The political career of Richard Nixon is a conundrum. His presidency was remarkable for its policy accomplishments, especially in international affairs, but it will be forever associated with the Watergate crisis. Americans' faith in their government was severely shaken by this crisis, and new norms for political openness and responsibility were established as a result. It's a sobering reminder of why leadership honesty is so crucial in a democratic society. Nixon's influence on American politics and his part in building the present world order are obvious, despite the cloud cast by Watergate.
The 37th President of the United States, Richard Nixon, is a major figure in the development of the United States. There were several noteworthy achievements during his presidency, but they are largely overlooked because of the Watergate affair. What happened that day will forever change American politics and the public's faith in its leaders.
The Path to the Oval Office
Nixon's rise to power was defined by savvy Cold War politics analysis and a desire to serve the public. He was Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice president and an accomplished diplomat and ardent opponent of communism before becoming president. With his savvy in politics, he was able to win the presidency in 1968.
Achievements Dwarfed by the Scandal
There were many highlights throughout Nixon's presidency. He founded the EPA, began detente with the Soviet Union, and made historic progress toward normalizing relations with China. Unfortunately, the Watergate scandal eventually obscured these successes.
What Happened at Watergate
When five men were caught in 1972 breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., the controversy known as "Watergate" began. The Nixon administration's complicity in the cover-up was eventually exposed. A significant constitutional crisis was reached as a result of the episode, with far-reaching consequences for American democracy.
In spite of Nixon's early denials, a number of investigations eventually revealed a system of political espionage, sabotage, and bribery directed at Nixon's perceived adversaries. Nixon was the first U.S. president to ever resign, doing so in August 1974 in the face of nearly certain impeachment by the House of Representatives.