Richard M. Nixon

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Early Life Richard Milhous Nixon grew up in Yorba, California the son of Quakers Frank and Hannah Nixon. During Nixon's childhood in Yorba, the family was always on the edge of poverty. The lemon grove was unfruitful, and there was little money for anything beyond food and clothing for the growing family. The Nixons never ate in a restaurant or took even a brief vacation. Nixon's early life was one of boyish stubbornness. He swam in the dangerous Anaheim Canal in spite of repeated warnings from his father, and he insisted upon standing up to ride in the family wagon, although once a fall gave him a serious head injury. He displayed a competitive streak at an early age and would never turn down a challenge or a dare. He also loved to be read to, and after age five he could read on his own. National Geographic was his favorite magazine. Education Nixon graduated form high school in 1930. He possessed extraordinary intelligence and ambition, but his ambitious nature received a serious setback that year. He graduated first in his class and won his high school's Harvard Club award as "best all-around student." The award was a scholarship to Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, he seemed likely to win a scholarship to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Nixon had dreamed for years of going to a famous college in the East, but his dreams were shattered when he had to turn down both opportunities. Because his older brother Harold's long battle with tuberculous had drained the family's funds there was no money to pay for the cost of traveling to the East Coast and living there. Nixon swallowed his disappointment and enrolled at nearby Whittier College. Nixon majored in history, and one of his history professors had a profound influence on his career. This was Dr. Paul Smith, whom Nixon called "the greatest intellectual inspiration of my early years." Smith was a Republican who urged his students to think about the...
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