ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

President Nixon: Forgotten Positives

Updated on March 9, 2011

An Overshadowed Presidency

I consider Richard Nixon one of the most tragic characters in U.S. history. His perpetual paranoia and insecurities brought about the event that led to the Watergate scandal and his subsequent downfall.  

Unfortunately, the scandals and cover-ups of Watergate and the unpopularity of the Vietnam War overshadowed what was one of the greatest presidencies of the last half of the 20th century. 

Richard Nixon has become the liberal's poster boy of what is wrong with the Republican Party but the truth is, Nixon was a true progressive and initiated many liberal policies throughout his administration.

Here are some things Nixon did during his presidency that goes against the infamous persona of "Tricky Dick". 

The Environment

Nixon signed into law the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, amending the Clean Air Act of 1963 to greater enforce environmental regulations.

Nixon then established the Environmental Protection Agency, streamlining several agencies into one, making it easier to regulate and enforce environmental laws.   

The Economy

Nixon established the "New Federalism" system, which cut the red tape by taking money and power away from the federal government and directed it straight to the states, making program funding more efficient.

Nixon increased federal funds for food aid and public assistance programs while decreasing the military budget significantly.

Nixon presented the only balanced budget between the years of 1961 and 1998.


Civil Rights

A Quaker, Nixon felt racism and segregation in the U.S. was a moral outrage. In 1971, he signed the Equal Rights Amendment desegregating public schools.

He asked the Justice Department to bring sex discrimination suits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and ordered the Labor Department to add sex discrimination provisions to the guidelines for its Office of Federal Contract Compliance.

Foreign Affairs

Nixon opens up relations with the Soviet Union and China.

He becomes the first president to visit the People's Republic of China in February of 1972.

In May of the same year Nixon met with Brezhnev (the Soviet Union's leader) in Moscow. This meeting led to increased trade between the two countries and the signing of two nuclear arms control treaties, SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and ABMT (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty). These are the first nuclear arms treaties between the Cold War combatants.

Nixon Reaches Out

On May 9th 1970, during the height of the Vietnam War protests and just days after the Kent State University shootings, Nixon set out from the White House with bare-bones protection at 4:00 AM to meet personally with protesters camping at the Lincoln Memorial.

The impromptu meeting with the surprised protesters did not go well. Nixon tried debating with them about foreign policy but they obviously had him outnumbered, so Nixon tried changing the subject to sports and travel. This came off as Nixon being out of touch with the younger generation.  I believe it was an honest reaching out to the protesters. In any case, it sure took some big brass ones to do what he did.

A Troubled History

If you are aware of Nixon's past you may understand his paranoia.

He was dirt poor and was teased for it as a child. Throughout his years in politics the press was always on his back about one thing or another. One thing was the investigation of gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries. This came out during the vetting process for Eisenhower's VP spot. This led to the famous "Checkers" speech.

The press gave him hell during the presidential run against Kennedy. The press were in love with Kennedy (sound familiar today?). He blamed them for that loss in that very tight race. Then he loses his bid for governor of California. He shows his disdain for the press after that loss by saying in a press conference announcing his short retirement from politics by saying,

"I leave you gentleman now and you will write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know — just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you."

Nixon was a tragic figure in the Shakespearean sense. His desperate and illegal actions revolving around the Watergate scandal was most likely due to his deep-rooted fear of rejection.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)