Born in 1913 in Yorba Linda, California, Richard Milhouse Nixon was raised in a Quaker home with his four brothers, mother and father. His family led a docile life by abstaining from all dancing, swearing, drinking and other common Quaker practices (Barron 12). Financially, the family struggled and he could not afford to attend Harvard University even with a full-ride scholarship. Instead, Nixon enrolled at Whittier College, a popular Quaker college close to home (Barron 39). Nixon began dominating all of his academics and it was at Whittier where he began to shape his future political career.
Nixon began his studies at Whittier College in 1930 and managed to keep an active schedule. Between football practice, drama rehearsals, and teaching Sunday school, it’s hard to believe he was able to maintain his important role at student body president (Barron 77). Little did he know that one day he would be president of an entire country and not just his college. Scholastically, he proved to his schoolmates and professors that he could juggle classes, homework, all his other extracurricular activities and still graduate second in his class. All of this hard work paid off when he was awarded another scholarship, this time to Duke University (Barron 84).
It was at Duke University where he attended law school and started to shape his career as an aspiring lawyer. After graduating in the top three in his class, Nixon reluctantly chose to take a job close to home and quickly found it mundane and unrewarding. It was at this point in his life when he decided to join the armed forces. The Navy sounded quite promising and in 1942 he was heading towards the South Pacific as an air transport officer (Gellman 208). His service record helped him become an even more promising political candidate.
Upon leaving the Navy in 1946 as a Lieutenant commander, Nixon found himself with a newly elected seat in Congress for the Republican Party (Drew 55). That was also the year his first daughter Tricia was born. Two years later he won a seat in the Senate and his wife Pat gave birth to their second daughter, Julie. Nixon was now on his way to becoming Vice-President of the United States and his political career was taking off.
At just 39 years old, Richard Nixon became Vice-President under the Eisenhower administration in 1953 (Gellman 413). He was almost removed from Eisenhower’s campaign due to allegations of a slush fund he started to help pay for campaigning expenses (Drew 122). He ended up saving his candidacy by going on national television and appealing the mass viewers.
One event he is most famous for during his Vice-Presidency is the “kitchen debate” with Khrushchev at the United States exhibition in Moscow (Small 47). This particular debate argued capitalism verses communism and it just so happened to take place in a kitchen (Small 49). He was the first American official to address the Soviets in a live television broadcast. Over the next...