Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Key Events in the Presidency of Richard Nixon


January 20, 1969

Nixon is sworn into office as the thirty-seventh President of the United States.

February 23, 1969

Nixon begins an eight-day European visit in Brussels.

March 4, 1969

Nixon warns that the United States will take action in the event of a new Viet Cong offensive.

April 18, 1969

Following an attack on a U.S. plane on April 15, Nixon orders that reconnaissance flights off of North Korea be resumed.

April 30, 1969

Nixon asks that Congress be granted authority to consolidate federal aid programs to states and cities.

May 14, 1969

Nixon proposes a plan whereby the United States and North Vietnam would agree to withdraw forces from South Vietnam.

May 27, 1969

Nixon asks that Congress make the Post Office department a public corporation.

June 8, 1969

Nixon announces a plan to withdraw 25,000 U.S. troops from South Vietnam by August 31.

July 9, 1969

Nixon orders cuts in overseas government personnel by 10 percent.

July 25, 1969

Nixon affirms his desire to withdraw U.S. troops from southeast Asia and declares that individual nations will bear a larger responsibility for their own security. Initially referred to as the "Guam Doctrine," this statement later becomes known as the "Nixon Doctrine."

August 8, 1969

Nixon discloses his program for welfare reform, which includes the Family Assistance Plan.

October 31, 1969

Nixon declares that Latin America must be responsible for its own social and economic progress.

November 3, 1969

Nixon reveals that North Vietnam has rejected the administration's secret peace offers. He proposes a plan for the gradual and secretive withdrawal of troops.

November 26, 1969

Nixon signs the Selective Service Reform bill, ensuring that draftees are selected by a lottery system.


March 24, 1970

The administration announces that it will seek to end de jure segregation.

April 23, 1970

Nixon signs executive order ending occupational and parental deferments for the draft.

June 17, 1970

Nixon addresses the nation through television, asking for wage and price restraint.

July 9, 1970

Nixon puts forth a plan to reorganize the federal agencies that handle environmental problems.

July 20, 1970

Nixon states in a news conference that the United States would accept a coalition government in Vietnam if it was chosen in an open election.

July 23, 1970

Nixon approves a plan for an Interagency Committee on Intelligence to conduct operations against domestic targets.

August 12, 1970

Nixon approves and signs the Postal Reorganization Act, which establishes an independent United States Postal Service.

September 18, 1970

Nixon meets with Israeli Premier Golda Meir to talk about problems in the Middle East.

October 7, 1970

In a televised address, Nixon proposes a five-point peace plan for Indochina. The plan includes a "cease-fire in place" and the negotiated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.

October 29, 1970

While at a campaign rally in California, demonstrators taunt Nixon and throw objects at him.

December 29, 1970

Nixon signs the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, which gives the secretary of labor the responsibility of setting workplace safety standards for jobs in the United States.

December 31, 1970

Nixon signs a clean air bill which mandates that car manufacturers reduce certain pollutants by 90 percent.


January 4, 1971

Nixon tells an ABC news commentator that he is now a "Keynesian."

January 19, 1971

Nixon delays the construction of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal in order to stop environmental damage.

January 22, 1971

Nixon gives his State of the Union message.

February 16, 1971

Taping systems are activated in the White House. The Oval Office is outfitted with a voice-activated system and the Cabinet Room with a manual system.

April 6, 1971

A voice-activated taping system in the Executive Office Building (EOB) becomes operational. Taping also begins on phone conversations held in the Oval Office, the EOB, and the Lincoln Sitting Room.

May 18, 1971

Nixon signs a Wage-Price Controls Bill, extending his authority to impose restraints on wages, prices, salaries, and rents for another year.

June 13, 1971

The New York Times begins to publish secret internal documents referred to as the "Pentagon Papers," a development which leads the White House become increasingly fearful of further disclosures. Within a week, a special unit named the "Plumbers" is created to stop the leaks.

July 12, 1971

Nixon signs an Emergency Employment Act, earmarking $2.25 billion for the creation of public service jobs at state and local levels.

July 15, 1971

Nixon shocks the nation with the news that he plans to visit China within the next year.

August 15, 1971

Nixon declares a 90-day freeze on wages and prices, known as Phase One of his economic program.

October 7, 1971

Nixon announces Phase Two of his economic plan.

December 9, 1971

Nixon vetoes legislation calling for the establishment of a national day-care system.

December 22, 1971

Nixon signs an extension of the Economic Stabilization Act, allowing himself another year in which to right the economy.


January 7, 1972

Nixon announces that he will seek another term in office.

January 20, 1972

Nixon gives his State of the Union message.

February 21-27, 1972

President and Mrs. Nixon arrive in China. A joint communique, later known as the Shanghai Communique, is released by the United States and China. It calls for both countries agree to increase their contacts, and for the United States to withdraw gradually from Taiwan.

February 28, 1972

Nixon addresses the nation via television to discuss his trip to China.

March 16, 1972

Nixon dismisses busing as a means of achieving racial integration and seeks legislation that would deny court-ordered busing.

April 3, 1972

Nixon enacts legislation devaluing the dollar.

May 8, 1972

On national television, Nixon states that he has ordered the mining of North Vietnamese ports and the bombing of military targets in the North Vietnam.

May 16, 1972

The taping system attached to the telephone on the Camp David study table becomes operational.

May 17, 1972

A voice-activated taping system in Aspen Lodge at Camp David becomes operational.

May 18, 1972

The taping system attached to the telephone on the Camp David study desk becomes operational.

May 22, 1972

Nixon arrives in the Soviet Union for a summit meeting. He is the first sitting President to visit the U.S.S.R.

June 17, 1972

Police seize James McCord, Frank Sturgis, and three Cubans inside Democratic Headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate Hotel. They confiscate cameras, wiretapping materials, and $2,300 in cash.

June 23, 1972

Nixon orders Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to tell the F.B.I. not to go any further with its Watergate investigation, justifying his actions on national security grounds.

August 23, 1972

Nixon accepts the Republican nomination for President.

August 29, 1972

In a news conference, Nixon declares that no one on the White House staff, in the administration, or anyone "presently employed" was involved in the Watergate break-in.

October 20, 1972

Nixon endorses a bill which calls for revenue sharing with the states and grants over $30 billion to state and local governments over the course of five years.

October 21, 1972

Nixon enhances the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the sale and use of pesticides.

October 30, 1972

Nixon signs sixty bills, one of which provides more than $5 billion in benefits for the aged, blind, and disabled, while also increasing Social Security taxes.

November 7, 1972

Nixon wins the presidential election in a landslide, but Congress remains in Democratic hands.

November 8, 1972

Nixon asks for the resignation of all agency directors, federal department heads, and presidential appointees.


January 11, 1973

Phase Three of the economic plan is announced, in which wages and price controls will be ended in all but a few industries.

January 20, 1973

President Nixon is inaugurated for his second term.

January 27, 1973

Paris Peace Accords are signed by all parties at war in Vietnam.

March 4, 1973

The voice-activated taping system at Camp David ceases operation, as does the system attached to the desk telephone in the Camp David study.

April 30, 1973

Nixon admits responsibility for the Watergate affair on television, but continues to assert no prior knowledge of it.

June 13, 1973

Nixon declares a freeze on all prices for sixty days, with the exception of raw agricultural products and rents.

June 21, 1973

The taping system attached to the table phone in the Camp David study ceases operation.

July 12, 1973

The voice-activated taping system in the Oval Office ceases operation.

July 16, 1973

Testifying before the Senate Watergate Committee, Federal Aviation administrator Alexander Butterfield confirms the existence of an Oval Office taping system.

July 18, 1973

Phase Four of the economic program is revealed, in which the freeze is lifted on all foods except beef and health-care products.

July 18, 1973

The manual taping system in the Cabinet Room ceases operation, as do those attached to telephones in the Oval Office, the EOB, and the Lincoln Sitting Room.

July 23, 1973

Claiming executive privilege, Nixon refuses to turn over subpoened tapes to the Senate Watergate Committee, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC).

August 7-8, 1973

Vice President Agnew comes under scrutiny for charges stemming from campaign contributions he received while in office from persons who were later given government contracts. Agnew vehemently denies the charges in a press conference.

August 15, 1973

Nixon denies involvement in the Watergate cover-up in a televised address.

October 10, 1973

Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns and pleads "no contest" to charges stemming from a kickback scheme he ran while Governor of Maryland. Agnew is fined $10,000 and sentenced to three years probation.

October 12, 1973

Gerald Ford is nominated as vice president. After being confirmation by Congress, he is sworn in on December 6.

November 7, 1973

Nixon addresses the nation regarding the energy crisis.

December 8, 1973

Nixon discloses his personal finances, which indicate he paid less than $1,000 in taxes in 1970 and 1971.

December 21, 1973

Nixon increases Social Security benefits.


January 4, 1974

The Senate Watergate Committee subpoenas more than 500 tapes, which Nixon refuses to hand over, stating that presidential communications must remain confidential.

January 30, 1974

Nixon gives his State of the Union address, in which he refuses to resign and demands an end to the Watergate investigation.

April 3, 1974

As a result of an IRS investigation into Nixon's finances, the President is forced to pay $432,787 in back taxes and $33,000 interest.

April 8, 1974

Nixon increases the minimum wage to $2 with the likelihood of future increases and broader coverage.

April 29, 1974

Nixon addresses the nation before disclosing more than 1,200 pages of his conversations regarding Watergate.

May 23, 1974

Despite Vice President Ford's advice to surrender the necessary evidence to the House Judiciary Committee, Nixon refuses to hand over Watergate-related tapes.

July 24, 1974

In an 8-0 ruling, the Supreme Court orders that Nixon turn over sixty-four tapes to the Senate Watergate Committee. The tapes disclose Nixon's knowledge and participation in the cover-up of the Watergate burglary.

July 27-30, 1974

Three articles of impeachment are brought against Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and the unconstitutional defiance of its subpoenas.

August 5, 1974

Three new transcripts are released, showing that Nixon ordered a cover-up less than a week after the break-in. Nixon issues a statement with the transcripts indicating that he withheld this evidence from his lawyers and from those who support him on the Judiciary Committee.

August 6, 1974

Nixon informs his cabinet that he will not resign despite the fact that even his closest advisors are suggesting that he should.

August 7, 1974

Nixon is told by a few of his supporters that he would not win an impeachment trial. Nixon tells Kissinger, Ford, and a few Congressional leaders that he plans to resign.

August 8, 1974

Nixon resigns the presidency, effective at noon the next day, in a televised address.

August 9, 1974

Nixon leaves for California. His letter of resignation is sent to Kissinger, thus making Gerald Ford the thirty-eighth President of the United States.