What Is Richard M. Nixon Famous For?

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Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States and also served as Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his presidency, he opened relations with the People's Republic of China, and during his second term he negotiated an end to hostilities in the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon's presidency is notable for being the only one to end with the resignation of the president.

The scandal that led Congress to vote on impeachment, and that eventually drove Nixon from office, revolved around the multiple break-ins and subsequent cover-ups of a group of political operatives at the Watergate hotel, which was then serving as the headquarters of the rival Democratic Party.

Shortly before the 1972 election, a small group of burglars were caught servicing surveillance equipment in the Democratic offices that the team had installed during an earlier break-in. Soon, the Washington Post began a series of articles that demonstrated a link between the burglars and prominent members of the Nixon administration. In time, it was revealed that Richard Nixon had been recording his private conversations, including those related to the cover-up. Congress demanded the tapes and Nixon refused. Eventually, the matter was decided by the unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court in favor of Congress. Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974.