Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: A realist in foreign policy, Nixon renewed American relations with the People’s Republic of China, achieved détente with the Soviet Union, and ended the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Ironically, because of his “Watergate coverup,” he aroused public and congressional opposition to the “imperial presidency.”
Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, in Southern California, on January 9, 1913, the son of Francis A. Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon. “Frank” Nixon was a small businessman, and Richard as a boy worked in the family store, driving into Los Angeles early each morning to buy fruits and vegetables and then going on to school. He attended public schools, was graduated from Whittier College in 1934, and from Duke University’s law school in 1937. As a young man Nixon was above average in height, strong, but slender, weighing a little more than 150 pounds. His most prominent physical characteristics were a “ski-slide” nose, a dark beard despite frequent shaving, and a rather stiff manner. Despite a good record in law school, he found no job in New York City or even with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which may have made him wary of the “Eastern Establishment.” He practiced law in California from 1937 to 1942, in 1940 marrying Thelma Catherine “Pat” Ryan. They had two daughters, Patricia and Julie. Soon after the United States entered World...
(The entire section is 2240 words.)
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