Richard Nixon's Presidency

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Give a short biography of the 37th U.S. President, Richard Nixon.

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Most American presidents come from families that are either rich or, at the very least, comfortably well-off.  Richard Nixon was different than most American presidents in this way. He ended up being very different from all other American presidents as he was the only one (so far) to have been forced from office in the middle of a term.

Richard Nixon was born in 1913.  His parents had a small lemon farm that failed while Nixon was a child. They then had a family store in which all family members worked.  The family was so poor that Nixon had to turn down a scholarship to go to Harvard because the family could not afford the cost of getting him to and from Massachusetts.  Nixon ended up attending Whittier College in California. After graduating, he got a full scholarship to attend law school at Duke University, where he got a degree in 1937.

Nixon returned to California to practice law.  He married Thelma Ryan (better known as “Pat) in 1940. Nixon volunteered for military service and served in the Navy in WWII. 

After the war, Nixon ran for and won a seat in Congress in 1946. He left the House and won a Senate seat in 1950.  In 1952, he was selected as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running mate and served as Vice President from 1953 to 1961.  He was selected largely because he had made a name for himself as a fierce anticommunist.

Nixon ran for President himself in 1960 but lost to John F. Kennedy. He spent 8 years out of office practicing law, but then returned to politics and won the 1968 presidential election. He was reelected in 1972. In 1974, Nixon was forced to resign from office because of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Like most ex-presidents, Nixon traveled, gave speeches, and wrote books.  He died in 1994.

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