Knowing the Presidents: Richard M. Nixon

Richard M. Nixon

Thirty-Seventh President, 1969-1974


Richard M. Nixon lost the election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy by a small margin of 112,000 popular votes. When Nixon ran again in 1968, he cast himself as representing a “Great Silent Majority,” a more conservative America, in the face of riots and campus protests.

Nixon also campaigned as the law-and-order candidate, promising to end the war in Vietnam and unrest at home.


Upon election, Richard M. Nixon sought to end the Vietnam War. However, he ended up prolonging the massively unpopular war.

Major Acts:

One of Richard M. Nixon’s greatest achievements was improving U.S. relations with China and the Soviet Union. With Henry Kissinger, he negotiated Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) in 1972 to control the arms race with the Soviet Union.


In 1974, as a result of the Watergate scandal, Richard M. Nixon resigned from office, the only president ever to do so.