1974 August 9

President Nixon Resigns in Disgrace


Richard Nixon resigned on this day as President of the United States because of the Watergate Scandal. He is the only president ever to resign the office. He had once said, “I am not a quitter” (September 23, 1952), but on this day he was a quitter. His resignation was a result of the Watergate scandal that began on June 17, 1972, with the break-in of Democratic Headquarters, located in the Watergate Hotel and Office Building in Washington, D.C., as well as the many revelations of abuse of power by him and members of his administration.

Nixon’s abuses of power included wiretapping his own National Security Council staff members (May 9, 1969); creating an “enemies” list and using federal agencies such as the IRS to “screw” his critics (August 16, 1971); creating a secret “Plumbers” unit that engaged in a burglary (September 9, 1971); and obstructing justice in the Watergate burglary investigation (June 23, 1972).

President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon for all possible crimes associated with the Watergate scandal on September 8, 1974.

Watch Nixon’s resignation speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLHc8NR_v-8

Learn more about Nixon: Joan Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (1994)

Learn more about the Watergate Scandal: Stanley Kutler, The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon (1990)

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