Who was he: Richard Nixon served from 1969 to 1974 as the 37th president of the United States. Nixon had very unpopular moments as a US president, for instance, being blamed for escalating a very unpopular Vietnam War, as well as victories. He was also responsible for eventually withdrawing U.S troops in 1973. Nixon played a huge part in the desegregation of southern schools and started the highly controversial Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, Nixon's worst legacy remains the removal of gold backing for the US dollar and the imposition of import tariffs and price controls.
Richard Nixon's time as president has had a disastrous 40-year impact on the purchasing power of the US dollar and fast-tracked the destruction of what remained of a free market in the United States. In 1969 price inflation was running at an extremely high rate. Lyndon Johnson had started social welfare programs that required extraordinary amounts of new money and the Vietnam War was outrageously expensive. These two factors did serious damage to the purchasing power of the dollar and helped grow an expanding government deficit.
With Nixon's reelection approaching towards the end of his initial term in office, it was an act of Congress in 1970 that gave the president authority that ultimately paved the way for Nixon to impose wage and price freezes and the ability to end the convertibility of US dollars to gold.
Remarkably, despite Richard Nixon's destructive monetary and economic policies, he was reelected in 1972. Nixon's second term will be forever remembered as the time of the Watergate scandal. This scandal led to Richard Nixon resigning from presidency; however, many believe impeachment was imminent had he not resigned.
Background: Richard Milhous Nixon was born January 9, 1913 in the family home in Yorba Linda, California to conservative Quaker parents and worked his way through high school after his father took ill with tuberculosis. Although Nixon was offered a tuition grant to attend Harvard, family needs required him to stay in California, where he attended Whittier College where he was extensively involved in debate. Nixon received a full scholarship to attend the relatively new Duke University Law School where he became president of the Duke Bar Association. He graduated in 1937, third in his class, and returned to practice law in the state of California.
Richard Nixon married Pat Ryan in 1940 and moved to Washington with his new wife in 1942. The couple had two children, Tricia and Julie. Nixon joined the United States Navy and served in World War II, although he could have avoided service given his Quaker upbringing. In 1946 he was elected to the House of Representatives and in 1950 was elected to the U.S. Senate, which led to him becoming the Vice President of Dwight D Eisenhower for eight years. In 1960 Richard Nixon lost a close election to John F. Kennedy. When he ran for president again, in 1968, he was elected.
Richard Nixon is widely considered by many libertarians and free-market thinkers to be one of the worst presidents – if not the worst – to ever occupy the Oval Office. In 1994 at the age of 81 Nixon died of a stroke.