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° Modern Presidents - Speeches of Richard Nixon

Nixon, Richard M. - 37th President
20 January 1969 to 9 August 1974

Russell Renka
Southeast Missouri State University

General Sources:  The Miller Center's American President.org site has American President - Richard Nixon.
    The American Experience The Presidents Richard M. Nixon PBS has an overview plus five topics; a Primary Sources - Richard M. Nixon with Nixon speeches from 1947 through 1974; and a Teacher's Guide - Richard M. Nixon with a Timeline - Richard M. Nixon from 1969 through 1974.
    NARA's Nixon Presidential Materials Home Page has Nixon White House Tapes Home Page with 2019 hours of tapes as of the December 2003 release of the 4th of 5 segments.  These now go through 1972 and part of 1973.
    The Internet Public Library POTUS - Richard M. Nixon includes the usual compilation of election results, Cabinet offices, and cross-references to biographical sources.
    The privately run Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace has an Archives site but so far in 2004, holdings are not available online. 
    The Nixon Era Center from Mountain State University has Watergate.com's Nixon Era Times: The Official Publication of the Nixon Era Center at Mountain State University with selected on-line resources at  Nixon Era Center.  This site is dedicated to rewriting the accepted historical record of Nixon in Watergate via the work of Len Colodny.  It's nice for fans devoted to rewriting history via website; but take due caution and note that Gordon Liddy is a major source of this particular revisionism.   

Character Above All: Richard M. Nixon is an essay by journalist Tom Wicker.

Biographies of Richard Nixon

    American President has a brief biography (author unspecified).

    The short biography from Malcolm Farnsworth's watergate.info - The Scandal That Destroyed President Richard Nixon has nested links to notable Nixon speeches, including Checkers from 1952, the 1962 "Won't have Nixon to kick around anymore" temporary retirement statement after his California gubernatorial loss, and the 1968 Republican National Convention acceptance speech.  It concludes with the former President's death in 1994 accompanied by eulogies from Billy Graham, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Pete Wilson, and Bob Dole.

Retrospective:   The Nixon Presidency — 30 Years After from the Miller Center of Public Affairs has extensive detail of Nixon's final days in office, including  "The Last Three Days in Office"

1960s and 1970s History Links
:  See United States History Index:  The 1960's and United States History Index:  The 1970s to catch many of the topics cited here.

1968 Presidential Election:   Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections has 1968 Election Results.  Nixon's Southern Strategy bears fruit as the Democrat (Vice-President Hubert Humphrey) wins only one of the 11 former Confederacy states, namely Texas.  Third-party candidate George Wallace wins five, but Nixon gets the rest, and the border south as well.

1972 Presidential ElectionDave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections has 1972 Election Results.  Senator McGovern won but a single state of 50 plus the District of Columbia.  And look at the counties!  It roughly matched Johnson's 1964 win in popular vote and Electoral College domination, but lacked the 1964 geographic concentration of the southern Goldwater vote.

Major Speeches:  Go to my Speeches of Richard Nixon for extensive speech links.

    At Webcorp -- Nixon Audio Archives are a handful of leading examples of Nixon as speaker, including the famous 1959 "Kitchen Debate" with Nikita Khrushchev.  That exchange is also profiled at History Channel.  Also, Webcorp -- Nixon Video Archives has excerpts from Nixon's Checkers Speech of 1952, his 'last press conference' after a defeat in 1962, and comments on Watergate in 1974.  See also State of the Union Addresses for 1970 through 1974.  Additional speeches are available through the Farnsworth site located below, under 'Watergate.'
    Vietnam figures centrally in several major speeches.  See Speeches By And About Richard Nixon and American Experience The Presidents Richard M. Nixon PBS for these, including the Vietnamization/'Silent Majority' speech of 3 November 1969 and "Peace with Honor" in 1973.  Also see April 30, 1970 from the Nixon Library.
    The Vassar Vietnam site has Richard M. Nixon with several additional speeches and documents, including the 1973 "Peace with Honor' announcement of a peace treaty.   
    The 1974 resignation speech is at the History Channel.  The 8 August 1974 resignation announcement is at Richard Nixon's resignation; see the official 9 August 1974 signed resignation document, at NARA Exhibit American Originals - Resignation of President Richard Nixon.
    Vincent Voice Library's President Richard M. Nixon has a RealAudio excerpt from the 1971 State of the Union Address.
    For audio and video excerpts, see American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank M-R, go to R for "Richard Nixon," and browse these.  The first heading gives a list (at Speeches By And About Richard Nixon).  Then return to the original site for five audio items, including the full Checkers speech of 1952, Cambodian 'incursion' in April 1970, and the brief Resignation Speech in August 1974.
    Other excerpts, many with Watergate orientation, are at Welcome to Webcorp Multimedia! - Nixon Audio Archive  You'll hear "I am not a crook" at site entry.  It has the rarely cited 1959 "Kitchen Debates" of Vice President Nixon in Moscow with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (Webcorp Multimedia - Nixon Debates!).

Speech Writing:  Speech Writing in the Nixon and Ford White Houses from Craig R. Smith covers the several important speech writers who crafted Nixon speeches.

Campaign Commercials:  Of the 11 classic commercials cited at AllPolitics - Ad Archive, one is from 1960, entitled "JFK Uses Ike to Blast Nixon."  Nixon subsequently lost this presidential election, the closest one this century.   MoviePlayer is required for this site, and can be downloaded from Apple - Products - QuickTime.

Photographic History of Nixon Presidency:  Free-lance photo-journalist Fred Maroon had exceptional access to Richard Nixon during the presidential years of 1970 through 1974.  His Photographing History Introduction includes Photographing History Photojournalism with 5 subsections.  Watergate makes up the majority of the pictures.  (He also has a useful time line, at Photographing History Timeline).
    Ollie Atkins was the official White House photographer during the entire Nixon Administration:  see his Richard M. Nixon.  His pictures are mostly the customary White House-approved genre, but many are still highly interesting or insightful.  You'll find Nixon with Elvis, Nixon with dress shoes on the beach, and Nixon's resignation pictures from August 1974.  There is also a file specifically on Nixon in China with 62 photographs.  The collections are part of Camera on Assignment:  The Ollie Atkins Photograph Collection at George Mason University.  Atkins was principal White House photographer for the Saturday Evening Post during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson presidencies of 1953-69.
    A photo series on the Nixon resignation from office in August 1974 is linked from American RadioWorks - The President Calling - Nixon under the heading "The Last Days" (scroll to the bottom for it).

Vice-President Spiro Agnew:  Ever since 1968 presidential nominees have won through primaries and then peremptorily selected their own running mates and potential successors.  For a taste of Nixon's choice, hear History Channel - Spiro Agnew, U.S. vice president, denounces student political movements.  When Agnew was found out and obliged to resign office in disgrace in October 1973, he lashed out; hear History Channel - Spiro Agnew, U.S. vice president, announces resignation.  Nixon then named House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to replace Agnew under terms of the 25th Amendment; Ford was confirmed by the House and Senate in December 1973.
    The insightful Agnew obituary from the New York Times is at (pending).  See also Lance Morrow on the Death of Agnew, AllPolitics - TIME This Week Sep. 30, 1996; and Online NewsHour Remembering Spiro Agnew -- September 18, 1996.

Watergate:  For broad introduction, Watergate - The Scandal That Destroyed President Richard Nixon is at http://watergate.info.  Their Watergate Web Links has many media links and some primary sources.  Speeches By And About Richard Nixon includes three Watergate speeches.  Their Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings has extensive PDF files on the House Judiciary Committee proceedings (also see below for related material).  Transcript of the Smoking Gun Tape [June 23, 1972] has audio and print transcripts.
    For the White House Tapes featuring several important Watergate parts, see Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis, American RadioWorks - The President Calling; or go directly to their Nixon site. (Also see below under "Nixon White House Tapes.")
    The Washington Post's comprehensive site is Revisiting Watergate, with a story chronicle at washingtonpost.com Politics - Chronology and a cast of 24 players at washingtonpost.com Politics - Key Players
    The National Archives and Records Administration has Watergate: A Chronology.  The NARA Research Room Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force details the event from that side.  Also see the 'Teaching with Documents' site based on the Watergate Special Prosecutor's determination of whether to seek indictment of the former President after Nixon's 9 August 1974 resignation from office, at Constitutional Issues: Watergate and the Constitution.  A few interesting documents are at Exhibit Nixon and Watergate.
        Public Broadcasting System has Previews PBS on the 30 July 2003 televised recapitulation of the Senate Watergate Hearings held 30 years ago that summer.  Jeb Magruder made news headlines with a claim that Nixon directly ordered the break-in during a telephone conversation with John Mitchell during which Magruder was present at Mitchell's office; but this claim is (to date) uncorroborated.
    Time & Again - Watergate Timeline from MSNBC has a nice timeline.  But several of the internal links fail.
    CNN's AllPolitics - Watergate Web Sites - June 12 1996 is a 24th anniversary overview (dating from arrest of the Watergate burglars) of this most famous and enduringly important of American presidential scandals.  Notable in this collection is William Schneider's article on Watergate's legacy of public cynicism toward national politics, at AllPolitics - Watergate And Public Cynicism - June 17 1997; and a 25th anniversary retrospective poll on the meaning of Watergate (AllPolitics - Public Perceptions Of Watergate - June 16 1997).
    Nixon's famous denial of personal involvement in Watergate (I am not a crook. ..") is in RealAudio at History Channel - Richard M. Nixon, thirty-seventh U.S. president, denies involvement in the Watergate affair.  A set of multimedia files (using QuickTime) on the Watergate hearings in Congress are at AllPolitics - Watergate Sights & Sounds.   A sequence of photographs by Mark Godfrey with accompanying text on Watergate are at The Watergate Decade.  Go to History and Politics Out Loud and search for Watergate-related excerpts (HPOL - Search-Browse Results).
    The identity of 'Deep Throat' has spawned its own cottage industry.  A Watergate Links site emphasizes the constant back-issue of the identity of Deep Throat; it's also useful for checking web sources of varying quality.  Deep Throat Uncovered: Department of Journalism University of Illinois by Professor Bill Gaines provides interesting recent detective work.
    **As of 30 May 2005, we learned that Deep Throat was W. Mark Felt, who in 1972 was the second ranked official at the FBI.  See 'Deep Throat' Unmasks Himself as Ex-No. 2 Official at F.B.I. - New York TimesRevisiting Watergate - Key Players:  Deep Throat - Washington Post ; and VANITY FAIR's "I'm the Guy They Called Deep Throat" by John D. O'Connor.  Lauding is widespread, and of course there's also venom toward the former No. 2 FBI official from former Nixon speechwriter Patrick Buchanan and from Watergate felon Gordon Liddy.

Presidential Impeachment and Censure:  A comprehensive impeachment site from U of Michigan's Documents Center is located at Government Documents in the News:  Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton.  Consult its Historical Materials for precedents in the Federalist Papers, on Andrew Jackson, on Andrew Johnson, and on Richard Nixon.
    For serious students of the whole impeachment and censure topic, consult Impeachment and Censure Materials Online - JURIST The Law Professors' Network for its vast Guide to Impeachment and Censure Materials Online; a nicely done section is included on Senate censure.
    Watergate (1972-1974) is also specifically covered by NARA documents at Constitutional Issues: Watergate and the Constitution.

Archival Materials:  See Nixon Presidential Project, including its Audiovisual Materials.  It's easy to locate that famous 1970 photo of Nixon with the King (Elvis, that is) at Nixon Basic Photos; or visit NARA's Exhibit Hall and go directly to When Nixon Met Elvis to learn how this bizarre meeting happened at all.

Nixon oral interviews, telephone calls, and White House tapes:  C-SPAN conducted these with the former President in 1983.  They are listed at the C-SPAN Nixon White House Tapes; scroll down to link to the month-long series of Oral History interviews.  There are five of them, divided by topic:  Early Career, Vietnam, China, the Middle East, and Watergate.
    The C-SPAN Nixon White House mother site also has the Nixon White House Phone Calls, and the four "New Tapes" selected sections that accompany the oral interviews cited above.
    American RadioWorks - White House Tapes:  The President Calling by Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis covers the tapped telephone conversations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon from 1961 through 1974.  The specific Nixon file is at American RadioWorks - The President Calling - Nixon.  It has in-depth sections on choosing William Rehnquist for the Supreme Court, on bombing North Vietnam in 1972, and on Watergate in April 1973.

Nixon White House Tapes:  NARA's Nixon Presidential Materials Home Page has Nixon White House Tapes Home Page with 2019 hours of tapes from December 2003 release of the 4th of 5 segments.  These now go through 1972 and part of 1973. One of the most famous moments of Watergate was the public revelation under oath of the existence of White House tape recording of internal conversations.  After Nixon's resignation and beyond his death in 1994, the Nixon estate fought to prevent publication of these tapes.  The year 2002 was a bad one for them, as over 4000 hours of these went out directly to the website public; and 2003 was no better (as cited above).
    C-SPAN's Nixon White House Tapes has very extensive telephone excerpts through June 1972, the month the Watergate burglars were caught and jailed to await trial.
    The struggle to open the tapes turned decisively in late 1996, when 201 of the 3700 hours of those tapes were released for public review at instigation of several lawsuits.  The tapes were released on 12 April 1996, per National Archives and Records Administration Announces Agreement to Accelerate Release of Nixon Tapes, and were reviewed in the PBS Online News Hour - Nixon Tapes-- January 2 1997, and background report by Kwame Holman.  Another court order then concluded that much of the material was private rather than political (public), thereby requiring NARA to somehow clip personal parts from those 3700 hours; see NARA News Release 98-130 and Washingtonpost.com: Personal Material Cut From Nixon Tapes for context.  See also NARA Press Releases - Nixon Openings for those interested in tracking the releases.  Periodically another batch of internal Nixon White House tapes is released by NARA.  Nixon's Basement Tapes by Jon Elliston, Dossier Editor, illustrate certain paranoid and vindictive qualities of Nixon's internal dialogues in the 1971 pre-election year of Nixon's first term.

Resignation from the PresidencyNixon's Resignation Speech [August 8, 1974] and Nixon's Resignation Letter of the following day, cover the first and (to date) only resignation from office of a sitting President of the U.S.  NARA's Exhibit Nixon and Watergate also has the letter and a bit of context surrounding it.  Photographer Fred Maroon's pictures and recollections are powerful:  see fd_frm under title of "Final Days/Epilogue" (part of his Photographing History Introduction on President Nixon during 1970 through 1974).

Nixon's pardon:  Proclamation 4311 is history's most famous pardon of a former sitting American President.  Text of President Ford's pardon to end `an American tragedy' of 8 September 1974 is here (and elsewhere).  History Channel - Speeches - Gerald R. Ford, 38th U.S. president Pardons former president Richard Nixon has an accompanying .ram file.
    Also see Gerald Ford **(add link here).

Kissinger Telcon papers:  The National Security Archive at George Washington University on 26 May 2004 announced the recent release by the National Archives of 20,000 pages of declassified telephone transcripts from former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during the period from 1969 to the August 1974 terminus of the Nixon Administration.  See the NSA's The Kissinger Telcons for index of the initial releases.
    The NARA Nixon Presidential Materials Nixon Presidential Materials Main Page has its own press release of 20 May at NARA Media Desk Press Release.  The NARA Nixon Presidential Materials Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts Series Description gives an overview of this material.
    For background on the NSA campaign for release, start with Archive Hails Turnover of Kissinger Papers Archive Hails Turnover of Kissinger Papers - Telcon explains this effort in August 2001, two years after the start of this campaign to declassify the records (against the wishes of Kissinger, who claims that these are private documents).

Huston Plan
(against antiwar demonstrators):  See Nixon’s Views on Presidential Power, United States v. Nixon (1974), Landmark Supreme Court Cases.

Alger Hiss case:  Nixon first came to national attention while in the U.S. House as a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee via this 1948 case.  See The Alger Hiss Spy Case and (US House entry).

The Space Program:  See preceding links under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.  Kennedy's dream of a moon landing was realized in Nixon's first year in office.  Exhibit American Originals - Richard M. Nixon and Apollo 11 Astronauts shows Nixon meeting the men who first touched the Moon's surface, on 20 July 1969.
    But after that was achieved and celebrated, cutbacks curbed the expansive ambitions of NASA to further manned flight, even though numerous astronauts followed Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon; see A Shadow on the Moon and Back on the Front Page, also Space Policy Digest - Why We Came Home From the Moon; and NASA: A History - Review.
    But Nixon was as ambitious and mindful as Kennedy of carving out political goals in space that would bear his name.  He sought these elsewhere in space.  See MIT's Skylab: Nixon tries to outdo Kennedy.  By 1972 the Space Shuttle Program was underway, per President Nixon's 1972 Announcement on the Space Shuttle.  Background here is at NASA's Human Space Flight (HSF) - Space Shuttle.  The sheer ambition and scale of space enterprise of the 1960s and 1970s is captured at American Space Program's Moon Race Mercury Gemini Apollo Apollo-Soyuz and Skylab Primary Documents and Sources and the NASA Astronauts' First Hand Accounts.

Foreign Policy with Nixon:

    China:  Nixon's leading foreign policy triumph was the opening to China in 1972.  After 25 years it received extensive coverage in the PBS production The American Experience:  Nixon's China Game.  The February 1972 trip to China includes Maps showing the Nixon itinerary with video clips.  Timeline shows the tortuous hostilities that preceded this opening and date at least back to Chairman Mao's October 1949 assumption of power in Beijing.  These do not replace a viewing of this film, which I recommend most highly.
    Photography of the trip by Ollie Atkins is at Nixon in China.  The National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 18 (China and the United States From Hostility to Engagement, at George Washington University) has a set of excerpts (at China and the United States: From Hostility to Engagement).  This is very extensive material based on 15,000 pages of documents.  Episode 15 includes interviews with Henry Kissinger and Ambassador Winston Lord.

    Cold War and detente:  Nixon and Detente is a useful outline.  Included within it is another on Nixon & Vietnam (see below).

    Soviet Union and Nixon, 1972:  After the historic 1972 trip to China, Nixon set another precedent with a state visit to Chairman Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow in May 1972.  GWU's National Security Archive has The Secret History of the ABM Treaty 1969-1972, for background.

   Joint Chiefs of Staff and internal spying:  Joan Hoff: The Nixon Story You Never Heard from a competent historian sympathetic to Nixon, includes coverage of spying in 1970 and 1971 by top military officers in the Joint Chiefs of Staff against Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger during sensitive and secret foreign policy negotiations on which the Joint Chiefs lacked information via ordinary channels. Nixon Era Center Library -- Oval Office Conversation December 21 1971 has a transcript citing the uncovering of this plot and subsequent counter-actions taken by President Nixon.

    Vietnam:    An excellent overview is at The Wars for Vietnam:  1945 to 1975 from Robert Brigham at Vassar College.  Refer particularly to his Viet Nam War Overview.   See The Vietnam War for extensive literature and history, including Special Collections & Archives May 4 Collection Home Page on the related event four students being killed at Kent State University in Ohio on 4 May 1970.  Vietnam Yesterday and Today is the parent site, it includes Chronology--U.S.-Vietnam Relations.  Additional sources may exist under this subheading "Vietnam" with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Ford.
    A number of academic course sites have good material on Vietnam.  See Professor Dennis Simon's Nixon and Vietnam for an excellent, readable text with pictures, graphs and links.  It is the fourth in a series of four pieces.

    War Powers Act:  Terminology of the law is at The War Powers Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-148, 93rd Congress, H. J. Res. 542, November 7, 1973) or innumerable other sites.  It is equally likely to be labeled War Powers Resolution of 1973--but search engine references are influenced by choice of wording.  Congressional reaction to Johnson and Nixon's use of foreign prerogatives was expressed in passage over Nixon's veto of the War Powers Act on 7 November 1973.

Executive Orders and Proclamations:  See Federal Register - Executive Orders - Richard Nixon.

Person of the Year awards:   Time Magazine conferred its top honors with a review centered on Nixon's first term foreign policy and high-level summitry, via Richard M. Nixon - 1971 and then Nixon and Kissinger - 1972.  But with Nixon there's always the Dark Side:  Judge John J. Sirica - 1973, recognizing the federal judge who presided over the trials of those who broke into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel.

The Nixon and Sports WebsiteThis excellent book-linked site, by Nicholas Evan Sarantakes, covers the former President's preoccupation with sports and sports-derived rhetoric and thought.

Post-presidential career:  Like Hoover before him and Carter soon after, Nixon had a long and vigorous post-presidential public career.  Brief analysis written by John F. Stacks in Time upon Nixon's death in 1994 is at AllPolitics - Watergate Victory In Defeat - June 13 1997.

Nixon's obituary and personal will:  The New York Times obituary of April 23, 1994 is at The 37th President; In Three Decades.  See also Richard M. Nixon, 37th President, Dies by Martin Weil and Eleanor Randolph of the Washington Post.  Photographs of the Nixon funeral are at American Presidents Life Portraits - Gravesites - Nixon.
    Nixon's will became public business because of long-standing disputes over what belongs to the Nixon family and estate, and what belongs to the public via NARA.  See Nixon's Last Will And Testament [February 25 1994] for the document.

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Copyright©2004-2007, Russell D. Renka