Richard Nixon: Defeated by Personality Essay

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Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States, became the only American President to ever resign from office on August 9th, 1974. The contributing factors that led to his resignation cannot be boiled down to any single event. Rather, his coarse personality and unorthodox viewpoints led to his political retreat. The very existence of the Watergate scandal, a key event in the downfall of Richard Nixon as president, can be attributed to his overwhelming paranoia and his legitimate belief that some of his political enemies were evildoers. To overcome these enemies, he felt that he needed use any and every political weapon at his disposal to secure his place as president, with no regard to the legality of such measures. Nixon also …show more content…
Gould states that indeed, "Nixon's crime ridden presidency was the fulfillment of a career driven by paranoia and a dark view of his political adversaries."

As a result of his paranoia, Nixon firmly believed that the media was always working against him. According to political Journalist Theodore White, Nixon got an unrealistically positive reception from the press when he was a young politician from the Los Angeles Times, a publication whose praise carried much weight in public opinion on politics. When a management change occurred at the Times, journalists began to report on him negatively, and this was the beginning of his distrust for the media. Nixon felt, in fact, that the entire "political universe ...was hostile to him and all his goals." During his first term as president, the media was not overly critical of him or his administration. In fact, Historian Godfrey Hodgson goes so far as to say that "the Administration, all things considered, got a remarkably easy ride from the press." But that didn't matter to Nixon; he still believed that the press was out to get him.

Paranoia alone, of course, does not stand as a reasonable factor in Nixon's resignation; he is surely not the only world leader to have been cautious of his political surroundings. What made Nixon's elevated mistrust of his political "enemies" important to his eventual stepping down from office was the fact that it motivated him to tap phone lines, spy on opposing candidates and

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