Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the United States’ 37th president, serving from 1969 to 1974. He was the Republican Party’s 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961, having previously served as a representative and senator from California.
During his five years in the White House, the United States ended its involvement in the Vietnam War, reached an agreement with the Soviet Union and China, launched the first manned Moon landings, and established the Environmental Protection Agency. Nixon’s second term was cut short when, following the Watergate incident, he became the first president to resign.
Why did President Richard Nixon resign?
On August 5, 1974, President Nixon revealed tapes that unmistakably proved his involvement in the Watergate crisis.
He elected to resign in disgrace on August 8 to escape being impeached by Congress, and he left the White House the next day.
Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as president six weeks later.
Nixon was pardoned for any crimes committed while in office by him.
Nixon never acknowledged any criminal activity, but he did admit to making poor decisions. Nixon died in 1994 at the age of 81.
What was the 1972 Watergate scandal?
The Watergate scandal refers to a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington and the events that followed, culminating in President Richard Nixon’s stunning resignation.
The incident began early on June 17, 1972, when several burglars were apprehended in the Democratic National Committee’s office, which was located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington, DC.
The crew was caught wiretapping phones and taking documents at 2.30 a.m., and it was later revealed that they were all connected to President Nixon’s re-election campaign.
One of the guys was identified as James McCord Jr., the Committee to Re-Elect the President’s security chief, and it wasn’t his first visit to the opposition’s offices.
Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martnez, and Frank Sturgis were eventually identified as the others arrested.
Lock picks, $100 banknotes with serial numbers in order, and a shortwave transceiver that might pick up police calls were among the goods recovered from the suspects.
Nixon went to great lengths to conceal the crime, referring to it as a “third-rate burglary” by White House press secretary Ron Ziegler.
Nixon won the public’s trust and was re-elected in August 1972 after giving a speech in which he promised that no White House workers were engaged in the break-in.
Journalists and congressional inquiries began piecing more facts of the scandal a few months later, details that led directly to White House complicity.
Nixon reportedly agreed to pay the burglars hundreds of thousands of dollars in “hush money” shortly after the break-in.
He and his advisors then devised a scheme to direct the CIA to obstruct the FBI’s probe.
This was a more serious offense than the break-in since it involved a blatant abuse of presidential power and purposeful obstruction of justice.
Around the same time, seven people were indicted on Watergate-related charges, including the five burglars and former FBI agent G Gordon Liddy, as well as CIA officer and White House Plumbers head E Howard Hunt.
Five pleaded guilty to avoid trial at Nixon’s request; the other two were convicted in January 1973.
The Resignation Speech of Richard Nixon
On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon delivered a statement from the Oval Office to the American people, announcing his resignation from the president owing to the Watergate Scandal.
Nixon’s resignation marked the end of what he called the “long and difficult period of Watergate” in his speech, a 1970s federal political scandal involving the break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building by five men during the 1972 presidential election and the Nixon administration’s subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement. As a result of Watergate, Nixon lost a lot of popular and political support. Nixon faced nearly likely impeachment and removal from office when he resigned the next day.
Nixon stated in his resignation address that he was resigning because “I have concluded that, as a result of the Watergate affair, I may not have the support of Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the manner that the national interests would require.”
“I will have hastened the commencement of that process of healing which is so sorely needed in America,” Nixon said after quitting. “I truly regret any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to my decision,” Nixon said, acknowledging that some of his judgments “were erroneous.” He made no mention of the articles of impeachment that are currently pending against him.
Nixon became the first US president to resign from office when he presented a signed letter of resignation to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on August 9. Following Nixon’s resignation, Vice President Gerald Ford assumed the presidency.