“I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.” – Richard M. Nixon, during his resignation speech 1974.
Two years into the Watergate Scandal, on this day in history, 1974, the House of Representatives charged President Richard Nixon with the first of three articles of impeachment, marking the final days of the Nixon administration. The House Judiciary Committee also concurred and declared that Nixon must be removed from office.
A collection of political malfeasance leading up to the impeachment proceedings is known to many today as Watergate.
In mid-1972, the Democratic National Committee headquarters based in the Watergate Hotel had five uninvited guests within Nixon’s Committee to re-elect the President (CREEP) who were caught under the spotlight. Nixon struggled to refute any accusations of his participation in the break-in, but eyebrows were raised and a handful of his staff were revealed to have been involved in an elaborate cover-up.
The following year, another government investigation was initiated in the midst of mounting allegations and a public outcry for impeachment. In November, Nixon attempted to calm the raging storm by saying “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”
Despite the continuous denial from the administration, discreditable campaign tactics and classified documents along with a White House “enemy list” were brought to the fore.
Shortly after, an ex-member of Nixon’s staff revealed that the President was sitting on a trove of taped conversations between himself and his associates. When pressured to release the tapes by the Supreme Court, Nixon stubbornly refused to do so, claiming he had an executive right to keep them to himself.
On this day, July 27, 1974, the House of Representatives put forth the first article of impeachment for obstruction of justice. With the end in sight, Nixon reluctantly released transcripts of the tapes on August 5 and three days later became the first president in our nation’s history to resign.
President Richard Nixon certainly leaves a legacy shrouded in negativity, but he lived his life as an exceptional debater and student, as well as a protector of our country in the U.S. Navy.
His political career consisted of a seat in congress, an eight-year vice president term, a determined candidate elected president after a hard-fought campaign, and presider over Apollo 11.
He is often referred to as one of the best in foreign affairs to have ever sat in the oval office, and never quit without a fight.
“Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.” – Richard M. Nixon