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Richard Nixon Essay

1480 words - 6 pages

Richard Milhous Nixon ? Success or Failure Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th president of the United States. Nixon began his political career upon his return from World War II. He was chosen by the California Republican Party to run for Congress. He defeated the five-term Congressman, Jerry Voorhis, with sixty percent of the vote. He then went on to win a Senate seat in 1950. He was in the U.S. Senate for only a year?and-a-half when, in 1952, he was chosen by the Republican convention to be Dwight D. Eisenhower?s running mate. Eisenhower won the election, and for two terms, Richard Nixon was Vice President of the United States. In 1960, Nixon himself was unanimously selected by the ...view middle of the document...

Nixon adhered to a spending-cut program, cutting back and opposing welfare services, and proposing anti-busing legislation. He implemented the New Economic Policy, which called for a ten percent tax cut on many imports, repeal of certain excise taxes, tax breaks for industries undertaking new investment, and a ninety-day freeze on wages, prices, and dividends to help slow down inflation. The policies seemed to be working at first, but when the wage and price freeze gave way to pressure from labor and business, inflation began to go up again. The decade-long rise in the cost of living caused a negative impact on many segments of American society.While trying to manage the economy, Nixon faced many other issues that demanded attention. He tried to restore ?law and order? to the country. Crime rates were up, especially in the inner cities. Political protests over the American involvement in the Vietnam War were getting out of control at college universities. Students and innocent by-standers were killed. There was an increase in drug use, and more permissive views about sex and violence on television and at the movies, which offended many Americans. Nixon chose to use government power to counter the disruptions. His tactics, however, proved to be ineffective and showed no lasting effects.Nixon?s attempts to ?fix? these problems failed partly because of ?who? he was.Nixon saw power in the office of President. What he did not seem to understand was that power comes from the people and their perceptions of how well or poorly they believe the president is handling ?the issues.? Power to Nixon was manipulation, inside information, polls, favors, trade-offs, bribes, public relations, smears, and intimidation. Power was publicity rather than policy. Nixon was a man who could not trust others, and he had no real friends. The press did not even like Nixon because he was so private and seemingly ?unfriendly.? Nixon loved secrecy and surprise. He argued that without secrecy, he could not have done what he did?ending the war in Vietnam, opening the door to China, establishing détente with the Soviets?these were achieved through secret, closed discussions.As President, Nixon was only able to focus on three or four large issues at a time. Inflation was the only domestic issue that gained that level of attention. Though he intellectually understood the seriousness of inflation, it did not capture his imagination, as did the Vietnam War, détente with the Soviets or rehabilitation of the Western alliance. Due to his lack of interest in economics, Nixon set up an economic team, ?The Quadriad,? to handle these issues. The Quadriad consisted of: William Martin as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, David Kennedy as Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Mayo as Director of the Bureau of the Budget, and Paul McCracken as Chairman of the President?s Council of Economic Advisers. The work of this team freed Nixon from some of the tedious daily details of his...

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