NIXON, RICHARD M.
After a stormy career as a militant anti-communist in the U.S. House and Senate, Nixon served as vice-president under Eisenhower, 1952-61. Defeated by John F. Kennedy for the presidency in 1960, he returned to the practice of law until 1968, when he was elected President on the Republican ticket in one of the most extraordinary political comebacks in American history. Foreign policy had always been Nixon's forte and, during his administrations, the American involvement in the Vietnam War was ended and the U.S. and mainland China opened diplomatic offices in each other's capitals. After election to his second term, Nixon and his administration soon became embroiled in a series of scandals. His vice-president, Spiro Agnew, who was accused of taking bribes both while holding public offices in Maryland and while vice-president, resigned while under criminal investigation for these alleged offenses. Of even greater importance, Nixon, and many members of his administration, were accused of being part of the "Watergate" scandal, a burglary which took place at the Democratic Party Headquarters during Nixon's re-election campaign, and the cover-up which followed. As a result of this scandal, many administration officials resigned their positions and went to prison. In July 1974, the U.S. House of Representatives voted three articles of impeachment against Nixon and, on August 9, 1974, facing almost certain conviction in the U.S. Senate, Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign that office. Upon Nixon's resignation, Gerald R. Ford, whom Nixon had appointed to the vice-presidency upon the resignation of Spiro Agnew in October 1973, became President. Shortly after becoming President, in the face of the continuing investigation and possible prosecution of Nixon, Ford pardoned Nixon for any federal crimes he may have committed during his presidency.