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The Nixon Years Essay

1365 words - 5 pages

Discuss and evaluate the Nixon Administration in terms of its domestic and foreign policies.Richard M. Nixon was born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, during the Great Depression to his poor unloving parents: Francis and Hanna Nixon. "Nixon absorbed his parents' discontent with their working-class circumstances and developed a strong sense of ambition..." (Richard M. Nixon: A+E Networks) Richard Nixon was educated in public schools in Yorba Linda and Whittier. After graduating high school, Nixon enrolled at Whittier College, where he was a successful student politician, he was voted president of the student body. After Whittier, Nixon went to law school at Duke University where he graduated third of his class in 1937. He was a loner all of his life and showed "violent mood swings punctuated by raging temper tantrums and anti-Semitic outburst" (1368) his classmates nicknamed him "Gloomy Gus."Nixon was "smart, shrewd, cunning, and doggedly determined to succeed in politics." (1368) In the 1950's Nixon became a U.S. congressman who was characterized by Senator Robert A. Taft as a "little man in a big hurry with a mean and vindictive streak." (1368) later Nixon was elected U.S. senator from California, (Richard M. Nixon: A+E Networks) he then served two terms as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower. In the early 1960's Nixon lost his bid for the presidency to John F. Kennedy. However, He prevailed in the 1968 and 1972 U.S. presidential elections. "Nixon selected men for his cabinet and White House staff who would carry out his orders with blind obedience," (1368) John Mitchell was his closest confident, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman served as his chief of staff, John Ehrlichman served as his chief domestic-policy advisor and Dr. Henry Kissinger served as national security advisor before becoming secretary of state in 1973. "Kissinger dominated the Nixon administration's diplomatic planning and emerged as one of the most respected and internationally famous member of the White House staff." (1369)Nixon took office at a time of upheaval and change in the U.S. The American people were bitterly divided over the Vietnam War, while women marched for equal rights, liberationist movements and racial violence rocked the nation's cities. "Until the war ended and all the troops had returned home, the nation would find it difficult to achieve the equilibrium that President Nixon had promised." (1377)In early 1970, Nixon announced a significant alteration in the containment doctrine that had guided U.S. foreign policy since the late 1940's. "America cannot-and will not-conceive all the plans, design all of the programs, execute all the decisions, and undertake all the defense of the free nations of the world." (1381) In explaining the "Nixon Doctrine" Nixon declared "our interest must shape our commitments, rather than the other way around." (1381) Declaring his intention to achieve "peace with honor" in Vietnam, Nixon introduced a strategy known as...

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