Miller Center

Richard Nixon (1913 – 1994)

Life in Brief: Schoolchildren absorb at least one fact about Richard Milhous Nixon: He was the first and (so far) the only President of the United States to resign the office. Before the spectacular fall, there was an equally spectacular rise. In a half-dozen y… more life in brief »

Essays about Richard Nixon

Facts about Richard Nixon

37th President of the United States (1969 – 1974)
January 9, 1913, Yorba Linda, California
Political Party
April 22, 1994
Whittier College (1934); Duke University Law School (1937)
Society of Friends (Quaker)
June 21, 1940, to Thelma “Patricia” Catherine Ryan (1912–1993)
Patricia (1946– ); Julie (1948– )
Lawyer, Public Official
Yorba Linda, California

Six Crises (1962); RN (1978); The Real War (1980); Leaders (1982); Real Peace (1983); No More Vietnams (1985); 1999:Victory without War (1988); In the Arena (1990); Seize the Moment (1992); Beyond Peace (1994)

Richard Nixon Exhibits

‘Richard Nixon Reflects on Youth Today’

President Nixon met with a group of student body presidents. Neither he nor his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, were impressed. None of the students, Nixon said, measured up favorably against his own time as student body president at Whittier College.

‘Nixon: “The Jews are Born Spies”’

Conspiracy theories, as Richard Hofstadter noted, can target any demographic group. Nixon's targeted three: Jews, intellectuals, and Ivy Leaguers. Nixon privately called all three groups "arrogant" and said they placed themselves "above the law." By telling himself that Jews, intellectuals and Ivy Leaguers were immoral, even criminal, Nixon gave himself permission to do immoral, even criminal, things to any Jew, intellectual or Ivy Leaguer whom he feared could cause him political harm.

‘Nixon’s Final Advice to Rehnquist’

Rehnquist was nominated by President Richard Nixon in late 1971 and sworn in January 7, 1972. Rehnquist had served in the Nixon administration as Assistant Attorney General from 1969 to 1971. The 47-year-old had a reputation for being an outspoken conservative, a reputation he lived up to while on the court. He rose to Chief Justice in 1986, nominated by President Reagan. William Rehnquist's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1971 ran into trouble with the publication of a memo he had written nearly two decades earlier as a law clerk to Justice Robert Jackson. The memo, titled "Random Thought on the Segregation Case" and bearing Rehnquist's initials, urged the high court to uphold Plessy v. Freguson, notorious for the "separate but equal" doctrine that upheld racial segregation. "I know it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by 'liberal' colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed," the memo stated. "Regardless of the Justice’s individual views of the merits of segregation, it quite clearly is not one of those extreme cases which commands intervention from anyone of any conviction." The memo emerged on Dec. 5, 1971, just days before the Senate was to vote on the Rehnquist nomination. Rehnquist wrote to one of his Senate backers that the memo was composed at the request of Justice Jackson and was intended as a rough draft statement of Jackson's views, not his own. There was some thought of putting off the Senate vote until the next session of Congress, but in this Dec. 10, 1971, conversation with his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, President Richard Nixon threatened to retaliate by convening a special session of Congress that would force senators to work through the holidays. The Senate voted to confirm Rehnquist's nomination later that afternoon by a vote of 68-26. Upon hearing of the confirmation, Nixon telephoned Rehnquist from the Oval Office to congratulate him and offer some final advice.

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Featured video:

Address to the Nation Announcing Decision To Resign the Office of President (August 08, 1974)

Presidential Speech Archive

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Ken Hughes

Mr. Hughes coordinates the team of scholars reviewing and transcribing President Richard M. Nixon’s White House tapes, as part of the Presidential Recordings Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.

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