Richard Nixon

January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974

Election Round 1: November 5, 1968

VS: Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George Wallace

Parties:Nixon:Republican Humphrey: Democratic American Independent: Wallace

Electoral Votes: Nixon: 301 Humphrey: 191 Wallace: 46

Election Round 2: November 7, 1972

Richard Nixon VS. George McGovern

Nixon: Republican McGovern: Democratic

Electoral Votes: Nixon 520 McGovern 17

Vietnam War:

-In his first term as president, Richard Nixon promised the American public that he would reduce U.S. troop levels in Vietnam.

-He pursued a plan he called "Vietnamization," whereby the U.S. would gradually withdraw from the war, leaving the South Vietnamese army to shoulder the bulk of the fighting.

-Despite his pledge to bring American G.I.s home, American ground troop levels in Vietnam remained high and the Nixon administration expanded the war into the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia.

-In 1973, during Nixon's final year in office, the last U.S. combat soldiers left Vietnam, but military advisors and some Marines remained.

-April 30, 1970 marks the date of President Richard Nixon’s address to the United States stating that the Vietnam war would be mobilized to Cambodia, the neighboring country to the west.

-The invasion of Cambodia was not acted on a whim, but in fact, the United States had been bombing Cambodia for over a year.

-President Nixon advocated the invasion of Cambodia with Vietnam troops, while the citizens of the country were apprehensive.

-The War Powers Act is a reaction to the Vietnam War.

-Congress passed it in 1973 when the United States withdrew from combat operations in Vietnam after more than a decade.

-The War Powers Act attempted to correct what Congress and the American public saw as excessive war-making powers in the hands of the president.

-President Nixon vetoed the War Powers Act, calling it unconstitutional. He claimed it severely curtailed a president's duties as commander-in-chief. However, Congress overrode the veto.

Policy of détente

-Détente (a French word meaning release from tension) is the name given to a period of improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that began tentatively in 1971 and took decisive form when President Richard M. Nixon visited the secretary-general of the Soviet Communist party, Leonid I. Brezhnev, in Moscow, May 1972.

-A less confrontational method of containing Communist power through diplomatic accords and a flexible system of rewards and punishments by which Washington might moderate Soviet behavior.

-Pulling the Soviets into a network of agreements, and thus giving them a stake in the status quo, would create a stable structure of peace. Finally, expanding economic and cultural ties might even serve to open up Soviet society.

Watergate, Nixon’s impeachment, and his ultimate resignation

-The scandal takes its name from the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., the site of a 17 June 1972 break-in into the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

- Subsequently, five men were arrested for breaking and entering.

-On September 15, a grand jury indicted the burglars (Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martínez, and Frank Sturgis) and two other men (E. Howard Hunt, Jr. and G. Gordon Liddy) for conspiracy, burglary and violation of federal wiretapping laws.

-Investigations by the FBI, the Senate Watergate Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the press (specifically Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post) revealed that this break-in was one of several illegal activities authorized and carried out by Nixon's staff.

-On 30 April 1973, Nixon asked for the resignation of two of his most influential aides, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman; both were indicted and went to prison. Nixon also fired White House Counsel John Dean.

-On 24 July 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled (United States v. Nixon) that Nixon had to hand over the tapes to investigators.

-These recordings further implicated Nixon and his aides. On 30 July 1974 he complied.
-Ten days after handing over the tapes, Nixon resigned, becoming the only U.S. President to have resigned from office. The additional pressure: impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives and certainty of a conviction in the Senate.

-Ford takes his place