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Richard Nixon

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Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States (1969–1974) and is the only president to resign the office. He was also the 36th Vice President of the United States (1953–1961).

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing undergraduate work at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law in La Mirada. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the United States Navy, serving in the Pacific theater, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant commander during World War II. He was elected in 1946 as a Republican to the House of Representatives representing California's 12th Congressional district, and in 1950 to the United States Senate. He was selected to be the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party nominee, in the 1952 presidential election, becoming one of the youngest vice presidents in history. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of California in 1962; following these losses, Nixon announced his withdrawal from the political scene. In 1968, however, he ran again for president of the United States and was elected.

The most immediate task facing President Nixon was a resolution of the Vietnam War. He initially escalated the conflict, overseeing incursions into neighboring countries, though American military personnel were gradually withdrawn and he successfully negotiated a ceasefire with North Vietnam in 1973, effectively ending American involvement in the war. His foreign policy initiatives were largely successful: his groundbreaking visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972 opened diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he implemented new economic policies which called for wage and price control and the abolition of the gold standard. He was reelected by a landslide in 1972. In his second term, the nation was afflicted with economic difficulties. In the face of likely impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. He was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, for any federal crimes he may have committed while in office.

In his retirement, Nixon became a prolific author and undertook many foreign trips. His work as an elder statesman helped to rehabilitate his public image. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81.

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