WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 1973 (UPI) - Richard Milhous Nixon assumed the awesome burdens of the American presidency today for four more years, standing on "the threshold of a new era of peace in the world" that he said would see a diminished Washington influen In an inaugural address that made only two passing references to the war in Vietnam, Nixon said the time "has passed when America will make every other nation's conflict our own."
"We have lived too long with the consequences of attempting to gather all power and responsibility to Washington," he said, speaking from the East Portico of the Capitol moments after Chief Justice Warren Burger administered the oath of office.
"Abroad and at home, the time has come to turn away from the condescending policies of paternalism - of 'Washington knows best.'
"A person can be expected to act responsibly only if he has responsibility. This is human nature.
"So let us locate more responsibility in more places. Let us measure what we will do for others by what they will do for themselves."
Nixon's second inaugural was the most heavily guarded in history, and the most costly. There were an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 antiwar protestors and counter-demonstrators in town, and the Secret Service made security extraordinarily tight because of concern over the recent singer slayings in New Orleans and the "execution" of seven persons in Washington at a Muslim sect home Thursday.
The four days of inaugural hoopla cost an estimated $3.5 million - almost three times the amount it took to inaugurate John Kennedy 12 years ago and $1 million more than it cost to usher in Nixon's first term.
The President's speech was relatively short and spare in style.
In predicting an era of peace abroad and progress at home, Nixon preached a philosophy of self-reliance in which both individuals and nations assumed responsibility for their own well-being.
"Government must learn to take less from people so people can do more for themselves," he said.
He said the promise of governmental solutions for every problem has only led to inflated expectations, reduced individual effort, disappointment and frustration "that erode confidence both in what government can do and in what people can do."
The President's address, written with the help of speechwriter Ray Price during a six-day visit at his vacation home in Florida, looked ahead instead of backward. The only references he made to the past were claims that his missions to Peking and Moscow had helped to establish "a new and more durable pattern of relationships among the nations of the world."
Because of these "bold initiatives," he said 1972 would be remembered "as the year of the greatest progress since World War II toward a lasting peace in the world."
In his only references to Vietnam conflict, Nixon called it the "longest and most difficult war" in the nation's history and said it was being brought to an end.
He said the nation should be proud of the fact that in Vietnam, as in its three other wars this century, "we have fought not for selfish advantage, but to help others resist aggression."
In an oblique reference to the antiwar demonstrators who gathered in the capital to protest against his handling of the war, Nixon said the nation should "again learn to debate our differences with civility and decency" and with "a new level of respect for the rights and feelings of one another and for the individual human dignity which is the cherished birthright of every American."
About 200 congressmen said they would boycott the inauguration to protest the recent bombings of North Vietnam.
Although pledging not to retreat into isolation, Nixon verbalized a new vision of America's role in the world in which it would honor its treaty commitments, support the principle that no country has the right to impose its will on another force and work to limit nuclear arms and otherwise reduce the danger of confrontation between the superpowers.
"But we shall expect others to do their share," the President said.
"The time has passed when America will make every other nations how to manage their own affairs.
"Just as we respect the right of each nation to determine its own future, we also recognize the responsibility of each nation to secure its own future.
"Just as America's role is indispensable in preserving the world' peace, so is each nation's role indispensable in preserving its own peace."
He called for the building of a structure of peace in the world in which the walls of hostility which have divided nations would be brought down and in which people could be friends "despite profound differences between systems of government."
Turning to domestic affairs, Nixon said the national government would shrink from the "great and vital role" it should play, but focused on the importance of actions by individuals in their own communities.
"Let us remember that America was built not by government but by people - not by welfare but by work - not by shrinking responsibility but by seeking responsibility," he said.
"In our own lives, let each of us ask - not just what will government do for me, but what can I do for myself?"
"In the challenges we face together, let each of us ask - not just how can government help, but how can I help?"
He called for a renewal of the faith in America which recently has been challenged.
"At every turn," he said, "we have been beset by those who find everything wrong with America and very little right with it," saying that young people have been taught to be ashamed of both their country and their parents.
On the contrary, America's record in this century "has been unparalleled in the world's history for its responsibility, for its generosity, for its creativity and for its process," he said. "Let us be proud that our system has provided more freedom and more abundance more widely shared than any other in the history of man."