Richard Milhous Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 and was elected the 37th President of the United States from 1969 to 1974 after he served as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from California. Nixon was the only president to resign, after he ended American fighting in Vietnam and then improved international relations with the U.S.S.R. and China.
Fact 1: Nixon’s family struggled with financial hardships and the death of his brothers Harold and Arthur was extremely painful. The Nixons’ moved to be closer to Richards’s mothers’ family in Whittier, California in 1922 after their ranch failed. (The Nixons’ ranch is now the site of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.) Richards’s father opened a gas station combination grocery store and the whole family helped out to make ends meet.
Fact 2: In 1930 Nixon enrolled in Whittier College and was an energetic student, he pursued his interest in student government, drama, and football. He lived at home with his family and helped run the family store. In May 1934, he won a scholarship to Duke University’s law school and he was president of the Student Bar Association and a part of the law review. He later graduated in June of 1937.
Fact 3: Nixon met Thelma Catherine Ryan who was rehearsing for a play that they were both acting in, he pursued Ryan and they married about 2 ½ years later in the Presidential Suite of the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.
Fact 4: The Nixons moved to Washington, D.C., in January 1942, where Nixon joined the Office of Price Administration. He later left the organization and joined the Navy, he was assigned to a naval station in Ottumwa, Iowa but he requested to be transferred to the South Pacific theater, he served with the Combat Air Transport Command.
Fact 5: After the war ended, Nixon was approached by well-known Republicans in Whittier about running for Congress, he accepted their offer, and, on November 6, 1946 he was elected Congressman.
Fact 6: He defeated Democratic Congresswomen Helen Gahagan Douglas and won California’s empty Senate seat in 1950. When Nixon was senator he criticized President Harry S Truman’s approach to the Korean War and he traveled the nation giving speeches warning people about the threat of global Communism.
Fact 7: Eisenhower sent Nixon to the Soviet Union in July 1959 to stand for the United States at the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, the Soviet capital. When Nixon looked around the exhibit with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, they stopped at a model of an American kitchen. They had an unplanned discussion about the American way of living that spiraled into a conversation over the two countries’ ideological and military strength. His presentation in the “kitchen debate” made him more popular in the United States.
Fact 8: Nixon lost the election to Kennedy by .2 percent of the popular vote, he and his family left Washington after the defeat and returned to southern California. He worked in law and wrote his best selling journal, Six Crises.
Fact 9: He decided to try to win the nomination of the Republican Party for President in January 1968. He portrayed himself as a person of stability in a time of national turmoil, he promised to return a conventional values and “law and order.”
Fact 10: After Nixon resigned from presidency he and his wife returned to their home in San Clemente, California, they lived there until they moved back to NYC in 1980 and then later moved to New Jersey. Nixon traveled and had a full schedule of speaking and writing, he completed nine books during the years after his presidency.