What is a Presidential election in the United States? It is an indirect vote in which citizens from our country cast votes for a specific member; the ballots get tallied and sent to the U.S. Electoral College where the electors select the President and Vice President. These elections are thrilling pieces of American History. They are historical markers for shifts of leadership and thinking in the United States. The 1968 presidential race was no exception because it was most likely one of the most exciting elections to date. It had more controversies and tragic events then ever witnessed before. There was violence, death, war, tension, discrimination, riots, and protests. It was a very close race between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace and brought about a big change in America’s political stance. This research paper will explore why Nixon won, the historical background, long term effects, and the controversies during that time period. There were many people and events that influenced this election and to understand it fully one needs to know the whole story.
Richard Milhous Nixon, born on January 9th, 1913, in Yorba Linda, California, was the second of five sons. His father, Frank Nixon, was the owner of a small lemon farm in Yorba Linda and a hard worker in a service station. Hannah Milhous, Richard’s mother, was a Quaker and was a major influence in Richard’s early life. During his teens, Nixon attended Fullerton high school but ended up transferring to Whittier high school, where he was very successful. There Nixon ran for student body president but unfortunately lost. He ended up graduating at top of his class and even got offered a scholarship to Harvard University; however, his parents didn’t have enough money for other miscellaneous expenses. Instead, Richard attended Whittier College, where he was an outstanding athlete and debater. After graduating from college, he obtained a scholarship from Duke University Law School, where he graduated third in his class. The hallmarks of Nixon’s childhood consisted of his Quaker beliefs, hard work in school, tight finances, and the death of his two brothers. After finishing Duke, Nixon returned to Whittier to start up his career at a firm called Koop & Bewley. Despite long hours at work, Nixon still managed to pursue some of his favorites hobbies like being in plays and performing on stage. In one of his performances, one of fellow cast members, Patricia Ryan caught his eye and in 1940 he ended up marrying her. After two years of living in California, the Nixon’s decided to move to Washington D.C. because of Richard’s ambition to be a big-town lawyer. But after moving to the Nation’s capital, he realized his hatred of bureaucratic red tape and, despite his religious beliefs, joined the navy shortly after the onset of World War II. He served in the South Pacific from 1942 to 1946, as an aviation ground officer who never saw any combat. (Richard) He returned after the war with several commendations and service starts along with the rank of lieutenant commander. Back in the states, Nixon decided to run for U.S. congress after being persuaded by a group called the Whittier Republicans. He beat five term Democratic incumbent Jerry Voorhis by using a variety of clever campaign tricks. During his term as senator, Nixon accomplished many things including developing a reputation in foreign policy and convicting Alger Hiss, a United Nations official, for perjury. In 1950, Nixon ran victoriously against Democrat Helen Douglas for the United States Senate. Two years later, Nixon became a household name when he ran on the vice president ticket with Dwight D. Eisenhower. They won comfortably but an incident occurred in which Nixon was accused of using campaign money for private use. Instead of removing himself from running, Nixon publicly delivered an address stating that he never used the funds improperly. During 1955 and 1957, Eisenhower experienced a series of...
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