Why was Nixon's announcement on August 8, 1974 significant?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The announcement that President Richard Nixon made on this date was significant because it was the first (and so far only) time that a President of the United States had (while still living) been forced to leave office.

Nixon was forced to resign because he was sure to be impeached and convicted for his role in the Watergate affair.  He had used his power as president to try to cover up a burglary that had been committed by people who worked for his campaign in 1972.

On August 9, 1974, Nixon announced that he was resigning.  This had never happened before and has not happened since.

blackrose14's profile pic

blackrose14 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

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First, Nixon's speech was given on August 9, 1974, not on the 8th and it is important because he is the first and only president to resign from that office. 

The resignation speech was delivered from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. Nixon stated that he was resigning for the good of the country and asked the nation to support the new president, Gerald Ford. Nixon went on to review the accomplishments of his presidency, especially in foreign policy.

Nixon's speech contained no admission of wrongdoing, and was termed "a masterpiece" by Conrad Black, one of his biographers. Black opined that "What was intended to be an unprecedented humiliation for any American president, Nixon converted into a virtual parliamentary acknowledgement of almost blameless insufficiency of legislative support to continue. He left while devoting half his address to a recitation of his accomplishments in office."The initial response from network commentators was generally favorable, with only Roger Mudd of CBSstating that Nixon had evaded the issue, and had not admitted his role in the cover-up.

 

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