Gerald R. Ford 1974-1977 John F. Kennedy 1961-1963 Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974 Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969
Claim to Fame Nixon is the only American elected twice to the offices of vice president and president. In this picture taken in 1955, Vice President Nixon is seated to the right of President Eisenhower.
Second Claim to Fame He is the only President of the United States to have resigned from the office.
Oddities Richard Nixon never wore blue jeans in his life. He was most often seen wearing a tie. He grew facial hair very quickly. Typically, he shaved five times a day to avoid having a “five o’clock shadow”
Quaker Upbringing President Nixon was a Quaker. He had had a conservative upbringing: no drinking, dancing, or swearing.
Young Debater After declining enrollment at Harvard due to insufficient funds, he attended Wittier College. At Wittier, he was a formidable debater and was elected student body president.
Nixon defeats Voorhis Nixon was elected to the U.S. House as a Republican from California after he defeated Democratic incumbent Jerry Voorhis. Nixon’s campaign accused Voorhis of cooperating with communist controlled labor unions.
Member of the House Un- American Activities Committee Nixon got his name in the public spotlight when he helped to convict Alger Hiss as a “red” spy. Hiss had been an advisor to FDR. so Conservative Republicans loved it when Nixon claimed he could link a liberal president to Communism.
“Pink Right Down to her Underwear” In 1950, Nixon became a U.S. Senator when he defeated Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas. He accused her of communist sympathies and said she was “pink right down to her underwear ”
Helen Douglas gave Nixon his enduring nickname: “Tricky Dick”
In 1952, Nixon was elected Vice President on Eisenhower’s ticket
Slush Fund During the campaign, the news media reported that Nixon had kept a secret slush fund of campaign cash for personal use. Politicians from both parties urged Eisenhower to drop him from the ticket
Checker’s Speech Nixon defended himself vigorously. In addition, he said that although he had been given a cocker spaniel dog named “Checkers” as part of the campaign, he was not going to give it back because “his daughters loved it so” His “Checker’s Speech” helped him remain on the ticket.
“Kitchen Debate” Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev held a discussion at the American National Exhibit in Moscow comparing the technologies of the two powers. In the debate they discussed household items such as color televisions and in the process reviewed differences in ideology and the quality of life in both countries.
Nixon’s Relationship with Eisenhower Nixon had a frosty relationship with President Eisenhower. When asked what policy decision Nixon helped shape, Eisenhower replied, “Give me a week and I will try to think of one.”
Nixon Runs for President In 1960, Nixon ran for President against John F. Kennedy. Nixon emphasized his experience as vice president. Kennedy called for new leadership and charged that the Republicans had allowed the Soviets to make great gains.
Kennedy v. Nixon: First televised presidential debate
Television Image Kennedy not only looked better physically, he also came off as polished, articulate, and mature. JFK’s performance dispelled fears that he was too young to be president, and he won by a narrow margin.
Race for Governor of California Against the advice of many friends, Nixon chose to challenge the popular Pat Brown for Governor of California. Perhaps he was looking for a chance not to run for President again in 1964.
Political Career Over? When Nixon lost, he blamed the media for favoring his opponent. He said to reporters,”You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Some thought it was the end of his career.
Kent State After Kennedy was killed, President Johnson escalated the number of troops in Vietnam. The country became badly divided over the war. This photo was taken at Kent State University where National Guard troops opened up fire on protesting students.
Forgotten Victims "When people think of historic events, they don't usually remember the words … they remember the images. This is a photo of a small boy who begged on the streets of Saigon holding the hand of his sister.
Vietnamese children running away from Napalm bombs
The “Silent Majority” Nixon appealed to the “silent majority” of social conservatives who disliked the hippie counterculture and anti-war demonstrators. He won handily in 1968.
The Nixon Doctrine Nixon’s strategy of the war was to replace American troops with Vietnamese troops (“Vietnamization”) But, South Vietnamese soldiers suffered from low morale, corruption, and lack of funding.
Secret Bombing of Cambodia Without telling Congress or the American people, Nixon ordered the military to bomb Cambodia, a neutral nation, that was at times a haven for escaping Viet Cong and Vietminh.
Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg served in the Pentagon and believed that the Vietnam War was a lost cause and that the American people were being lied to. He released classified documents known as the “Pentagon Papers” which revealed that the top military brass kept Americans in the dark.
“Peace with Honor” Nixon allowed his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, to negotiate a peace deal that would give Americans a “decent interval” to get out of Vietnam before the country was taken over by the communists
Collapse of Saigon After a majority of American soldiers had withdrawn from Vietnam, the South collapsed to the Communists. Desperate people tried to escape, and it was an ugly business.
The China Card As tension between the United States and the Soviet Union increased, Nixon played the “China card” in that he deliberately improved relations with China to gain a strategic advantage over the Soviets.
Ping Pong Diplomacy In order to improve relations between the United States and China, the U.S. sent the American table tennis team to Beijing. Also, President Nixon personally traveled to China to meet with Mao Zedong.
Nixon at the Great Wall Opening the door to China is considered to be President Nixon’s best foreign policy achievement.
Yom Kippur War (October 1973) When Israel became involved in a war with its Arab neighbors over land, Nixon sent an airlift of American arms to help Israel, and Israel won the war. This indirectly led to the Oil Crisis that same year.
The Imperial Presidency President Nixon is credited with creating the modern day imperial presidency in which the president maintains a high level of control over government policy and decisions. His White House guards wore the uniforms of palace guards.
Vice President Resigns In 1973, Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro Agnew, resigned amidst charges of bribery, tax evasion, and money laundering. Gerald R. Ford replaced him.
1972 Landslide Nixon was re-elected in 1972 in one of the biggest landslide election victories in U.S. political history. He carried 49 out of the 50 states. Ironically, a third-rate burglary attempt would eventually cause him to resign