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A Short Biography on Richard Nixon

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Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9th, 1913 on his parent's lemon ranch in Yorba Linda, California. Richard was the second of five sons to Francis Anthony Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon, who named four of their five children after early English kings; Nixon himself being named after King Richard the Lionheart. Nixon's mother, Hannah, was a devout Quaker whose religion would deeply impact her son's lives. Little did Nixon's parents know that their ambitious, obedient son would one day become the President of the United States.

Richard Nixon, although he rose to greatness, did not start out that way. Nixon was not born into wealth like so many of the other presidents; he had to earn his way into the world with hard work and determination. While Nixon was growing up, he worked in his father's grocery store/gas station to help make ends meet; yet still he maintained outstanding grades and became a master debater in high school. Nixon completed his undergraduate studies at Whittier College in 1934, and received a full scholarship to Duke University's law school, where he was President of the Student Bar Association and a member of the law review. Nixon graduated from Duke University in 1937, ranking third in his class. After graduation, Nixon returned to Whittier and met his future wife, Thelma 'Patricia' Catherine Ryan, whom he married on June 21st, 1940.

Nixon's political career began after he received numerous commendations as a Lieutenant Commander and operations manager in the Navy, and the Whittier Republican Party asked him to run for Congress. Nixon campaigned hard, putting much emphasis on anti-communism and free enterprise, and his hard work paid off. He became a member of the House of Representatives, and a member of the House of Un-American Activities Committee. While serving as a Congressman, Nixon gained further recognition for his participation in the Alger Hiss Case, and his name became synonymous with anti Communism.

In 1950, Nixon defeated Helen Gahagan Douglas for California's Senate seat. During his campaign, Nixon became known as 'Tricky Dick' for distributing pink sheets of paper that compared Douglas' voting record to that of Vito Marcantonio, a socialist representative from New York. While serving as Senator of California, Nixon criticized the way the government handled foreign affairs and paraded his anti Communism.

Nixon's impassioned speeches on the dangers and threats of Communism gave him national support and attention, and in 1952, he was selected to be the running mate of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in his bid for the presidency. Eisenhower and Nixon won easily, and were reelected in 1956.

Nixon completely changed the role of the Vice President from one of relaxation and comfort into one of action and importance. Part of this newfound importance was due to Nixon's energetic interest in almost all areas of government, and also Eisenhower's health issues. Nixon was given a plethora of tasks, unlike any Vice President before him, which included speaking with foreign leaders, making national speeches, and visiting Congress regularly. The most important of all of Nixon's roles as Vice President was that of an 'international goodwill ambassador.' Nixon was not the first Vice President to travel abroad, but he did so with the most fervor. Nixon travelled to places such as South Korea, Japan, Pakistan, Argentina, and many other nations most of the time to simply promote peaceful, friendly relations. Nixon's most famous foreign visit occurred when he travelled to Moscow, in the Soviet Union. Nixon and Soviet Union Premier Nikita Khrushchev engaged in a lively debate on the pros and cons of capitalism and communism, and Nixon held his ground against Khrushchev. Most of this debate was captured on television, and Nixon's popularity at home increased even more.

By 1960, Nixon was ready to run for the highest office, the Presidency. Although many of his close friends advised him against it, Nixon was determined to put up a good fight for the presidency against John F. Kennedy. Kennedy won by the slimmest of margins, and Nixon returned to his home state of California to run for Governor. This and other political endeavors by Nixon would continue to fail until 1968, when he finally made a successful bid for the presidency with Spiro T. Agnew as his running mate.

On January 20th, 1969, Richard Nixon made his inaugural speech, where he promised he would unite the nation and promote peace with foreign countries, a promise he would live up to. While Nixon was President, he tackled many issues, ranging from education to foreign policy. He took an extremely active role as the President, and renovated the role, changing it forever.

President Richard Nixon took on the task of changing his nation at home very seriously. As soon as he became President, Nixon fought hard against racism, promoting the desegregation of all-black schools. By 1970, virtually all of all black schools had been desegregated and less than 10 percent of black children attended an all black school, which was a major achievement for President Nixon. President Nixon also addressed the issue of poverty in the nation by proposing the Family Assistance Program, which guaranteed a minimum income to American families with children. Although this program did not pass through the Senate, it brought attention to the issue of poverty and programs such as the SSI (Supplemental Security Income, still in effect today) were created in response to such issues.

One of the most important and lasting effects of Richard Nixon's presidency was the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, which still exists today. President Nixon's goal was to create an agency that would create and enforce air and water quality



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