Richard Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California. After graduating from school, Richard studied at Whittier College and Duke University School of Law. After earning his law degree, he moved back home to Whittier, where he joined a law firm. In 1940, he married a woman named Patricia Ryan, who later produced two daughters: Patricia and Julie.
In 1942, Richard applied for a Navy commission and served in the Pacific Campaign of World War 2. When he left the Navy, he had reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
In 1946, he won a position in the House of Representatives after a strong political campaign. In 1948, he led the investigation of a man named Alger Hiss, a man who had spied for the Soviet Union. The investigation shoved Nixon into the national spotlight and made him a well known figure in politics. In 1948, he won a position in the United States Senate.
In Congress, Nixon made many powerful friends and in 1952, he was selected as Eisenhower's running mate for the presidency. After they won the election, Nixon served for eight years as Vice President for both of Eisenhower's terms.
In 1960, Nixon decided to run for the presidency, but lost to John F. Kennedy by a very small margin. In 1962, he ran for the position of governor in California, but once again fell disappointingly short. During the next several years, he spent his time practicing law and traveling throughout Europe and Asia.
Never one to give up, Richard announced a second bid for presidency and won the 1968 election by a very large margin. The victory came as a surprise to many who had thought that Nixon's political career was over. Richard Nixon was an excellent diplomat, opening contact with China and the Soviet Union. Among his domestic achievements are the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency and funding for cancer research. Nixon also ended the segregation in southern schools, ending one of the most blatant forms of racism in the United States.
When Nixon took office, the highly controversial Vietnam War was still going on. He decided to withdraw some troops, but did not want to completely abandon the nation to the invading communist army. Despite several moves that garnered public support such as the Cambodian incursion and bombing of North Vietnam, war protesters all over the world demanded that the United States withdraw.
In 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were put in place, largely ending United States involvement in Vietnam. Although many people thought that the war could have been won, the human cost would have been massive. In any case, the popularity of the war was rapidly declining as the number of deaths piled up and the Hippie Movement grew more powerful.
At the same time, the Watergate scandal and investigation was well under way. The scandal erupted when a number of members of Nixon's campaign were caught breaking into the Watergate Hotel in search of documents that could help Nixon get reelected. A few months after the end of the war, Nixon was charged for blocking the investigation by the FBI and the investigation began to look at other aspects of his presidency.
In July of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee passed Articles of Impeachment and the Supreme Court issued an order that released White House tapes that implicated the president in the Watergate scandal. Under increasing pressure from congress and the public, Richard Nixon chose to resign from the presidency on August 9, 1974, before the impeachment trials could begin. His position was taken by vice president Gerald Ford and Nixon never had to stand trial for the scandal.
After his resignation, Richard moved to San Clemente, California. In 1980 they moved to New York City and eventually settled in New Jersey in 1981. During his retirement, he traveled all over the world on diplomatic missions. In 1986, he traveled to the Soviet Union, where he met with Mikhail Gorbachev to work on a nuclear arms treaty. In 1989, he traveled to China, where he voiced the disgust that the United States had over the Tiananmen Square incident. In 1991, he met with Boris Yeltsin, he voiced his opposition to the Soviet regime, which crumbled that same year. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he worked with the US government to ensure that Russia received adequate aid for its transition out of communism.
Nixon also published ten books, which were all bestsellers. He gave up protection by the Secret Service in 1985, becoming the first president to do so and saved the taxpayers $3 million a year in costs as a result. In 1994, he established the Nixon Center, which promoted strong diplomacy with foreign nations.
On April 22, 1994, Richard Nixon died in New York and was buried at the Nixon Library.