U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook

By Halford Ryan | Go to book overview

Hal W. Bochin


Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994)

And so tonight--to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans-- I ask for your support.

An emotional Richard Nixon described his own political career when he told a group of White House aides and staff gathered on August 9, 1974, to bid him farewell: "Only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." No American political leader has known higher mountains or deeper valleys than Richard Nixon. After a meteoric rise from newly elected House member to vice president in six years, Nixon was within 120,000 votes of the top when he lost the 1960 presidential election to John Kennedy. When Pat Brown defeated him in the race for California governor in 1962, most commentators offered his political obituary. Nixon surprised them all with his election to the presidency in 1968. In 1972, he won re-election, capturing 60 percent of the popular vote as he defeated George McGovern. He had reached the summit; but two years later, he became the first president to resign his office. He left in disgrace, but he was not finished. Donning the mantle of elder statesman, Nixon wrote and spoke, most often about foreign policy, and eventually regained much of the respect he had lost. In 1990, sixteen years after his resignation, three U.S. presidents and thousands of cheering spectators attended the opening of the Nixon Library and Birthplace, a monument to his accomplishments.

Born on January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, to Francis "Frank" and Hannah Nixon, Richard was the second eldest of five sons. When Richard was nine, the family moved to Whittier where his father opened a gas station and later added a grocery store in which the entire family worked. An excellent student, Nixon had to refuse a scholarship to Harvard because of the high cost

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U.S. Presidents as Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • An Introduction to Presidential Oratory ix
  • BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES xvii
  • George Washington (1732-1799) 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 16
  • John Adams (1735-1826) 18
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 26
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 28
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 40
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 43
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 52
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 54
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 63
  • Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) 65
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 75
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 77
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 89
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 93
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 107
  • Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) 111
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 132
  • Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964) 134
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 144
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) 146
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 164
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 168
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 187
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) 190
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 204
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) 210
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 225
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) 228
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 245
  • Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) 249
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 269
  • Gerald R. Ford (1913- ) 274
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 296
  • Jimmy Carter (1924- ) 299
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 311
  • Ronald Reagan (1911- ) 316
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 337
  • George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ) 344
  • RHETORICAL SOURCES 358
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 361
  • RHETORICAL RESOURCES 374
  • Index 377
  • About the Editor and Contributors 387
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