Richard Milhous Nixon

January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974

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Election of 1968

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Vietnam War

  • In Nixon's first term he promised America that he would reduce U.S. troop levels in Vietnam.
  • He promoted his plan of "Vietnamization," which meant that the U.S. would gradually withdraw from the war.
  • Despite his pledge to bring soldiers home, troop levels in Vietnam remained high and the Nixon administration expanded the war into neighboring countries such as Laos and Cambodia.
  • In Nixon's final year of 1973 the last U.S. combat soldiers left Vietnam, but military advisors and some Marines remained.

War Powers Resolution

  • The War Powers Resolution of 1973 is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of Congress.
  • On October 24, 1973 Nixon vetoed the War Powers Resolution, branding the bill as “unconstitutional and dangerous.”
  • In November of 1973, Congress overrode his veto, reflecting their dislike towards the Vietnam War.

Policy of Détente

  • Détente, French for "release from tension"
  • The name given to a period of time involving improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • This time of prosperity between nations began in 1971, and took form when Nixon visited the secretary-general of the Soviet Communist party, Leonid I. Brezhnev, in Moscow, May of 1972.

Watergate & Nixon's Impeachment

  • On June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. T
  • he burglars were connected to Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they were attempting to tap phones and steal documents.
  • Some historians believe that Nixon didn't know about this scandal, though he took steps to cover it up afterwards.
  • Such as raising “hush money” for the burglars, trying to stop the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from investigating the crime, destroying evidence, and firing uncooperative staff members.


On April 20, acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigned after admitting he had destroyed Watergate evidence under pressure from Nixon aides.


"We could get that. On the money, if you need the money you could get that. You could get a million dollars. You could get it in cash. I know where it could be gotten. It is not easy, but it could be done. But the question is, Who would handle it? Any ideas on that?" -- Nixon to John Dean, March 21, 1973.


On Saturday, July 27, the House Judiciary Committee approved its first article of impeachment charging President Nixon with obstruction of justice. Six of the Committee's 17 Republicans joined all 21 Democrats in voting for the article. The following Monday the Committee approved its second article charging Nixon with abuse of power. The next day, the third and final article, contempt of Congress, was approved.



  • In August 1974, after his role in the scandal had come to light, Nixon resigned. The Watergate Scandal caused many Americans to question their leadership and think more critically about the presidency.
  • It was the first president resignation in American history.