Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States from 1969 to 1974, having formerly been the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. A member of the Republican Party, he was the only President to resign the office as well as the only person to be elected twice to both the Presidency and the Vice Presidency.
Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing his undergraduate work at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law in La Habra. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the United States Navy, serving in the Pacific theater, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during World War II. He was elected in 1946 as a Republican to the House of Representatives representing California's 12th Congressional district, and in 1950 to the United States Senate. He was selected to be the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party nominee, in the 1952 Presidential election, becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents in history. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of California in 1962; following these losses, Nixon announced his withdrawal from political life. In 1968, however, he ran again for president of the United States and was elected.
The most immediate task facing President Nixon was a resolution of the Vietnam War. He initially escalated the conflict, overseeing incursions into neighboring countries, though American military personnel were gradually withdrawn and he successfully negotiated a ceasefire with North Vietnam in 1973, effectively ending American involvement in the war. His foreign policy initiatives were largely successful: his groundbreaking visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972 opened diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union. However, his foreign policy was not without criticisms nor shortcomings. The revelations that the Nixon administration ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, most notably through the Blood telegram, prompted widespread criticism and condemnation both by Congress and in the international press. On the domestic front, he implemented the concept of New Federalism, transferring power from the federal government to the states; new economic policies which called for wage and price control and the abolition of the gold standard; sweeping environmental reforms, including the Clean Air Act and creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency; the launch of the War on Cancer and War on Drugs; reforms empowering women, including Title IX; and the desegregation of schools in the deep South. He was reelected by a landslide in 1972. He continued many reforms in his second term, though the nation was afflicted with an energy crisis. In the face of likely impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. He was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, for any federal crimes he may have committed while in office.