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Thirty-seventh President of the United States, infamous for the Watergate scandal
Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon (9 January 1913 – 22 April 1994) was an American politician who served as the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 until 1974, when he resigned from office, the only U.S. president to do so. He had previously served as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, and prior to that as a U.S. Representative and also Senator from California.


9 Jan 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon, in Yorba Linda, California


22 Apr 1994, in New York City


35 Heroes of Freedom, by Reason, Reason, Dec 2003
"Eclectic, irreverent" list of individuals "who have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action", as chosen by Reason editors (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and "The Yuppie")
[Barry Goldwater] also helped convince Nixon to resign ...
Richard Nixon. Between waging secret wars, enacting wage and price controls, and producing Watergate, Tricky Dick did more than any other single individual to encourage cynicism about government and wariness of presidential power.
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Nov 1955
Discusses the scramble for positioning after Ike's Sept. 1955 heart attack, whether Nixon merits being called a conservative, the planning for a new, yet unnamed political party, and possible candidates of both traditional parties for the 1956 elections
Yet one question remains: how has Nixon earned the tag "conservative" ... Where did the "Nixon myth" come from, then? It stems from four sources: (1) a group of staunch conservatives sponsored Nixon's first election to the House; (2) Nixon helped to uncover Alger Hiss; (3) Nixon attacked the Democratic Party for softness to Communism in the 1952 campaign; and (4) Nixon jumped into the "pro-war" corner of the Administration—urged intervening in Indo-China and bombing the China coast. The first factor makes him suspect to leftists ... The remaining counts emphasize the gap between Nixon and the Republican left-wing.
Related Topic: Libertarianism
The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Freedom Daily, May 2006
Criticizes the use of the word "isolationist" by the media, "internationalists" and other foreign intervention promoters, looking at the heritage of noninterventionism as exemplified by Washington's Farewell Address
[Americans] have often voted for presidential candidates they thought would keep the nation at peace but instead led the nation into wars and more wars ... Richard Nixon ran in 1968 with "a secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam. In the course of slowly pulling troops out of the war—and expanding the bombing—he spread the war to Cambodia.
An Anti-Democracy Foreign Policy: Guatemala, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 11 Feb 2005
Describes the 1954 CIA-engineered coup d'état in Guatemala and the subsequent military regimes, also touching on the attempts to seek regime change in Cuba and the 1973 CIA-supported ouster of Allende in Chile
Canceling the presidential election scheduled for 1955 and continuing "emergency" suspension of civil liberties ... Castillo Armas retained the unwavering support of the U.S. government. A year after taking office, he visited Washington, where he was warmly greeted by Vice President Richard Nixon and, not surprisingly given that he was a military man, was accorded the privilege of reviewing a U.S. military honor guard with Nixon at his side. Nixon visited Guatemala in 1955, declaring that "this is the first instance in history were a Communist government has been replaced by a free one."
As We Go Marching / America's Emerging Fascist Economy / Toward a Planned Society, by Walter E. Grinder, Libertarian Review, Aug 1976
Review of the books As We Go Marching by John T. Flynn, America's Emerging Fascist Economy by Charlotte Twight and Toward a Planned Society by Otis L. Graham, Jr.
The next great leap forward towards planning, a leap that is portrayed in one of the most revealing parts of Graham's book, takes place during the first administration of the Nixon regime. The role in the Nixon schemes of unreconstructed planner Daniel P. Moynihan is particularly interesting. Both Twight and Graham rightly see Nixon's imposition of peacetime price controls as an important precedent that is sure to have widespread ramifications for future planners.
Related Topics: Fascism, John T. Flynn, Militarism
Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1995
Historical examination of the evolution of the United States Civil Service and attempts to reform it, from its beginnings through the early 20th century
[The] higher the ranks of the bureaucracy, the more yes-men and time-servers there will tend to be. The President will often know less about what is going on than those in the lower ranks. Hence, for example, the phenomenon of President Nixon, thinking he knew more than anyone else about the Vietnam War and yet actually knowing less than the astute reader of the New York Times. For the CIA and other intelligence warnings of what was going on, developed by many of the lower officers, were screened out by the higher-ups, for being contrary to the President's preferred line, i.e., that all was going well.
Cast a Giant Ballot, by Clifford F. Thies, The Freeman, Oct 1997
Memorial and biographical essay on Roger MacBride, discussing his influence on the early Libertarian Party as well as his involvement in the Little House saga
Because the Republican Party ticket won the popular vote in Virginia, that party's slate of candidates for the Electoral College—which included MacBride—was elected ... It is important to point out that Roger MacBride's vote for the Libertarian Party ticket was only partially motivated by philosophy. Following their re-election, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were each forced to resign from office: Nixon for obstruction of justice in conjunction with the Watergate affair, and Agnew for tax evasion ... MacBride was protesting their already obvious corruption as well as their policies.
Democracy Versus Liberty, by James Bovard, The Freeman, Aug 2006
Discusses the dangers of equating liberty with "self-government" as majority rule
Americans later learned that, at the time of Nixon's statement, the FBI was involved in a massive campaign to suppress opposition to the government and to the Vietnam War, and Nixon himself was involved in obstructing the investigation of the Watergate break-in and related crimes. But Nixon may not have seen such actions as a violation of liberty because, as he explained to interviewer David Frost in 1977, "When the president does it that means that it is not illegal." Frost, somewhat dumbfounded, replied, "By definition?" Nixon answered, "Exactly. Exactly."
The Drug War as a Socialist Enterprise, by Milton Friedman, Friedman & Szasz on Liberty and Drugs, 16 Nov 1991
Chapter adapted from keynote address at Fifth International Conference on Drug Policy Reform; examines why, 20 years after his admonition against the drug war, the government continues its attempts at enforcement, in spite of the predicted results
In 1972, almost twenty years ago, President Nixon started a war on drugs—the first intensive effort to enforce the prohibition of drugs since the original Harrison Act. In preparation for this talk today, I re-read the column that I published in Newsweek criticizing his action. Very few words in that column would have to be changed for it to be publishable today. The problem then was primarily heroin and the chief source of the heroin was Marseilles. Today, the problem is cocaine from Latin America. Aside from that, nothing would have to be changed.
Ellsberg's Lessons for Our Time, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, May 2008
Reviews Daniel Ellsberg's Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (2003) and points out how its commentary applies to the then current conflict in Iraq
[Ellsberg attended] a meeting ... with former Vice President Richard Nixon, who was visiting Vietnam on a "fact-finding mission" to help bolster his presidential aspirations. Former CIA operative Edward Lansdale told Nixon that he and his colleagues wanted to help "make this the most honest election that's ever been held in Vietnam." Nixon replied, "Oh, sure, honest, yes, honest, that's right ... so long as you win!" With the last words he did three things in quick succession: winked, drove his elbow hard into Lansdale's arm, and slapped his own knee.
The Foundation for Economic Education: Success or Failure?, by Benjamin A. Rogge, Can Capitalism Survive?, 1979
Adapted from remarks at FEE's 25th anniversary celebration in 1971; chapter 3 of part IX of Can Capitalism Survive?; also reprinted in The Freeman, May 1996
This brings us to another of the straws in the wind. If further evidence of where we seem to be headed is needed, I offer you the current [Nixon] administration in Washington, D.C. It is manned by a number of intelligent, capable public servants of roughly conservative outlook and headed by an intelligent, well-meaning man of sound conservative instincts [sic]. Yet I am prepared to wager that history will reveal that no administration in modern times did more to move the country away from freedom and toward socialism and authoritarianism than the one now in power.
George W. Bush's Nixonomics, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 22 May 2006
Describes the various fiscal, monetary and economic policies during the Nixon presidency and compares them to those under George W. Bush
It was a time of a Republican administration waging an unpopular war ... I am speaking of [a] Republican president, whose unpopularity, reckless fiscal record and bellicose foreign policy parallels today's occupant of the Oval Office. He was one of the enthusiastic fathers of the modern corporate welfare/warfare state: president Richard Nixon was first elected in 1968. But by 1970 the nation was in the midst of a recession and Nixon's re-election chances didn't look good ... So, in 1971, Nixon took ... steps that were designed to reduce inflation and juice up the economy for the coming elections.
Illegal Surveillance: A Real Security Threat, by James Bovard, 27 Feb 2006
Describes how the FBI, IRS and other agencies spied on Americans on both sides of the political spectrum during the 1960s and 1970s, and warns about the NSA wiretaps ordered by George W. Bush
During the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI carried out thousands of Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operations ... the FBI continually expanded its enemies list. Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston testified to Congress about COINTELPRO's tendency "to move from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line." ... The IRS used COINTELPRO leads to launch audits against thousands of suspected political enemies of the Nixon administration.
The New Deal and Roosevelt's Seizure of Gold: A Legacy of Theft and Inflation, Part 2, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Sep 2006
Describes Roosevelt's Executive Order 6102, its threats for non-compliance and its immediate effects, as well as its legacy: Btretton Woods, Nixon's closing of the gold window and current inflation
France's government, under Charles de Gaulle, recognized the situation at hand and began to redeem its dollars in U.S. gold, which was stuck at its 1933 price. While U.S. representatives at first denied there was a problem, by mid 1971 U.S. gold reserves were disappearing quickly, leading Richard Nixon to close the gold window and impose wage and price controls. While some price controls were lifted within the year, oil and gasoline controls remained through the decade, causing untold havoc in the economy.
No More "Great Presidents", by Robert Higgs, The Free Market, Mar 1997
Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
The Failures are Pierce, Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Grant, Harding, Hoover, and Nixon, the last ranking at the very bottom of the heap ... [O]ne respondent ... asks: "How can one evaluate such an idiosyncratic President [as Nixon], so brilliant and so morally lacking?"—as if Nixon were, in this crowd, uniquely immoral ... [O]f [those] ranked as Below Average or Failure, all but one (Nixon) managed to keep the nation at peace during their terms in office, and even Nixon ultimately extracted the United States from the quagmire of ... Vietnam, though not until many more lives had been squandered.
The Secret State, by Carl Oglesby, 19 Dec 1991
Details various events from the dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro, which Oglesby said are reason to be worried about "a secret and invisible state within the public state"
In a rare public speech ... CIA Director Richard Helms asked the nation to "take it on faith that we too are honorable men devoted to her service." He went on to say, "We do not target on American citizens." ... As though to give body to Helms' touching promise, seven CIA Operatives detailed to the Nixon White House played the same political game the CIA learned abroad ... but now in the context of U.S. Presidential politics. Whether through sheer fluke or a subtle counter-conspiracy, Nixon's CIA burglars were caught in the act, and two years later Nixon was therefore forced to resign.
Thank You, Milton Friedman, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Nov 2006
In memoriam, highlighting the many contributions of Milton Friedman both to the economics profession and as a public intellectual through his columns and his television series
When President Nixon imposed wage and price controls in 1971, no one was better at showing the disastrous effects of that policy than Friedman. Government decrees, he said, can't repeal the laws of economics. For example, he added, if government forbids the price of candy bars to rise when economic conditions require it, there inevitably will be more air and less chocolate in the candy than before ... At the height of the Vietnam War, ... Friedman put his prestige on the line and demanded that conscription be stopped. He did this publicly and also as a member of Nixon's Commission on an All-Volunteer Force.
Treating People Like Garbage, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 4 Oct 2013
Prompted by the "closing" of the U.S. government during Oct 2013, examines two examples of how the state behaves towards people: an Iraq war veteran and his family, and the genocide of Bengalis in March 1971, with the support of Nixon and Kissinger
In 1971, President Nixon and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger ... badly wanted to go to Red China ... Their connection to Mao Zedong was General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, the anticommunist military dictator of Pakistan, a man Nixon liked and admired ... Hundreds of thousands of Bengalis were killed [in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in March 1971] ... Who outfitted the military dictatorship's army knowing this slaughter would take place? Who kept doing so when it actually was taking place? And who offered private encouragement to Yahya? Nixon and Kissinger.
Under the Shadow of Inflationomics, by Hans F. Sennholz, 1 Jun 2006
Explains how inflation has its roots in central banking and fiat money, and describes the influence of Keynesian economics on the policies of U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush
Ours is an age of inflationomics. It dawned with the sway of Keynesian economics in Europe as well as America and commenced visibly in 1971 when President Nixon abolished the last vestiges of the gold standard and repudiated all international obligations to make payments in gold ... When wages and prices soared, President Nixon, with Congressional approval, imposed a four-phase program of wage and price controls which immediately led to shortages in many areas. A serious "energy crisis" reduced home heating-oil supplies and led to gasoline shortages.
What Exactly Did Gerald Ford Heal?, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Jan 2007
Counters the argument that Gerald Ford, by pardoning Richard Nixon, "healed the nation"
The burglary and cover-up we call "Watergate" gave the American people a rare glimpse at raw government power. The break-in at the Democratic National Committee was not the only criminal activity that Nixon administration operatives had committed. They had also broken into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked ... the Pentagon Papers ... Nixon's infamous "plumbers" unit had wiretapped people thought to be undermining the war effort. He also had used the IRS to harass people on his notorious enemies list ... The people had to be persuaded that Nixon was an aberration (he wasn't, really) ...
Related Topics: Gerald Ford, Government


Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman, by Milton Friedman, Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
Friedman: ... [Goldwater's] IQ is perfectly reasonable but it's not outstanding among the various politicians ..., and that shows why IQ is not a good measure. The highest IQ was Richard Nixon's and he was a terrible president. While I was never a governmental official, I was a member of an economic advisory group that Nixon appointed of which Arthur Burns was chairman. I saw Nixon from time to time when he was president, until he imposed price controls. I saw him only once after that.
Reason: Did you stop giving him advice?
Friedman: I kept giving him advice from Newsweek, but not personally.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Richard Nixon" as of 29 May 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.