Richard Nixon was perhaps the most controversial figure to ever hold the office of president. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1947, he went on to serve as a U.S. Senator and Dwight Eisenhower’s vice-president.
Running for president in 1960, Nixon met with political defeat when he lost to John F. Kennedy in one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history. After losing the 1962 election for governor of California, he “retired from politics,” only to reenter the political arena as the 1968 Republican candidate for president. In one of the most extraordinary political comebacks ever, he defeated Hubert Humphrey to become our 37th president.
As president, Nixon won respect for his foreign policy. Reopening relations with our communist adversaries, he became the first president to visit China and the Soviet Union. While in Moscow, he signed agreements opening trade and limiting nuclear arms production. Renominated in 1972, Nixon defeated George McGovern in a landslide victory.
Although he went on to successfully end U.S. participation in Vietnam, his second term was dominated by the Watergate scandal. On August 9, 1974, faced with almost certain impeachment, Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office.