visiting Russia, Russian military were building large quantities of nuclear missiles. The U.S. military wanted the president to spend billions of dollars to make more American missiles. So that the American military would not fall behind Russian military in the missile race. Nixon tried to avoid a costly missile race. Nixon managed to start numerous agreements with the Russian government to limit the number of missiles constructed by both the United States and Russia. Those agreements would save them billions of dollars for only a decade. Nixon left Russia in June of 1972, knowing that his visit to Russia was a successful one. Before leaving Nixon presented to the Russian government the first Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty, known as the ?SALT? agreement.

When Nixon returned to the United States he knew he had to start preparing for the election that was coming up that same year. Before he would go, out on the campaign trail he took a short vacation in the Bahamas. While on vacation he was reading the Miami Herald newspaper. On the front page was a small story on how five men were arrested at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington?s Watergate Hotel. The story stated that the men were trying to plant electronic ?bugs?, in the Democratic offices. Nixon didn?t think much of the story. He returned to the White House on Monday June 19. Upon his return to Washington, Nixon learned that one of the men working on the Committee to re-elect Nixon was one of men arrested. The next day, June 20, the Washington Post carried a story stating that a notebook had been found on one of the men arrested with the name E. Howard Hunt in it. Hunt had for one of Nixon?s aides, Charles Colson. Suddenly it looked like the White House and even the president had something to do with the break-in at the Democratic headquarters.

Nixon had serve meetings with his chief-of-staff, Bob Haldeman; those meeting would become famous as the Watergate investigations reached its climax. Many investigators wanted to know how much the president knew about the break-in. They went though long legal battles trying to get the tape of the recordings in the White House. When they finally acquired the tapes of the meetings between the president and Bob Haldeman, they found out that the tapes had a long gap period in them. The president or Haldeman could not explain why the gap was there. Experts concluded that the tapes had been erased to cover something up. At the time the only a few people knew that the tapes existed. Nixon states that Haldeman knew some information, but did not know all the details about the break-in.

Nixon begun to realize that the Democrats might use the Watergate affair to try to defeat him in the nineteen-seventh two presidential election. Nixon felt that he as a president had did a great job and should be re-elected. He the Watergate affair or the Democrats get in his way of reelection. As investigators found more clues in the break-in, it was looking more as if Nixon was trying to cover something up. Nixon was eventually accused of “obstructing justice?. His final year as president with filled shame. Contrary to what he believed, it seemed unlikely for the Watergate break-in to hurt his chances for reelection, even if he had told everything he knew about the break-in. The election of 1972 showed that Americans believed that Nixon had did a good job as president. Although the Watergate break-in and investigation was in the news throughout the 1972 campaign, few Americans were worried.

At the Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida, Nixon won the nomination from his party to run for a second term as president by a vote of 1,347 to 1. At the convention, Nixon?s followers started a slogan that has become a popular slogan today. ?Four more years! Four more years!? was heard throughout the convention hall. The Democrats nominated Senator George McGovern as their presidential candidate. From the beginning of their convention, the Democratic candidates seemed like they were not going to win. On July 25, Thomas Eagleton the vice-presidential running mate for the Democrats and McGoven held a press conference to let the American people know that Eagleton had been in a mental hospital several times, and was still taking medication for depression. McGovern stood behind Eagleton, but Eagleton was soon forced to give up his nomination. McGovern searched nervously for a replacement. Edward Kennedy, the last living brother of Ex-President John F. Kennedy, and five other candidates refused his offer. Soon Edward Kennedy?s brother-in-law accepted McGovern offer. After that terrible news, the Democrats never got back in the race. The Republicans were always in the news everyday, whether good or bad.

On September 15, 1972, the first charges were made against seven people involved in the break-in. The FBI conducted several interviews with people, and concluded that no one in the White House was involved. In the month of October, an important Russian official, Andrei Gromyko, visited Washington. On October 3, he and Nixon signed the SALT agreement that Nixon presented to the Russian back when he visited Russia. The SALT agreement would limit the number of nuclear weapons built by both the United States and Russia. Later in that month, two stories would be printed in the Washington Post that would hurt Nixon in his final weeks of campaigning. One stated that one of Nixon?s aides would hire a young attorney to play ?dirty tricks? on the Democratic candidates and their families. The second story that was printed on October 25, by reporter Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, stated that Bob Haldeman, Nixon chief of staff, had a secret supply of cash to pay for the spying and dirty tricks. In the story, it suggested that some of the money was used to pay for the break-in at the Watergate Hotel. If true then this story would show that the money for the break-in came directly from the Nixon White House. The stories had very little effect on the 1972 election, because on Election Day Nixon defeated McGovern by the largest Republican lead recorded in history. Forty-nine of the fifty states voted for Nixon. The other two states, which were the District of Columbia and the state of Massachusetts voted for McGovern.

The months following the election, the Watergate sandal seemed to die down a bit. Now in his second term as president Nixon and many people under him worked very hard to find an end to the Vietnam War without handing the Communist South Vietnam. American troops had fought this war longer than any war in history. Nixon and his workers knew they had to end the war quickly. Immediately after New Year?s Day, in 1973, committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to cut the money going towards the war. Nixon, in his last effort to defeat the Communist, ordered powerful bomb raid on the Communist positions all over Vietnam. On January 15, after since the bombing would not work he ordered the bombing to stop. The United States had tried to talk things through, and come up with something that both North and South Vietnam could agree on. In late January, the United States looked like they might have figure out an agreement for both countries to rule, but South Vietnam refused the offer. One by one, the troops were brought out of Vietnam. Eventually South and North Vietnam became a Communist nation. For the first time in history, America had lost a war.

In March of 1973, Democratic senator held a meeting to investigate the Republican Campaign and the Watergate sandal. Elected to head the investigation was Senator Sam Ervin. Not very long, after Nixon?s top aides knew they would have to answer tough questions under oath, they all had to tell Nixon some things. On March 20, Bob Haldeman the president that $350,000 was taken from the campaign money and given to the White House for false reasons. The next day John Dean III, the White House lawyer, said that the attorney general John Mitchell knew about the break-in before it happened. Dean also said that E. Howard Hunt, one of the men arrested for the break-in, was going to tell everything he knew unless he got $122,000. Two days later, Judge John Sirica passed sentence on the Watergate thieves. Each received thirty-five to forty-five years in jail. This tough sentence was so that the burglars would talk and tell the story. That would not be a problem for John Dean told the committee every thing he knew about the break-in.

Many of Nixon top aides were forced to resign because of the investigation. Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, who were close to the president, were forced to resign on April 30. On that very same day John Dean was fired too. The Senate committee called many more people. Many of them were still working at the White House after their trial; many were fired or quit. Nixon quickly realized that he himself was in serious trouble, and refused to give the Watergate committee information that they wanted. The investigation was at a standstill at that point. On July 16,1973, members of the committee made a huge discovery. They learned that tapes of White House discussions existed. Nixon afraid of what they would find out by listening to the tapes refused to hand over the tapes. On August 29, Washington Judge Sirica ordered Nixon to give up the tapes. Lawyers for the president asked higher courts to change the decision, but they ruled against the president. On October 10, Vice-President Spiro Agnew announced that he was quitting. Nixon under a lot of pressure now had to fond a new vice-president. Nixon nominated Gerald Ford on October 12, 1973, to Congress to vote on. Congress approved his nomination on December 6,1973. Nixon tried different approaches to stop him from getting in trouble. He asked attorney general, Elliot Richardson to fire a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate sandal he refused and instead quit. And when he asked the Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, he to refused and was fired. This was known as the ?Saturday-Night Massacre?.

On August 8,1974, Nixon?s last full day in the White House, he worked on his final speech he would make as president. That evening Nixon met with leaders of Congress to tell them officially that he was resigning. One hour later he went on national television to announce that he would be resigning the presidency at noon the following day.


The Haldeman Diaries, Haldeman H.R., 1994 G.P. Putnam?s Sons New York, NY

Encyclopedia of Presidents, Lillegard Dee, 1988 Childrens Press, Chicago

Richard M. Nixon The Thirty-seventh President, Hargrove, Jim, 1985, Childrens Press, Chicago

Richard Nixon Six Crises, Nixon Richard, 1992, Touchstone, New York, NY


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