Richard NIxon


Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th president of the United States, was born January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California. Nixon was one of the most controversial politicians. He used the communist scare of the late forties and early fifties to catapult his career, but as president he eased tension with the Soviet Union and opened relations with Red China. He was president during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

Nixon came from a southern-California Quaker family, where hard work was emphasized. A terrific student, he was invited by Harvard and Yale to apply for scholarships, but his older brother\'s illness and the Depression forced him to stay near home. He attended Whittier College, where he graduated second in his class in 1934. He went on to law school at Duke University. He graduated third in his class, and applied for jobs with both large Northeastern law firms and the FBI. His applications were all rejected, however, his mother helped get him a job at a friend\'s local law firm.

At the outbreak of WWII, Nixon went to work for the tire rationing section the Office of Price Administration in Washington, DC. Eight months later, he joined the Navy and was sent to the Pacific as a supply officer. He was popular with his men, and such an accomplished poker player that he was able to send enough of his comrades money back home to help fund his first political campaign.
After returning from the war, Nixon entered politics, answering a Republican party call in the newspaper for someone to run against the five-term Democratic Congressman, Jerry Voorhis. Nixon seemed the perfect man for the job, and he was welcomed generously by the California Republican party.
The style of Nixon\'s first campaign set the tone for the early part of his political career, where he achieved fame as a devout anti-Communist. He accused Congressman Voorhis of being a communist. This sort of straightforward communist-bashing was new at the time. Nixon defeated Voorhis with sixty percent of the vote.
Nixon later said "Of course I knew Jerry Voorhis wasn\'t a communist, but I had to win."

Nixon became the junior member of the House Committee on un-American Activities. Nixon\'s pursuit of Alger Hiss, a former adviser to Franklin Roosevelt, gave him national exposure. Hiss had been accused of being a communist and of transmitting secret State Department documents to the Soviets. Hiss was convicted and jailed.
At the age of thirty-five, Nixon was a national figure, and he used this fame to an easy victory in his senate race against three-term Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950, once again adopting a communist-bashing campaign. He accused Ms. Douglas, who opposed the un-American Activities Committee, of being "pink right down to her underwear." In return, Douglas gave Nixon with his nickname, "Tricky Dick."

Nixon was in the US Senate for a year-and-a-half when the Republican national convention selected him to be General Dwight D. Eisenhower\'s running mate. Much of Nixon\'s success had been built on the political destroying of his Democratic foes, and Nixon was expected to do much of the dirty work of campaigning. Nixon performed his task admirably, casting doubt on the abilities and patriotism of his and Eisenhower\'s Democratic opponent, Adlai Stevenson.

Nixon himself had to deal with scrutiny during the campaign. The New York Post announced that he had received secret campaign contributions, he was nearly off the ticket. Instead of giving up, Nixon went on national television and appealed to the voters. He delivered the "Checkers Speech," showing his financial situation and saying that he was not a wealthy man. The
only contribution he claimed to have kept was a dog named Checkers. The speech was a success. Nixon remained on the ticket and became vice-president when Eisenhower defeated Stevenson.

When Eisenhower was to run again in 1956, he was not sure he wanted Nixon with him. Nixon pressured the president into making a decision, refused Eisenhower\'s offer of a cabinet position, and the Republican ticket once again had Richard Milhous Nixon as the vice-presidential candidate.
In the second campaign, Nixon moved away from his muck-raking, communist-bashing techniques, and the press began speaking of a "New Nixon." Because of Eisenhower\'s apparent support, Nixon was considered by many the Republican heir, and he