The story

President Nixon Announces He Is Resigning


In an evening televised address on August 8, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House.

“By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

READ MORE: The Watergate Scandal: A Timeline

Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House.

After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

On June 17, 1972, five men, including a salaried security coordinator for President Nixon’s reelection committee, were arrested for breaking into and illegally wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate complex. Soon after, two other former White House aides were implicated in the break-in, but the Nixon administration denied any involvement. Later that year, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post discovered a higher-echelon conspiracy surrounding the incident, and a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude erupted.

READ MORE: What Was the Saturday Night Massacre?

In May 1973, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began televised proceedings on the rapidly escalating Watergate affair. One week later, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was sworn in as special Watergate prosecutor. During the Senate hearings, former White House legal counsel John Dean testified that the Watergate break-in had been approved by former Attorney General John Mitchell with the knowledge of White House advisers John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, and that President Nixon had been aware of the cover-up.

Meanwhile, Watergate prosecutor Cox and his staff began to uncover widespread evidence of political espionage by the Nixon reelection committee, illegal wiretapping of thousands of citizens by the administration, and contributions to the Republican Party in return for political favors.

READ MORE: 7 Revealing Nixon Quotes From His Secret Tapes

In July, the existence of what were to be called the Watergate tapes–official recordings of White House conversations between Nixon and his staff–was revealed during the Senate hearings. Cox subpoenaed these tapes, and after three months of delay President Nixon agreed to send summaries of the recordings. Cox rejected the summaries, and Nixon fired him. His successor as special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leveled indictments against several high-ranking administration officials, including Mitchell and Dean, who were duly convicted.

Public confidence in the president rapidly waned, and by the end of July 1974 the House Judiciary Committee had adopted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and hindrance of the impeachment process. On July 30, under coercion from the Supreme Court, Nixon finally released the Watergate tapes. On August 5, transcripts of the recordings were released, including a segment in which the president was heard instructing Haldeman to order the FBI to halt the Watergate investigation. Three days later, Nixon announced his resignation.

READ MORE: Why Clinton Survived Impeachment While Nixon Resigned After Watergate


Richard Nixon, The Only US President to Resign

Richard Nixon on the presidential campaign trail

By Ray Setterfield

April 22, 1994 — Richard Nixon, who died on this day, will always be remembered for the Watergate scandal and for being the only US President ever to resign from office.

Both events overshadowed his achievements, which in foreign affairs included ending the war against Vietnam, establishing diplomatic relations with China, and setting up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.

At home he ended the military draft, enforced desegregation of schools in the southern states, established the Environmental Protection Agency, and signed the National Cancer Act, which set up the ongoing &ldquowar on cancer&rdquo.

It all seemed like a presidency of which he could be proud and in 1972 he was re-elected for a second term in one of the largest electoral landslides in American history. He won more than 60 percent of the popular vote, taking every state in the union except for two &ndash Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Then came the Watergate revelations . . .

Richard Milhous Nixon was born in 1913 to a poor farming family in California. He achieved excellent grades at school but had to turn down a scholarship from Harvard because his family could not afford to send him there by train.

He went on to graduate from law school in 1937 and then began to practise law.

He saw active duty in the Navy during the Second World War and was elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican in 1946. In 1950 he was elected to the Senate and was chosen as Dwight D. Eisenhower&rsquos running mate in the 1952 presidential election.

After serving for eight years as Vice-President he ran for the top job himself in 1960 but was narrowly defeated by the charismatic John F. Kennedy. Nixon&rsquos chance came again in 1968, a tumultuous year which saw President Lyndon B. Johnson withdraw from the presidential race, the assassination of both Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, and widespread anti-Vietnam war riots across the country.

Nixon defeated both the Democrat Hubert Humphrey and Alabama governor George Wallace who represented the American Independent Party, campaigning for racial segregation. (Wallace won five states in the Deep South).

As Nixon&rsquos first term of office was coming to a close, the White House became focused on re-election. And on June 17, 1972, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington DC where they were caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents.

One of them was James W. McCord, the security chief of the Committee to Re-elect the President. His arrest was reported in the next morning&rsquos Washington Post by two young reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

Dismissing the story as inconsequential, Nixon&rsquos Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, said at a routine White House Press conference that the President would have no comment on a &ldquothird-rate burglary attempt.&rdquo

Bernstein and Woodward, though, began to be fed information by an anonymous source whom they referred to as &ldquoDeep Throat.&rdquo His identity would be kept secret for over 30 years until in 2005 William Mark Felt, who at the time of the scandal was associate director of the FBI &ndash the bureau&rsquos second-highest ranking post &ndash revealed himself to be the source.

With Felt&rsquos guidance Woodward and Bernstein produced one explosive story after another. They revealed the direct involvement in Watergate of Nixon&rsquos close associates and that the break-in and wiretapping had been financed by illegally laundered campaign contributions.

Then on October 10 came a sensational front-page article revealing that the Watergate break-in &ldquostemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of President Nixon&rsquos re-election and directed by officials of the White House.&rdquo

Rumors and revelations continued almost daily until on February 7, 1973, the Senate Watergate Committee was set up to investigate the scandal.

Richard Nixon was an insecure man handicapped by a persecution complex, and in February 1971, he had arranged for a secret voice-activated bugging system using telephone taps and concealed microphones to be installed in the White House, including the Oval Office.

Its existence was revealed in July, 1973 during testimony to the Senate committee by White House aide Alexander Butterfield. It later emerged that up to that point Nixon had tape-recorded 3,700 hours of conversations. His rejection of a congressional subpoena to release the tapes constituted an article of impeachment that led to his downfall.

Under enormous pressure, the White House released some subpoenaed tapes on August 5. One of them, later known as the "smoking gun" tape, revealed the initial stages of the Watergate cover-up, with Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, discussing how to block investigations. It demonstrated that the President knew of the Watergate break-in shortly after it took place and that he had approved plans to thwart official scrutiny.

Facing certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and equally certain conviction in the Senate, Nixon announced his resignation on the evening of August 8, 1974.

In a televised broadcast he said: &ldquoI have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body. But as President I must put the interests of America first. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.&rdquo

Gerald Ford, the Vice-President, immediately took charge and a month later granted Nixon "a full, free, and absolute pardon&rdquo for all crimes associated with Watergate.

Richard Nixon died after a stroke on April 22, 1994, aged 81. World leaders attended his funeral, as did every living President. In his eulogy, Bill Clinton praised Nixon's accomplishments, particularly in foreign affairs, and pleaded: "May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.&rdquo

Interviewed by David Frost in 1977, the man himself reflected: &ldquoI gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing.&rdquo

A few years later he gave a more considered view of his resignation: &ldquoI think the best description of how I felt then was a little poem that read,

&ldquoThat&rsquos the story of my life,&rdquo he commented with a wry grin.

Nixon fought for the rest of his days to prevent the release of his recorded conversations. The Government began releasing the secret tapes after his death, the final tape being made public in 2013.


President Nixon Announces He Is Resigning - HISTORY

&aposSacrifice&apos Is Praised Kissinger to Remain

Speculation Rife on Vice President: Some Ford Associates Say Selecting a Successor Could Take Weeks

Political Scene Sharply Altered: G.O.P. Prospects Improved, Ford in Good Spot for &apos76 and Watergate Fades

Rise and Fall: Appraisal of Nixon Career

Jaworski Asserts No Deal Was Made: Says Nixon Did Not Ask for and Was Not Given a Way to Avoid Prosecution

A Tiny G.O.P. Bastion Feels Loss and Relief

Only Nixon Is Serene at Sad White House

Washington, Aug. 8 -- Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, announced tonight that he had given up his long and arduous fight to remain in office and would resign, effective at noon tomorrow.

At that hour, Gerald Rudolph Ford, whom Mr. Nixon nominated for Vice President last Oct. 12, will be sworn in as the 38th President, to serve out the 895 days remaining in Mr. Nixon&aposs second term.

Less than two years after his landslide re-election victory, Mr. Nixon, in a conciliatory address on national television, said that he was leaving not with a sense of bitterness but with a hope that his departure would start a "process of healing that is so desperately needed in America."

He spoke of regret for any "injuries" done "in the course of the events that led to this decision." He acknowledged that some of his judgments had been wrong.

The 61-year old Mr. Nixon, appearing calm and resigned to his fate as a victim of the Watergate scandal, became the first President in the history of the Republic to resign from office. Only 10 months earlier Spiro Agnew resigned the Vice-Presidency.

Speaks of Pain at Yielding Post

Mr. Nixon, speaking from the Oval Office, where his successor will be sworn in tomorrow, may well have delivered his most effective speech since the Watergate scandals began to swamp his Administration in early 1973.

In tone and content, the 15-minute address was in sharp contrast to his frequently combative language of the past, especially his first "farewell" appearance- that of 1962, when he announced he was retiring from politics after losing the California governorship race and declared that the news media would not have "Nixon to kick around" anymore.

Yet he spoke tonight of how painful it was for him to give up the office.

"I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so," he said.

Puts &aposInterests of America First&apos

"I have never been a quitter," he said. "To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body." But he said that he had decided to put "the interests of America first."

Conceding that he did not have the votes in Congress to escape impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, Mr. Nixon said, "To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home."

"Therefore," he continued, "I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office."

Then he turned again to his sorrow at leaving. Although he did not mention it in his speech, Mr. Nixon had looked forward to being President when the United States celebrates its 200th anniversary in 1976.

"I feel a great sadness," he said.

Mr. Nixon expressed confidence in Mr. Ford to assume the office, "to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us."

"By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America," he said. "I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that events that if some of my judgments were wrong -- and some were wrong -- they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interests of the nation."

Further, he said he was leaving "with no bitterness" toward those who had opposed him.

"So let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans," he said.

As he has many times in the past, Mr. Nixon listed what he considered his most notable accomplishments of his five and half years in office -- his initiatives in foreign policy, which he said had gone a long way toward establishing a basis for world peace.

Theodore Roosevelt Is Quoted

And, at the end, he expressed his own philosophy -- that to succeed is to be involved in struggle. In this he quoted Theodore Roosevelt about the value of being "the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood" and who "spends himself in a worthy cause."

After spending himself in a long political career, Mr. Nixon is scheduled to fly to his home in San Clemente, Calif., and retirement tomorrow while Mr. Ford is being sworn in the Oval Office.

A White House spokesman said tonight that Mr. and Mrs. Nixon and their family would bid farewell to Cabinet members and staff personnel at 9:30 A. M. tomorrow in the East Room. Then they will board a helicopter at 10 A. M. for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, where they will emplane on the Spirit of &apos76, a jet aircraft, for their flight to San Clemente.

Ronald L. Ziegler, the Presidential adviser and press secretary, also said that Mr. Nixon&aposs letter of resignation would be delivered to the office of Secretary of State, Kissinger in the Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House by noon tomorrow.

Mr. Nixon&aposs announcement came only two days after he told his Cabinet that he would not resign but would let the constitutional impeachment process run its course, even though it was evident he would be removed from office after a trial by the Senate.

In the next 48 hours the pressures for him to resign and turn the reins of the Government over to Mr. Ford became overwhelming.

His chances of being acquitted were almost hopeless. Senator Barry, Goldwater, the Arizona conservative who was the Republican Presidential candidate in 1964, told him that he had no more than 15 votes in the Senate, far short of the 34 he needed to be sure of escaping conviction. Members of his own staff, including Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr., the White House chief of staff, strongly recommended that he step down in the national interest.

In the end only a small minority of his former supporters were urging him to stay and pledging to give him their support. It was his friends, not his legions of enemies, that brought the crucial pressures for resignation.

Seventeen months of almost constant disclosures of Watergate and related scandals brought a steady attrition of support, in the country and in Congress, for what many authorities believed was the most powerful Presidency in the history of our nation.

However, a Presidential statement of last Monday and three transcripts of Presidential conversations that Mr. Nixon chose to make public ultimately precipitated the crush of events of the last week.

In that statement, Mr. Nixon admitted, as the transcript showed, that, on June 23, 1972, he ordered a halt to the investigation of the break-in at the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex here six days earlier by persons in the employ of agents of Mr. Nixon&aposs re-election campaign. He also admitted that he had kept the evidence from both his attorneys and the House Judiciary Committee, which had recommended that the House impeach him on three general charges.

Then came the avalanche. Republicans, Southern Democrats and others who had defended Mr. Nixon said that these actions constituted the evidence needed to support the article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee charging obstruction of justice. And it gave new support to other charges that Mr. Nixon had widely abused his office by bringing undue Presidential pressures to bear on sensitive Government agencies.

As the pressures mounted and Mr. Nixon held publicly to his resolve not to resign, the capital was thrown into a turmoil. A number of Senators anxious for a resignation began publicly predicting one.

At the White House yesterday, Mr. Nixon met in his White House offices with Mrs. Nixon and his two daughters, Mrs. David Eisenhower and Mrs. Edward F. Cox, and with his close aides. Members of his staff, acting independently of the Congressmen, sent him memorandums he had requested as to their recommendations. Most called for resignation rather than taking the country through a painful impeachment debate and vote in the House and a trial in the Senate.

Last night, Raymond K. Price and other speech writers were ordered to prepare a resignation statement for use tonight. Secretary of State Kissinger met with the President late in the evening and Mr. Nixon told him that he would resign in the national interest.

At 11 A.M. today, as crowds for the third day gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House, President Nixon summoned Mr. Ford to his Oval Office and officially informed him that he would submit his resignation tomorrow to the Secretary of State, as provided by Federal law, and that Mr. Ford would become President.

Shortly after noon, Mr. Ziegler, the President&aposs confidant and press secretary, his face saddened and weary, appeared in the crowded White House press room and announced that the President would go on national radio and television tonight to address the American people. As with most previous such announcements, he did not say what the President would talk about.

But by that time, other Presidential aides were confirming that Mr. Nixon planned to resign, and the tensions that had been building for days subsided.

At 7:30 P.M. Mr. Nixon met in his office in the Executive Office Building with a bipartisan Congressional leadership group -- James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, President pro tem of the Senate Mike Mansfield, Democrat of Montana, the Senate majority leader, Hugh Scott, Republican of Pennsylvania, the Senate minority floor leader, Carl Albert, Democrat of Oklahoma, the Speaker of the House, and John J. Rhodes, Republican of Arizona, the minority leader. The meeting was to give them formal notice of his resignation.

Among the White House staff today there was a sadness but there were no tears, according to those there. Mr. Nixon, who was described as wretched and gray yesterday while wrestling with his decision, was described today as relaxed. To some, he appeared relieved.

He ordered Mr. Price to begin drafting the resignation speech yesterday, even before he made his decision to resign, aides said. Five drafts of it were written before it was turned over to Mr. Nixon to make his own changes.

It was exactly six years ago last night that Mr. Nixon was nominated on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention to be the party&aposs nominee for President, a note of irony that did not escape members of the President&aposs staff.

That evening marked the beginning of an ascension to power that was to put the Nixon mark on an important segment of history. After a first term marked by innovations in foreign policy and a return of resources to the state and local governments in domestic policy, Mr. Nixon in 1972, won re-election with 60.7 per cent of the vote.

In early 1973, as he ended American military involvement in the Vietnam war and as he moved to strengthen the powers of his office in a multitude of ways, his popularity rating in the Gallup Poll registered 68 per cent. But as the Watergate disclosures broke his rating dropped quickly and was below 30 per cent before the end of the year.

Mr. Nixon made a number of counterattacks to win back his lost popularity. He campaigned from time to time across the country as if he was running for office. He disclosed information about his taxes and property. He hired a succession of lawyers to defend him in the courts and in Congress.

He made television and radio appearances. He ordered his subordinates to step up their activities to show that the Government&aposs business was moving ahead. He made foreign trips to show he was still a world leader.

Cheered in Tour of Middle East

In the Middle East in June he was cheered by vast throngs, and he held a summit meeting with Soviet leader, Leonid I. Brezhnev, in Moscow.

Yet, when he returned to the United States, the Gallup Poll showed his rating at 24 per cent and the Watergate charges broke anew as the House Judiciary Committee stepped up its impeachment inquiry. His Administration was tottering when he made his remarkable statement last Monday, apparently in an effort to put his own interpretation on information that was expected to have been made public at the Watergate trials as a result of a Supreme Court decision upholding a court order for the information.

When the decision to resign came, Mr. Nixon moved to achieve an orderly transition of power to Mr. Ford. General Haig, who has had broad delegated authority in recent months, met frequently with the Vice President to brief him on policy, as did other Administration officials.

Mr. Kissinger gave a number of assurances that the nation&aposs "bipartisan foreign policy" would remain firmly in place. The Defense Department announced that American military forces around the world would continue under normal status. And across this city thousands of Federal employees performed their chores as if nothing was happening.


Nixon's Early Resignation

On November 3, 1973 President Richard Nixon's two principal lawyers, Fred Buzhardt and Leonard Garment, flew to Key Biscayne, Florida, to recommend that he should resign. Nixon guessed what their mission was and decided not to.

Buzhardt and Garment were able to get Nixon to meet with them and so convinced him to resign, and as Spiro Agnew resigned just weeks before on October 10 there was no sitting Vice President in office. After President Nixon resigned on noon of November 5, 1973, the presidency passed to the Speaker of the House Democrat Carl Albert of Oklahoma. President Albert refused to effectively reverse the mandate of the Republican landslide victory of 1972, so he announced in a televised address to the nation that he would only serve for one year and would request for Congress to amend the Constitution to hold a special presidential election on Tuesday November 5, 1974.

He also announced that he did not intend to seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in the 1974 Presidential election and that he would support Nixon's choice for Vice President, the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan (Albert would nominate Ford to be his Vice President within a few days).

Within a mere five weeks, a new (twenty-seventh) amendment was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and by the end of January 1974 it had been ratified by the state legislatures of 38 states. And so a presidential election was set for November 5, 1974.

In the 1974 spring Primary elections Vice President Ford narrowly outpaced his major Republican opponents California Governor Ronald Reagan and former Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary John B. Connally.

Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine won the Democratic nomination after a bitter primary battle and chose Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter for his running mate. In the election Democrats Eugene McCarthy and George Wallace chose to run for president as independents. This fractured the Democrat vote in numerous states and enabled Vice President Ford and his running mate Ronald Reagan to not only win a plurality in the popular vote, but a large majority in the Electoral College and therefore the presidency.

As a result of the 1974 presidential election, the four-year cycle of presidential elections in the United States was shifted.

President Ford chose to serve only one term and in 1978, Vice-President Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination. He defeated the Democrat candidate Arizona Congressman Mo Udall in the presidential election and went on to serve from 1979 to 1987, defeating Colorado Senator Gary Hart in the 1982 election.

In 1986, Democrat Senator John Glenn of Ohio defeated Vice-President Phil Crane. However, President Glenn was defeated in his bid for re-election in 1990 by Republican former Secretary of State George H.W. Bush of Texas. President Bush served from 1991 to 1999, defeating former Michigan Governor David E. Bonior in the 1994 election. Vice-President Carroll Campbell was defeated in the 1998 election by Democrat Governor of West Virginia Gaston Caperton, however Campbell did win the popular vote. President Caperton was re-elected in 2002, defeating Governor Bruce Benson of Colorado by a very narrow margin.

In the 2006 presidential election, the Republican nominee, Virginia Governor Tom Davis defeated Vice-President Evan Bayh. Davis along with his running mate, then California Senator Tom McClintock defeated the ticket of Bayh and his running mate, then Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor with 327 electoral votes to the Democrats's 211. In the popular vote Davis received 52 percent of the ballots cast and Bayh received 45 percent.


Resign or get impeached

The House Judiciary Committee presented Nixon with three articles of impeachment. They found him guilty of obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and hindrance of the impeachment process. Nixon knew he had to do something, so on July 30, he finally released the Watergate tapes. On August 5, transcripts of the recordings were released to the public, including a recording of Nixon instructing the FBI to halt the investigation.

Three days later, on August 8, Nixon publicly addressed his resignation. In his solemn address from the Oval Office, he announced, “By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”


The 37th President Is First to Quit Post

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8—Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, announced tonight that he had given up his long and arduous fight to remain in office and would resign, effective at noon tomorrow.

At that hour, Gerald Rudolph Ford, whom Mr. Nixon nominated for Vice President last Oct. 12, will be sworn as the 38th President, to serve out the 895 days remaining in Mr. Nixon's second term.

Less that two years after his landslide re‐election victory, Mr. Nixon, in a conciliatory address on national television, said that he was leaving not with a sense of bitterness but with a hope that his departure would start a “process of healing that is so desperately needed in America.”

Text of the address will be found on Page

He spoke of regret for any “injuries” done “in the course of the events that led to this decision.” He acknowledged that some of his judgments had been wrong.

The 61‐year‐old Mr. Nixon, appearing calm and resigned to his fate as a victim of the Watergate scandal, became the first President in the history of the Republic to resign from office. Only 10 months earlier Spiro Agnew resigned the Vice‐Presidency.

Speaks of Pain at Yielding Post

Mr. Nixon, speaking from the Oval Office, where his successor will be sworn in tomorrow, may well have delivered his most effective speech since the Watergate scandals began to swamp his Administration in early 1973.

In tone and content, the 15‐minute address was in sharp contrast to his frequently combative language of the past, especially his first “farewell” appearance—that of 1962, when he announced he was retiring from politics after losing the California governorship race and declared that the news media would not have “Nixon to kick around” anymore.

Yet he spoke tonight of how painful it was for him to give up the office.

“I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so,” he said.

Puts ‘Interests of America First’

“I have never been a quitter,” he said. “To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body.” But he said that he had decided to put “the interests of America first.”

Conceding that he did not have the votes in Congress to escape impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, Mr. Nixon said, “To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.”

“Therefore,” he continued, “I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.”

Then he turned again to his sorrow at leaving. Although he did not mention it in his speech, Mr. Nixon had looked forward to being President when the United States celebrates its 200th anniversary in 1976.

“I feel a great sadness,” he said.

Mr. Nixon expressed confidence in Mr. Ford to assume the office, “to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us.”

“By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America,” he said. “I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong — and some were wrong — they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interests of the nation.”

Further, he said he was leaving “with no bitterness” toward those who had opposed him.

“So let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans,” he said.

As he has many times in the past, Mr. Nixon listed what he considered his most notable accomplishments of his five and half years in office—his initiatives in foreign policy, which he said had gone a long way toward establishing a basis for world peace.

Theodore Roosevelt Is Quoted

And, at the end, he expressed his own philosophy —that to succeed is to be involved in struggle. In this he quoted Theodore Roosevelt about the value of being “the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood” and who “spends himself in a worthy cause.”

After spending himself in a long political career, Mr. Nixon is scheduled to fly to his home in San Clemente, Calif., and retirement tomorrow while Mr. Ford is being sworn in in the Oval Office.

A White House spokesman said tonight that Mr. and Mrs. Nixon and their family would bid farewell to Cabinet members and staff personnel at 9:30 A.M. tomorrow in the East Room. Then they will board a helicopter at 10 A.M. for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, where they will emplane on the Spirit of ❶, a jet aircraft, for their flight to San Clemente.

Ronald L. Ziegler, the Presidential adviser and press secretary, also said that Mr. Nixon's letter of resignation would be delivered to the office of Secretary of State, Kissinger in th Excutive Office Building adjacent to the White House by noon tomorrow.

Mr. Nixon's announcement came only two days after he told his Cabinet that he would not resign but would let the constitutional impeachment process run its course, even though it was evident he would be removed from office after a trial by the Senate.

In the next 48 hours the pressures for him to resign and turn the reins of the Government over to Mr. Ford became overwhelming.

His chances of being acquitted were almost hopeless. Senator Barry Goldwater, the Arizona conservative who was the Republican Presidential candidate in 1964, told him that he had no more than 15 votes in the Senate, far short of the 34 he needed to be sure of escaping conviction. Members of his own staff, including Gen. Alexander M. Haig Jr., the White House chief of staff, strongly recommended that he step down in the national interest.

In the end only a small minority of his former supporters were urging him to stay and pledging to give him their support. It was his friends, not his legions of enemies, that brought the crucial pressures for resignation.

Seventeen months of almost constant disclosures of Watergate and related scandals brought a steady attrition of support, in the country and in Congress, for what many authori ties believed was the most powerful Presidency in the history of the nation.

However, a Presidential statement of last Monday and three transcripts of Presidential conversations that Mr. Nixon chose to make public ultimately precipitated the crush of events of the last week.

In that statement, Mr. Nixon admitted, as the transcript showed, that on June 23, 1972, he ordered a halt to the investigation of the break‐in at the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex here six days earlier by persons in the employ of agents of Mr. Nixon's re‐election campaign. He also admitted that he had kept the evidence from both his attorneys and the House Judiciary Committee, which had recommended that the House impeach him on three general charges.

Then came the avalanche. Republicans, Southern Demo crats and others who had defended Mr. Nixon said that these actions constituted the evidence needed to support the article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee charging obstruction of justice. And it gave new support to other charges that Mr. Nixon had widely abused his office by bringing undue Presidential pressures to bear on sensitive Government agencies.

As the pressures mounted and Mr. Nixon held publicly to his resolve not to resign, the capital was thrown into turmoil. A number of Senators anxious for a resignation began publicly predicting one.

At the White House yesterday, Mr. Nixon met in his White House offices with Mrs. Nixon and his two daughters, Mrs. David Eisenhower and Mrs. Edward F. Cox, and with his close aides. Members of his staff, acting independently of the Congressmen, sent him memorandums he had requested as to their recommendations. Most called for resignation rather than taking the country through a painful impeachment debate and vote in the House and a trial in the Senate.

Last night, Raymond K. Price and other speech writers were ordered to prepare a resignation statement for use tonight. Secretary of State Kissinger met with the President late in the evening and Mr. Nixon told him that he would resign in the national interest.

At 11 A.M. today, as crowds for the third day gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House, President Nixon summoned Mr. Ford to his Oval Office and officially informed him that he would submit his resignation tomorrow to the Secretary of State, as provided by Federal law, and that Mr. Ford would become President.

Shortly after noon, Mr. Ziegler, the President's confidant and press secretary, his face saddened and weary, appeared in the crowded White House press room and announced that the President would go on national radio and television tonight to address the American people. As with most previous such announcements, he did not say what the President would talk about.

But by that time, other Presidential aides were confirming that Mr. Nixon planned to resign, and the tensions that had been building for days subsided.

At 7:30 P.M. Mr. Nixon met in his office in the Executive Office Building with a bipartisan Congressional leadership group—James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, President pro tem of the Senate Mike Mansfield, Democrat of Montana, the Senate majority leader Hugh Scott, Republican of Pennsylvania, the Senate minority floor leader Carl Albert, Democrat of Oklahoma, the Speaker of the House, and John J. Rhodes, Republican of Arizona, the minority leader. The meeting was to give them formal notice of his resignation.

Among the White House staff today there was a sadness but there were no tears, according to those there. Mr. Nixon, who was described as wretched and gray yesterday while wrestling with his decision, was described today as relaxed. To some, he appeared relieved.

He ordered Mr. Price to begin drafting the resignation speech yesterday, even before he made his decision to resign, aides said. Five drafts of it were written before it was turned over to Mr. Nixon to make his own changes.

It was exactly six years ago last night that Mr. Nixon was nominated on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention to be the party's nominee for President, a note of irony that did not escape members of the President's staff.

That evening marked the beginning of an ascension to power that was to put the Nixon mark on an important segment of history. After a first term marked by innovations in foreign policy and a return of resources to the state and local governments in domestic policy, Mr. Nixon in 1972 won re‐election with 60.7 per cent of the vote.

In early 1973, as he ended American military involvement in the Vietnam war and as he moved to strengthen the powers of his office in a multitude of ways, his popularity rating in the Gallup Poll registered 68 per cent. But as the Watergate disclosures broke his rating dropped quickly and was below 30 per cent before the end of the year.

Mr. Nixon made a number of counterattacks to win back his lost popularity. He campaigned from time to time across the country as if he was running for office. He disclosed information about his taxes and property. He hired a succession of lawyers to defend him in the courts and in Congress.

He made television and radio appearances. He ordered his subordinates to step up their activities to show that the Government's business was moving ahead. He made foreign trips to show he was still a world leader.

Cheered in Tour of Middle East

In the Middle East in June he was cheered by vast throngs, and he held a summit meeting with Soviet leader, Leonid L. Brezhnev, in Moscow.

Yet, when he returned to the United States, the Gallup Poll showed his rating at 24 per cent and the Watergate charges broke anew as the House Judiciary Committee stepped up its impeachment inquiry. His Administration was tottering when he made his remarkable statement lastMonday, apparently in an effort to put his own interpretation on information that was expected to have been made public at the Watergate trials as a result of a Supreme Court decision upholding a court order for the information.

When the decision to resign came, Mr. Nixon moved to achieve an orderly transition of power to Mr. Ford. General Haig, who has had broad delegated authority in recent months, met frequently with the Vice President to brief him on policy, as did other Administration officials.

Mr. Kissinger gave a number of assurances that the nation's “bipartisan foreign policy” would remain firmly in place. The Defense Department announced that American military forces around the world would continue under normal status. And across this city thousands of Federal employes performed their chores as if nothing was happening.


Contents

With the release on August 5, 1974 of several taped Oval Office conversations, one of which was the "smoking gun" tape, recorded soon after the break-in, and which demonstrated that Richard Nixon had been told of the White House connection to the Watergate burglaries soon after they took place, and had approved plans to thwart the investigation, Nixon's popular support all but evaporated, [4] and his political support collapsed.

Nixon met with Republican congressional leaders two days later, and was told he faced certain impeachment in the House and removal from office in the Senate. That night, knowing his presidency was effectively over, Nixon finalized his decision to resign. [5] [6]

The president's speechwriter Raymond K. Price wrote the resignation speech. [5] It was delivered on the evening of August 8, 1974 from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. [6]

Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Nixon's speech "chose to look ahead," rather than focus on his term. [7] This attribute of the speech coincides with John Poulakos's definition of sophistical rhetoric in Towards a Sophistic Definition of Rhetoric, because Nixon met the criterion of "[seeking] to capture what was possible" [8] instead of reflecting on his term.

In the British paper The Times the article Mr. Nixon resigns as President On this day by Fred Emery took a more negative stance on the speech, characterizing Nixon's apology as "cursory" and attacking Nixon's definition of what it meant to serve a full presidential term. Emery suggests Nixon's definition of a full presidential term as "until the president loses support in Congress" implies that Nixon knew he would not win his impending impeachment trial and he was using this definition to quickly escape office. [9]

In his book Nixon: Ruin and Recovery 1973-1990, Stephen Ambrose finds that response from United States media to Nixon's speech was generally favorable. This book cites Roger Mudd of CBS News as an example of someone who disliked the speech. Mudd noted that Nixon re-framed his resignation speech to accent his accomplishments rather than to apologize for the Watergate scandal. [10]

In 1999, 137 scholars of American public address were asked to recommend speeches for inclusion on a list of "the 100 best American political speeches of the 20th century," based on "social and political impact, and rhetorical artistry." Nixon's resignation speech placed 39th on the list. [11]

Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.

In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.

But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.

I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.

From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first.

America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 2 1/2 years. But in turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Ford, I know, as I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that the leadership of America will be in good hands.

In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.

As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.

I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.

To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.

And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.

So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.

I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.

But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.

We have ended America's longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations, not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.

We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.

In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.

Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.

We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.

Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation. We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children's time, if not in our own time, to having the necessities for a decent life.

Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the world's standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.

For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.

Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.

There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.

When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."

I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.

This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.

To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead. [12]


Richard Nixon (1913-1994)

Richard Nixon, 1960 © Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States and is the only one to resign from office, following the Watergate scandal. His presidency was also marked by the first moon landings.

Richard Milhous Nixon was born in California on 9 January 1913. He studied law and joined a law firm in his home state. In 1940, he married Patricia Ryan and they had two daughters. During World War Two, Nixon served with the US Navy in the Pacific.

Nixon was elected to Congress in 1946 and in 1950 he won a seat in the Senate, representing California.

In 1952, at the age of 39, Nixon was selected by Dwight Eisenhower to be his running mate in Eisenhower's presidential campaign. They won a resounding victory. As vice president, Nixon frequently stood in for Eisenhower at home and on trips abroad. Nixon and Eisenhower easily won re-election in 1956.

Nixon was nominated as the Republican candidate to run for president in 1960, but lost by a narrow margin to John F Kennedy. He returned to his former career as a lawyer. In 1968, he again received the Republican Party's nomination and won the presidential election.

The most important issue facing Nixon when he became president was the war in Vietnam. He began to withdraw American troops, but in April 1970, authorised the invasion of Cambodia to pursue North Vietnamese troops. Simultaneously, Nixon pursued a policy of improving relations with China and the Soviet Union, and in 1972 he visited both Beijing and Moscow.

Later the same year, Nixon was re-elected president in a landslide victory. In January 1973, a ceasefire was signed between the US and North Vietnam.

During the 1972 election campaign there was a break-in at the offices of the Democratic Party's national headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington DC. Five men connected with Nixon's campaign team were arrested. Evidence of a cover-up was gradually uncovered and President Nixon was himself implicated. On 8 August 1974, following months of a growing sense of scandal, he announced his resignation. Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as president.

During his retirement Nixon travelled widely and published seven books. He died of a stroke on 22 April 1994.


President Nixon Announces He Is Resigning - HISTORY

On August 8, 1974, a unique and tragic event in American politics occurred as President Richard M. Nixon spoke on TV to the American public announcing his decision to resign the presidency. Nixon's decision came after the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives voted to recommend his impeachment.

The collapse of support in the Congress marked the end of Nixon's two-year battle against news media, government agencies, the Senate and House of Representatives and the U.S. Supreme Court - all stemming from a break-in that occurred on the night of June 17, 1972, when five burglars entered the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

Subsequent investigations revealed the burglars were actually agents hired by the Committee for the Re-election of the President. A long chain of events then followed in which the president and top aides became involved in an extensive coverup of White House-sanctioned illegal activities. The coverup snowballed and increased the president's troubles as Nixon and White House aides attempted to use the prestige and power of the presidency to hide the truth and thereby obstruct justice.

The Senate then held televised hearings investigating the conduct of White House officials, leading to the resignation of several of Nixon's top aides as they became implicated. The House Judiciary Committee also began an inquiry as to whether Nixon had committed impeachable offenses.

During the Senate investigation, a Nixon aide revealed the President had installed a bugging system in the Oval Office and recorded most conversations on tape. Under intense pressure, Nixon released edited transcripts in the spring of 1974, containing his conversations. The transcripts caused a national sensation, exposing Nixon as a cynical man who frequently used obscene language, in contrast to his carefully tailored public image.

The transcripts also revealed the President was deeply involved in managing the coverup, sometimes on a daily basis. As a result Nixon lost most of his political support and following further revelations implicating him in more illegal coverup activities, Nixon chose to resign and avoid the prospect of an impeachment vote by the full Congress. He thus became the only President ever to resign.

Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded him on August 9, 1974, and a month later granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he might have committed while president.

Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.

In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.

But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.

I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.

From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first.

America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 2 1/2 years. But in turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Ford, I know, as I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that the leadership of America will be in good hands.

In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.

As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.

I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.

To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.

And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.

So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.

I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.

But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.

We have ended America's longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations, not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.

We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.

In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.

Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.

We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.

Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation. We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children's time, if not in our own time, to having the necessities for a decent life.

Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the world's standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.

For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.

Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.

There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.

When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."

I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.

This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.

To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you.

President Richard Nixon - August 8, 1974

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From the Archives: August 8, 1974: President Nixon resigns

In 1974, President Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign from office.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the story:

NIXON QUITS

Cites losses in Congress, goes without ‘bitterness’

Special to EVENING TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON—President Nixon announced tonight that he will resign tomorrow.

Vice President Gerald R. Ford will take the oath of office as President from Chief Justice Warren Burger of the Supreme Court at 9 a.m. tomorrow, San Diego time—noon in Washington.

In an address to the nation on television tonight, Nixon announced at 6:05 p.m. that he would resign effective at noon tomorrow.

He said he was resigning because he has learned that he no longer has a strong enough political base of support in the Congress to justify continuing in office.

“I would have preferred to carry through to the finish,” he said, “but the interest of the nation must always come before personal considerations.”

“And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness,” he said.

Nixon did not specifically mention the impeachment procedure that had begun in the Congress.

But he said to continue to fight for his own vindication would have totally absorbed his time and attention, together with the time and attention of Congress.

“Therefore I shall resign the presidency at noon tomorrow.”

In a clear reference to the Watergate scandal, Nixon said:

“If some of my judgments were wrong—and some were wrong—they were made in what I believed at the time were the best interests of the nation.”

He said he regrets deeply any injuries his decisions in may have caused.

Nixon asked all Americans to support Ford.

“I know the leadership of America will be in good hands,” he said.

Nixon is expected to fly tomorrow with his family to his home in San Clemente to resume life as a private citizen.

The President’s voice was firm and his hands were steady as he faced the television cameras in the White House for what he said was the 37th and final time during his presidency.

He expressed regret at not completing his term but recited with pride what he considers his accomplishments in office.

These were mainly achievements in foreign policy—the end of the war in Vietnam, the reopening of relations with China, the peace in the Middle East, the nuclear arms limitation treaty and detente with the Soviet Union.

View anniversary front pages online at sandiegouniontribune.com/150-years. For more from the Union-Tribune digital archives, go to newslibrary.com/sites/sdub. Searching is free, with registration. A fee is required to view full stories.

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President Nixon Announces He Is Resigning - HISTORY

NOVEMBER 1968: Richard M. Nixon elected 37th president of United States by narrow margin over Democrat Hubert Humphrey.

JANUARY 1969: Nixon inaugurated as 37th president of the United States. "Counterinaugural" protest in Washington, D.C.

MARCH 1969: Musician John Lennon marries artist Yoko Ono.

APRIL 1969: U.S. troop levels in South Vietnam reach 540,000, the highest level of the war.

MAY 1969: Nixon orders troop withdrawal from Vietnam. Police storm People's Park in Berkeley, California one student is killed as demonstrators are gassed and wounded.

JULY 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

AUGUST 1969: Woodstock festival rocks a farm in upstate New York for three days.

NOVEMBER 1969: Nixon begins Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with Soviets.

APRIL 1970: Nixon announces U.S. invasion of Cambodia. It lasts April 29-June 30. First Earth Day celebrated, focusing attention on the environment.

MAY 1970: Four students are killed by Ohio National Guard at Kent State University in antiwar protest. State police kill two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi.

JUNE 1970: Nixon signs bill giving 18-year-olds the right to vote.

SEPTEMBER 1970: Photographer Fred J. Maroon begins nine-month project to photograph the Nixon White House staff at work. The Mary Tyler Moore Show premieres on television. Musician Jimi Hendrix dies of drug overdose.

DECEMBER 1970: Environmental Protection Agency is created to set and enforce U.S. air and water pollution standards. Nixon signs National Air Quality Control Act. The world's tallest building, the North Tower of the World Trade Center, New York City, is completed.

LOOK magazine, September 1971, cover photo by Maroon.

APRIL 1971: Nixon announces lifting of over 20-year trade embargo with the People's Republic of China. U.S. Supreme Court upholds school busing to end segregation.

JUNE 1971: New York Times begins publication of classified Pentagon Papers.

SEPTEMBER 1971: Photographer Fred J. Maroon's book Courage and Hesitation, written with Allen Drury, is published.

OCTOBER 1971: Rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar opens in New York City.

FEBRUARY 1972: Nixon makes historic trip to China, the first by a U.S. president.

MARCH 1972: Equal Rights Amendment guaranteeing women equality of rights under the law is passed by Congress falls short of ratification by the states. The Godfather wins the Oscar for best picture.

MAY 1972: Nixon makes first visit by U.S. president to the Soviet Union, reaching trade, arms, and joint space ventures agreements.

JUNE 17, 1972: Five men arrested for burglary of Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate complex, Washington, D.C.

JUNE 1972: Fred Maroon begins two-week assignment to photograph the Committee to Reelect the President for LIFE magazine.

JULY 1972: Ms. magazine launched by Gloria Steinem.

Washington Star, Sunday Magazine, November 7, 1971. The article highlights the book Courage and Hesitation with Fred Maroon's photographs and captions.

SEPTEMBER 1972: Federal grand jury indicts five men for Watergate burglary, including former Nixon White House aides G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt. Arab terrorists enter Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, killing 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

NOVEMBER 1972: Nixon reelected president by historic margin over Democrat George McGovern. Dow Jones Index closes above 1000 on New York Stock Exchange for first time in history.

DECEMBER 1972: LIFE magazine ends production after 36 years.

JANUARY 1973: Nixon inaugurated for second term as president. James McCord and G. Gordon Liddy convicted of Watergate break-in. Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho sign Paris peace accords cease-fire enacted. Supreme Court hears Roe v. Wade arguments and votes to legalize abortion in first six months of pregnancy.

MARCH 1973: Last U.S. troops withdrawn from Vietnam 8500 American civilian technicians remain.

LIFE, September 1972, article on the Committee to Reelect the President, photos by Fred J. Maroon.

APRIL 1973: FBI Director L. Patrick Gray resigns after admitting to destroying documents given to him by White House Counsel John Dean. President Nixon announces resignations of four top aides amid escalating evidence in the Watergate scandal: H. R. Haldeman, White House chief of staff John Ehrlichman, domestic affairs advisor John Dean, White House counsel and Richard Kleindienst, attorney general.

MAY 1973: Senate Watergate Committee opens public hearings. Sears Tower completed in Chicago, the world's tallest building.

MAY-SEPTEMBER 1973: White House staff and associated persons testify before Senate committee investigating potential abuses of power and illegal activities conducted by the president or his staff.

JUNE 1973: John Dean testifies and implicates Nixon and his top staff in Watergate break-in and cover-up.

JULY 1973: Alexander Butterfield testifies to the existence of taped White House conversations later in July, Nixon refuses to release tapes, citing executive privilege.

SEPTEMBER 1973: John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy indicted for the 1971 burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ellsberg provided Pentagon documents to the New York Times in 1971. Erhlichman and Liddy then created the White House "plumbers" unit to plug security leaks.

OCTOBER 1973: Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after pleading no contest to charges of income tax evasion. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford nominated to replace Agnew as vice president. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State, and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the war. Tho declines. First black mayor of a major southern city, Maynard Jackson, wins election in Atlanta, Georgia. Arab oil embargo creates shortages in gasoline and petroleum products and increased prices lifted in March 1974.

OCTOBER 20, 1973: Atty. Gen. Eliot Richardson and Deputy Atty. Gen. William Ruckelshaus resign after refusing Nixon's order to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, an episode that became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."

TIME, April 16, 1973, John Dean photograph by Fred J. Maroon.

OCTOBER 23, 1973: Eight presidential impeachment resolutions introduced in the House of Representatives. Nixon announces he will turn over White House tapes.

NOVEMBER 1973: Eighteen-and-a-half minute gap discovered in Oval Office tapes during crucial days after the Watergate break-in. Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods testifies that she accidentally erased some tape.

DECEMBER 1973: Gerald Ford sworn in as vice president to replace Spiro Agnew. American Graffiti a hit movie.

FEBRUARY 1974: House of Representatives approves impeachment inquiry against Nixon to be conducted by House Judiciary Committee. Wealthy college student Patty Hearst kidnaped by self-styled Symbionese Liberation Army members.

APRIL 1974: Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth's record.

JUNE 1974: Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward publish All the President's Men, a detailed account of the Watergate episode.

JULY 1974: Three articles of impeachment voted against Nixon in House Judiciary Committee.

AUGUST 8, 1974: President Richard Nixon announces he will resign his office the following day.

AUGUST 9, 1974: Gerald Ford sworn in as 38th President of the United States.

SEPTEMBER 1974: President Ford pardons Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while president.

Newsweek, October 19, 1998, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger at window, Oval Office.

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Watch the video: Richard Nixon Watergate Speech (January 2022).