Guest MINDSETTER ™ Berwick: Looking Back at Nixon’s Resignation 41 Years Ago

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


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Richard Nixon

August 9, 2015 is the 41st anniversary of the Resignation or President Richard Milhous Nixon

Even though the Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress during his 5 years in office, President Nixon was able to work with the Congress in regular order to make the United States and the world a better place to live, work and pray.  Nixon put his country's needs and the world's needs ahead of the needs of his political party.  Nixon was not an ideologue. A person only has to read Nixon’s messages to Congress and his bill signing statements to understand the love that Nixon had for his country.   Unfortunately, because of the Watergate scandal, few people know that Nixon, during his 5 years in office, signed more important pieces of legislation, created more important programs and made more important successful foreign policy decisions than any other American President.

Nixon's Accomplishments

During his presidency, Nixon became the first American President to make an official visit to the Soviet Union in May of 1972, witnessed the adoption of the 26th amendment to the Constitution of the United States on July 5, 1971 which gave the right to vote to 18 year olds, negotiated major nuclear arms reduction treaties with the Soviet Union, reduced cold war tensions by opening formal relations with China, ordered a massive (20,000 tons) airlift of American arms sent to Israel that helped them win the 1973 YOM KIPPUR WAR, reestablished formal relations between the United States and Egypt in April of 1974 after a seven year absence, negotiated the disengagement of forces between Israel, Egypt and Syria on May 31 of 1974, launched new Middle East peace talks in June of 1974 when he became the first American president to visit Israel, Syria and Egypt, established The Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism, expanded Social Security and Medicare benefits to seniors, signed the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Restoration ACT which provided a guaranteed income for disabled citizens, established the Equal Employment Commission that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or age, increased benefits for the aged, blind and disabled by 5 billion dollars, established the Committee for Employment of the Handicapped, signed the 1969 Tax Reform Act that took 9 million low income families off the income tax roles, established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), established the Environmental Quality Council.

Nixon also signed the National Environmental Act requiring environmental impact statements for many federal projects, signed the Revenue Sharing Act which allowed states and local communities to determine how federal funds are spent, signed the Clean Air Act, signed the 1974 safe drinking water act, signed the Endangered Species Act, signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), ended public school segregation in the southern states, created The National Institute of Education which encouraged and directed research in education,  implemented the "Philadelphia Plan"-the United States’ first significant affirmative action program, established The Construction Industry Collective Bargaining Commission, signed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act which provided funds to treat and find the cure for this disorder that strikes only blacks, created The Office of Minority Business Enterprise, extended voting rights in 1970 by abolishing literacy tests, created a radical reorientation of Federal Native American Policy which encouraged tribal self determination, signed the National Cancer Act that began the war on cancer in the United States, started the "War on Drugs" in June of 1971 when he sent a message to the Congress on "Drug Abuse-Prevention and Control", signed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (The RICO Act) that targeted organized crime and terrorist activities, campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA),  doubled the funding for the arts and the humanities, signed the Title IX Act-creating equal opportunities for women in sports, negotiated the end of the Vietnam War, welcomed home American POWS from Vietnam by hosting the largest dinner ever held in the White House, ended the draft and established the all volunteer military. 


During his retirement, Nixon visited many countries, met with many world leaders and wrote many bestselling books describing his political views.  In 1986, a Gallup Poll ranked Nixon as one of the 10 most admired men in the world.  The leaders of Russia, Poland, The Czech Republic and China met with Nixon in private settings and treated Nixon with admiration, honor and respect.   President George H. W. Bush and President Ronald Reagan often sought Nixon’s advice and counsel.  President Clinton met openly with Nixon in the White House and he regularly sought Nixon’s advice on foreign policy matters.  Clinton said, “I appreciated his insight and advice and I’m glad he chose, at the end of his life, to share it with me.”  In his eulogy at Nixon's funeral, President Clinton said "May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close."

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Kenneth Berwick of Smithfield, RI Served three years in the United States Marine Corps from 1954-1957. Berwick is a retired teacher with a BA from RIC in 1960 and a Masters from Syracuse in 1969.


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