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Research Papers on the Inaugural Address of Richard Nixon

Examining the inaugural address of a president is an excellent way to see the goals and challenges the president was facing at the time of his election. Research papers on the inaugural address of Richard Nixon give insight into his early challenges and Nixon's thought processes as he entered office.

At 12:16 pm on January 20, 1969, President Richard Nixon gave his first inaugural address in the front of the Capital building. The inaugural address was broadcast via television as well as radio. In addition to the celebration of freedom, President Nixon’s inaugural address focused on the new horizons and discoveries that have been experienced in the United States and on Earth. Inaugural Address of Richard NixonThe thirst for peace, the fear of war, the beginning of the third millennium, and new technological advancements and discoveries were just some of the new horizons and discoveries highlighted in the inaugural address. Topics such as the American’s call to greatness and responsibilities to the country and each other were also discussed in his speech. According to Nixon, every American needed to look inside him or herself, become inclusive in their thoughts and actions, reach beyond the government, and be responsible for shaping his or her destiny. Embracing the American spirit, embracing change, and embracing ethical conduct and humanity are also responsibilities that Americans can adopt in order to answer their call to greatness. Upon conclusion of Nixon’s inaugural address he encouraged the American people to place a stronger emphasis on his or her opportunities instead of despair. Overall, critics received this speech positively; however, some believed that a stronger emphasis should have been placed on how to address the issues that the country was experiencing.

Research on Nixon's Life

Richard Milhous Nixon was born January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda California.  He died April 22, 1994.  Nixon graduated from Whittier college in 1934 and Duke University Law School in 1937.  Nixon had a storied political history including election to the US House of Representatives in 1947, election to the US Senate in 1951, Vice President from 1953-1961 under President Eisenhower, and ultimately election as US President in 1968.

Nixon’s defining moment however was his resignation from the US Presidency on August 9, 1974.  That resignation, the first and only in US history thus far, was primarily due to the Watergate scandal and the aftermath of that event.  During Nixon’s last years after resigning the presidency, he regained respect and support from the Republican party as an elder statesman and party leader.  Nixon’s decision to resign was self-described as an attempt to begin a healing process in America.

Nixon wrote numerous books and publications detailing his role in public life and foreign policy after leaving the presidency.  Some of Nixon’s writings included:

  • The Real War (1980)
  • Leaders (1982)
  • Real Peace (1983)
  • In the Arena (1990)
  • Beyond Peace (1994)

Nixon and Watergate

Initial reports from the news media about the Watergate break-in did not link Nixon to the scandal.  According to the Washington Post, “there was no immediate explanation as to why the five suspects would want to bug the Democratic National Committee offices or whether or not they were working for any other individuals or organizations”.  The Assistant US Attorney prosecuting the case, Earl Silbert, described the men as “professionals with a clandestine purpose” (Lewis A02).  During the two years following the break-in, it became more and more clear that both Nixon and the Republican party did indeed play a role in planning and implementing the Watergate break-in.

The break-in occurred during the 1972 US presidential campaign, which was ultimately a landslide victory for Nixon.  As the investigation continued though, evidence linked the burglars to the Committee to Re-elect the President, a Nixon and Republican supported group.

Ultimately, the cover-up that Nixon attempted to orchestrate did more damage to the 37th president than the crime itself.  Nixon’s misdeeds associated with Watergate actually began in 1971 when he created an organization called the Special Investigations Unit.  This organization was tasked with the responsibility of unearthing foreign policy secrets associated with Nixon’s Vietnam policies.  The organization acquired the nickname of “the plumbers”, an oblique reference to the task of fixing leaks.  AS history would prove, the creation of this organization was unconstitutional, which was consistent with Nixon’s role in Watergate.  The creation of this organization also proved to be the basis for one of the articles of impeachment that was brought against Nixon before his resignation.

Nixon’s downfall began with the release of tapes recorded in the oval office.  These tapes revealed several things.  Nixon apparently knew about the break-in, he ordered the CIA to stay out of the break-in investigation, and in October 1973, Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.  Cox was originally assigned to retrieve the tapes associated with Nixon’s recording system.  Doing so allowed Cox to review evidence against Nixon and determine what role the Justice Department would play regarding Nixon’s misdeeds.  After that, another special prosecutor was appointed, Leon Jaworski.

The “smoking gun” tape was released on July 23, 1972.  This tape revealed Nixon’s role in the cover-up.  This tape also illustrated the roles that other Nixon cronies played in the scandal.  Several of Nixon’s associates resigned during this time including Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Richardson’s deputy William Ruckelshaus.

These resignations were detrimental to Nixon.  This retreat from a once popular president proved to be the beginning of the president’s fall from popularity.  The special prosecutor found 64 more tapes that were detrimental to Nixon.  The country did not want to engage in another scandal.  The nation was still reeling from the Viet Nam conflict and was eager to restore stability and integrity to the democracy.

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