Richard Nixon

The Republican

The Election of 1968

Democrat- Humphrey

  • Electoral vote- 191
  • Popular in the major cities
Republican- Nixon
  • Electoral vote- 301
  • Minority president- focused on the unfair draft, crime and divisions in the war effort
American Independent- Wallace
  • Electoral vote- 46
  • Popular in the south east
  • Largest third party vote in history

The Vietnam War

Vietnamization- Nixon's Vietnam policy

  • Vietnam war widely unpopular due to its length, the number of deaths, and the unfair draft
  • Plan to remove 540,000 American troops from Vietnam gradually and have South Vietnam troops take over with the help of American training, funding and weapons
  • Not a plan to end the war, only to stop American blood shed

Nixon Doctrine- US will honor existing agreements with Asian countries but in the future they would be on their own


  • April 29, 1970- Nixon authorized troops to attack North Vietnam's supplies in neutral Cambodia
  • Hoping to end the war quickly
  • Troops were withdrawn on June 29, 1970
  • Tensions continued to rise between those against and for the war
  • June 1971- the New York Times ran a story filled with pentagon secrets leaked by Daniel Ellsberg
  • Nixon continued bombing Cambodia long after the cease fire agreement
  • Congress tried to stop the bombing by cutting off resources but was constantly vetoed
  • He agreed to stop bombing Cambodia and seek congressional approval fro any bombing in the future
2-week bombing of North Vietnam to try and get them to negotiate to US terms- lead to a cease fire agreement on January 23, 1973


  • Remaining US troops withdrawn
  • South Vietnam still receive limited support from the US
  • North Vietnam was able to keep 145,00 troops in South Vietnam and remain in 30% of the South
  • An election would be help to determine North Vietnam's fate
  • Draft ended in January 1973
  • Bombing of Cambodia ended in August 1973
War powers act
  • Stop the expansion of the war- making powers by Johnson and Nixon
  • November 1973- required the president to give congress notice within 48 hours after sending troops to a foreign conflict
  • Passed despite Nixon's veto

Policy of Détente

Détente- period of relaxed tensions

  • Nixon's plan to get China and the Soviet Union to convince North Vietnam into a peaceful end to the war
  • February 1972- Nixon went to China paving the way for better relations with Beijing
  • Nixon then went to Mascow to get the USSR to be on good terms with the US in fear of a China backed US
Resulted in...
  • The great grain deal of 1972- US had to sell $750 million worth of grain to the USSR
  • Anti-ballistic missile treaty (ABM treaty)- limited each country to two clusters of defense missiles
  • Strategic arms limitation talks (SALT)- froze the number of long range nuclear missiles for five years, no new one could be made

The Election of 1972

Democrat- George McGovern of South Dakota

  • Electoral vote- 17
  • Popular vote- 29,170,383
  • Promised to get the remaining troops out of Vietnam within 90 days
  • Running mate, Thomas Eagleton, received psychiatric help which soured McGovern's ticket
Republican- Nixon
  • Electoral vote- 520
  • Popular vote- 47,169,911
  • Campaign focused on the large number of troops that have been sent home
  • Dr Kissinger announced days before the election that the War was coming to a close within days- Nixon won in a landslide


  • June 17, 1972- (2 months before his renomination) burglars working for the Republican Committee for the re-election of the President (CREEP) were caught with electronic bugs in the democratic head quarters in the Watergate apartment complex
  • CREEP was involved in numerous scandals and unethical conduct
  • 29 people had been indicted, plead guilty or been convicted of crimes related to Watergate
  • "Plumbers unit" was created to stop the leaking of information, including destroying Dr Daniel Ellsberg
  • John Dean III- testified that Nixon was involved in the obstruction of justice but it was his word against everybody else's
  • Nixon had been recording all conversations in his office or on the phone without the consent of the other parties, he refused to give up the tape evidence that could be used to determine if John Dean III was telling the truth
  • Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign in October 1973 for taking bribes
  • Saturday Night Massacre- special prosecutor Archibald Cox subpoenaed for the tapes which lead to him being fired by Nixon and the resignation of the Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General for not firing Cox
  • Spring 1974- Nixon gave up the relevant tapes to Watergate but nine minutes of the tapes were erased. On the tapes there was evidence that Nixon tried to cover up the Watergate incident incriminating himself

The End of a Presidency

Attempted Impeachment
  • House Judiciary Committee- tried to impeach the president due to him committing the crimes- obstruction of justice, ignoring Congress (ignoring the subpoenas) and abusing presidential power
  • Public wanted him impeached after the tapes reveled that Nixon knew about Watergate nine days after it's happening but he lied to the public saying that he did not find out till nine months later
  • Congress informed Nixon that in his best interest he should resign
  • August 8, 1974- Nixon announced his retirement