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Students

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The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum has a wealth of programming, information and resources for students regarding Richard Nixon, his administration, and the 20th century.

Follow the links below to learn more.

Speeches

For text of all of President Nixon's speeches to the public, see the Public Papers of the Presidents.

  • On November 3, 1969, President Nixon delivered the "Silent Majority" speech, outlining his plan for ending the Vietnam War. To learn more, listen to excerpts from the speech and view letters from people who agreed or disagreed with Nixon's ideas.

    Background

    Nixon won the 1968 election with his campaign for ending the Vietnam War with an honorable peace. The pace of the administration's end of the war continued to spur demonstrations including the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in October of 1969.

    Nixon delivered an address to the nation now referred to as "The Silent Majority Speech" on November 3, 1969. Nixon laid out a plan for the end of the war through the process of diplomatic negotiation and Vietnamization. At the close of the speech, he requested the support of the "great silent majority" for his plans.

    Nixon's speech was enormously successful resulting in tens of thousands of letters and telegrams of support. Not only did the speech affect the war and Nixon presidency but also it promoted a political opportunity in the Republican Party to amass a New Majority and promote conservative policies. Others disagreed with the president, and voiced their opposition in letters and further demonstrations including another Moratorium later in November 1969. Included are some of the responses-both in favor and against the speech-to the President.

    Audio

    coming soon!

    Photographs

    • Photograph of Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, surrounded by telegrams from people reacting to the speech

    Documents

    coming soon!

    Questions

    • What is Nixon's reasoning behind his plan for ending the Vietnam War?
    • Do you feel that Nixon makes a compelling argument with this speech?

    How do the responses to the speech reference his argument?

  • What would happen if there was a gasoline shortage? In October 1973, President Nixon addressed the nation about the energy crisis, listing strategies for dealing with the oil shortage. Listen to excerpts from the speech and look at letters from concerned people.

    Background

    In October 1973, OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] reduced the oil supply by 5% and placed an embargo on countries supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

    The embargo created a crisis, especially in the form of dramatically increased fuel prices and a shortage, in the United States. Nixon addressed the country about the crisis and had a special adviser for energy issues.

    Strategies for dealing with the crisis included government buildings were fixed at 68 degrees, the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph, day lights savings time was moved to Februrary, gas stations were closed on weekends, and conservation measures encouraged. In the winter of 1974, fuel shortages created policies where even-numbered license plates could buy gas on even numbered days and odd-numbered license plates could buy gas on odd numbered days of the month.

    Many citizens wrote to the President and his energy advisers offering ideas and voicing concern over the effects of different policies.

    Audio

    Photographs

    Documents

    Questions

    • Based on the additional documents provided, how would the crisis affect those who wrote the President?

    How could the government help and should the government help?

  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon. Listen to the call President Nixon made to the astronauts, look at photographs, and read letters to the President about the moon landing.

    Background

    A facet of the Cold War was the space race. The Apollo program was an aggressive push to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.

    On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, followed about 20 minutes later by Buzz Aldrin. An estimated 600 million people watched the moon landing. During the moonwalk, astronauts took photographs, gathered samples, set up scientific instruments, raised the flag, and received a phone call from President Nixon. Upon their splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, the astronauts met the President aboard the USS Hornet.

    Audio

    Photographs

    Documents

    Questions

    • There was considerable debate about if the United States should use any flag, its flag, or a flag of the United Nations. What are your thoughts on this matter?
    • What does the moon landing symbolize to you

    Is going to the moon a worthy endeavor? Why?

White House Tapes

Listen to Audio Clips of Nixon discuss all kinds of topics from the Thanksgiving turkey to bombing Vietnam to choosing a Supreme Court justice.

Additional Resources

Quick Facts about President Nixon

    • During the White House years, President Nixon and his family had several pet dogs; unfortunately, we do not have much information about them (backgrounds, ages, etc.), except for their general descriptions and names. The President personally had only one dog, King Timahoe, an Irish Setter, given to him by his staff in 1969. Tricia Nixon had a Yorkshire Terrier named Pasha and Julie Nixon Eisenhower had Vicki, a Toy Poodle. Mrs. Nixon did not have a particular pet, but she was fond of all of them; and the entire family had the famous Cocker Spaniel named "Checkers" who lived from 1952 to 1964.
       
    • President Nixon was the first person to visit the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as both President and Vice President. 
       
    • President Nixon was an accomplished musician (he played the violin and the piano) and would often show off his talent for guests at the White House. 
       
    • President Nixon was a huge sports fan; he would often visit the Washington Redskins' practice facility and talk football to his good friend, Redskins coach George Allen. President Nixon even called in a play during a Redskins game. 
       
    • Some of the First Family's favorite movies were "Patton," "Dr. Zhivago," "My Fair Lady," and "The Sound of Music." 
       
    • President Nixon's favorite breakfast usually consisted of cottage cheese (garnished with either ketchup and/or black pepper), fresh fruit, wheat germ, and coffee. President Nixon also enjoyed yogurt, which was flown in from California every day. 
       
    • The famous meeting between President Nixon and Elvis Presley took place on December 21, 1970. There are no White House tape conversations during this meeting because the White House taping system was not installed until February 1971. 
       
    • Presidential candidate Nixon appeared on the show "Laugh-In" on September 16, 1968, where he said "Sock it to...me?"

Basic Bibliography

There are hundreds of books and articles written about Richard Nixon and his times. Below is a list of commonly referenced printed materials. There is also a more extensive bibliography available as well as a timeline of 20th century social, cultural, and political events.

    • Ambrose, Stephen E. Nixon: The Education of a Politician, 1913-1962. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
       
    • Ambrose, Stephen E. Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.
       
    • Ambrose, Stephen E. Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.
       
    • Haldeman, H. R. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House. New York: G.P. Putnam's, 1994.
       
    • Nixon, Richard M. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1978.

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