Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th president of the United States, and the only one to resign from office in the history of the country. Born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California, Nixon was a Republican Party member who served as vice president under President Dwight David Eisenhower in the 1950s. Nixon ran for president for the first time in 1960, losing to the very charismatic and young Democrat, John F. Kennedy. The 1960 election was one of the closest elections in history. Kennedy went on to become one of the most popular presidents ever.
Despite his loss to Kennedy in 1960, Nixon bounced back in the 1968 election when he defeated Democrat, Hubert Humphrey in a landslide victory. The country was in turmoil during the 60s. The conflict in Vietnam was raging, the country was reeling from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, and his brother Senator Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. Nixon’s victory indicated the country was ready for a conservative leadership during these tough times.
Nixon won the 1972 election over Democrat George McGovern in another landslide victory, which seemed to establish Nixon’s legacy as a great president. Among his accomplishments was to open trade with China, and his promise to end the conflict in Vietnam. However, Nixon would end up resigning from office just a year after his victory.
It was discovered that the Republican Party, with Nixon’s knowledge, had secretly recorded the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. during the weeks leading up to the election. Nixon tried to cover up the scandal, but the pressure was too great. Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace rather than be impeached from office, which means to be removed from office by the U.S. Congress. He became the first president ever to quit while serving in office.