Richard Nixon in American History
Richard Nixon was born on January 9 1913 in California in a place called Yorba Linda. He was the US vice president from 1953 to 1961. He became the 37th US President in 1969 and he served until 1974. His presidency has been discussed to have had areas of success and also doomed as failure in certain circumstances. Unlike the early periods of the 20th century when the US was experiencing a period of prosperity the era of the 1970,s during and after the era of President Nixon was faced with a lot of economic difficulties which was basically described as the, “End of the American Dream.
”(Singer 1998, p 43). The period after this saw the rise of the period of new conservatism in America in the 1980’s the paper looks at the evidence pointing to these periods. One of the greatest accomplishments of President Nixon is achieving the SALT agreements. More specifically he was the first president to negotiate for better relations with the communist China and also the Soviet Union. This is one of the reflections of his successful foreign policy in the US. He implemented new policies in the economy that were directed towards wage and price control and also the eradication of the gold standard.
He opposed the permanent wages and price controls and instead imposed controls on these factors at a temporal basis. On the gold standard he played a role in regaining back the Gold reserves of the country by floating the dollar freely like other currencies. Other economic accomplishments included the increase in the direct payments to the American individuals such as the medical and social benefits. The food aid and public assistance also increased from 6. 6 Billion to 9. 1 Billion. He reduced the defense spending from 9. 1% to 5.
8% of the Gross National Product. President Nixon is also considered a hero in keeping his promise of ending the Vietnam War. He ended the war by removing the American troops and forming grounds of negotiations with the North Vietnam (Singer, 1998, p63). Although he succeeded in ending the war, President Nixon’s credibility was highly questioned for failing to commit himself to his promise of ending the war immediately he got into power. He was highly criticized for his involvement in the war through increasing the war troops and overseeing the secret bombing.
Another area that is regarded as a failure is the economic hardships that faced the country during his second term in office. The country was faced with escalating inflation which increased the prices of basic commodities. The removal of the restrictions he had imposed on the prices and wages also had a great effect on the domestic policy. He also failed to fund education especially in sciences and he is also blamed of reducing the welfare of the federal programs. The most evident failure is his impeachment in the involvement of the Watergate scandal.
These were secret illegal activities that were performed by the Nixon administration. He tried to cover up for this when things came into light but he was unsuccessful after John Dean confessed. This led to the resignation of many of the administrators including President Nixon himself in 1974 (Singer, 1998, p66). The 20th century saw the rising standards of most Americans. The era was marked with great improvements in scientific research. This led to large investments in the economy especially in infrastructure and also the rising of manufacturing companies.
It created jobs for many Americans and the quality of life improved for the majority. Economic growth was at a very rapid speed characterized by new technological advancements. It is referred to as the age of mass production. This rapid economic growth however did not live to survive the Late 70’s in the American economy. This period was faced with a lot of economic difficulties and it was referred as the, “End of the American Dream. ” The 1970’s saw the worst performance of the American Economy in history after the great depression. Economic growth was halted and the period stood out from the performance in the previous years.
American economy experienced difficulties starting from the decreased domestic spending during President Kennedy Era. The economy had already suffered from the blow of the Vietnam War which was then followed by the diverse effects of oil shocks in 1973 and 1979. These calamities added to the ailments already in the American economy and it resulted to high inflationary pressures. Prices of basic commodities escalated as a result of the inflation and this affected the livelihood of many individuals in America. Unemployment accompanied the inflation and interest rates rose to double digits hitting 21. 5 in December 2008 from 2. 5% in 1970.
The oil shocks stagnated the agricultural sector and pressure started to build on food availability. The technological advancements that had been realized became very difficult to sustain and this brought an end to the era of modernism. Most families that were caught up in poverty remained in that state for the whole of that period since upward mobility was highly diminished (Singer, 1998, p70-114). The period of 1970’s also saw the birth of the era of new conservatism. This referred to the rise of a new era of political movements in the US. The period of the 1980’s is the most notable period of the conservative movements in the US.
These conservative parties held the power in both UK and also In Germany among other republics. The neoconservatives are described as socialist for President Nixon. They remained supporters of democracy in the society and they supported Nixon’s foreign policy especially through supporting the Vietnam War and opposing the Soviet Union. The neoconservatives advocated for religion as a vessel of promoting morality within the society. According to them, religion is a way of restoring social order. The conservative parties advocated for the return of the basic individual values both in the economy and the society.
They campaigned for increased spending in the domestic market, defense and anti-communist foreign policies. They sort to illegalize abortion and the enactment of new rights in matters related to society, religion and family. The parties were very active in fighting the communist governments and those who were involved in the human rights abuses. This was the period when new conservatives such as Elliot Abraham’s agitated for a more defined policy regarding democracy. The period saw the debates move international when the Reagan government put pressure for President Ferdinand Marcos to step down after a rigged election in the Philippines.
The conservatives also supported Chilean plebiscite which saw the removal of Augusto Pinochet from office and the return of democratic rule. The period was also characterized by the National Endowment for democracy led by a conservative known as Carl Gershman. This endowment ensured a fair election by redirecting funds to the anti Pinochet opposition (Singer, 1998, p1116-130). Works cited Robert L. Heilbroner and Alan Singer (1998). The Economic Transformation of America: 1600 to the Present. Wadsworth Publishing