Richard M. Nixon

1969-1974

Election of Nixon

- Election of 1968: Nixon v. Humphrey v. Wallace (American Independent): Not a close race

- Election of 1972: v. McGovern: Not a close race

- Republican

Vietnam War Under Nixon

Vietnamization

- Nixon had high expertise in foreign affairs

- American public was torn with dissension over Vietnam and race relations

- "Vietnamization": withdraw 54,000 US troops in South Vietnam over an extended period

- Eventually the South Vietnamese would be able to take over the burden of fighting their own war (with US money, training, and advice)

- Caused Nixon Doctrine to dissolve

Cambodia

- "Cambodianizing the Vietnam War"

- April 29, 1970: (without Congress' approval) Nixon ordered US forces to join with the South Vietnamese in cleaning out the enemy sanctuaries in officially neutral Cambodia

- June 29, 1970: Nixon withdrew US troops

- Increased tension/conflict in US between the "hawks" and "doves"

War Powers Act

- Because of the congressional opposition to the expansion of presidential war-making powers by Johnson and Nixon

- November 1973

- Nixon vetoed but still passed

- Requires the president to report to Congress within 48 hours after committing troops to a foreign conflict or "substantially" enlarging American combat units in a foreign country

Policy of “Détente"

- Era of détente: relaxed tension with the two communist powers (China and USSR)

- Resulted in many significant agreements (Great Grain Deal of 1972, ABM Treaty, SALT)

- To some extent it it did deice the Cold War

- Nixon set the stage for America's exit from Vietnam

Watergate, Nixon’s Impeachment, and His Ultimate Resignation

- June 17, 1972 (Watergate): burglary occurred in the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate apartment and five Republicans were arrested for it (they were also working for the Republican Committee for the re-election of Nixon and known as CREEP)

- Many White House aides and advisers were forced to resign and involved in other scandals

- Provoked illegal use of the FBI and CIA

- Nixon accused of the crime of obstructing justice

- July 24, 1974: Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "executive privilege" gave him no right to withhold from the special prosecutor portions of tapes relevant to criminal activity (Watergate scandal) and Nixon was forced to comply

- House Judiciary Committee wanted to impeach Nixon because he was charged with obstruction of "the administration of justice", he abused powers of his office, and he showed contempt of Congress by ignoring lawful subpoenas for relevant tapes and other evidence

- Eventually Nixon was forced to resign so he could retain his benefits and serve his country best