The Nixon Puzzles
- In just six years, from 1946 to 1952, he went from a not-very-successful small-town lawyer to vice president.
- Hoff (p. 3) says he was "aprincipled" -- meaning?
- Schoen (pp. 12-15) -- a moderate polarizer?
- His relationship with JFK was "mysterious and inexplicable," said Haldeman (quoted in Matthews, p. 20)
What starts the process, really are laughs and slights and snubs when you are a kid.Sometimes it's because you're poor or Irish or Jewish or Catholic or ugly or simply that you are skinny.
But if you are reasonably intelligent and if your anger is deep enough and strong enough, you learn that you can change those attitudes by excellence, personal gut performance while those who have everything are sitting on their fat butts.
You were a good athlete. But I was not and that was the very reason that I tried and tried and tried. To get the discipline for myself and to show the others that here was a guy who could dish it out and take it. Mostly, I took it.
"But once you learn that you've got to work harder than everybody else it becomes a way of life as you move out of the alley and on your way. In your own mind you have nothing to lose so you take plenty of chances and if you do your homework many of them pay off. It is then you understand, for the first time, that you have the advantage because your competitors can't risk what they have already.
- Born January 9, 1913, in Yorba Linda in a house that his father built from a kit.
- Parents: Hannah (Milhous) Nixon and Francis A. "Frank" Nixon. His mother was a Quaker, and his father converted from Methodism to the Quaker faith. See a senior thesis about RN's religion. Western Quakers were different from Eastern Quakers, closer to mainstream Protestants.
- Four brothers: Harold (1909–1933), Donald (1914–1987), Arthur (1918–1925), and Edward (1930–2019). Four of the five Nixon boys were named after kings.Richard was named after Richard the Lionheart.
- He later quoted a saying of Eisenhower: "We were poor, but the glory of it was we didn't know it"
- The Nixon family lemon ranch failed in 1922, and the family moved to Whittier, then a Quaker town.
- Frank Nixon opened a grocery store and gas station.
- Richard's younger brother Arthur died in 1925 at the age of seven from tubercular meningitis. Harold died in 1933 of tuberculosis. His father got milk from his own cow and did not believe in pasteurization. “He refused to pay any attention to the doctor's warning that the cow ought to be tested for tuberculosis,” he remembered. “Our family paid a heavy price."
- Compare with today: The death rate for boys in that age group in that year was 2.2 per 1000. Today it's 0.29. In 1933, the TB death rate was 59.6 per 100k. Today it's 0.5.
- Hannah stayed with Harold in an Arizona sanitarium and worked there to help pay.
- Nixon went to Fullerton Union High, living with an aunt during sophomore year. He had greater success as a debater.
- At the start of his junior year in September 1928, transferred to Whittier High School. He lost his bid for student body president. He often rose at 4 a.m., to drive the family truck into Los Angeles and purchase vegetables at the market.
- Nixon was offered a tuition grant to attend Harvard, but Harold's illness his mother's absence meant Richard was needed at the store. He attended Whittier College.
- Nixon played football, mostly as a tackling dummy.
- Nixon did drama and debate.
- Nixon was snubbed by the only fraternity, the Franklins; many of the Franklins were from prominent families, but Nixon was not. He responded by helping to found a new society, the Orthogonian Society.
- After graduating summa cum laude with a BA degree in history in 1934, Nixon received a full scholarship to attend Duke Law. he graduated third in his class in June 1937.
Overview and Politics
- By the standards of the time, Nixon was not deprived. He had a BA and a law degree when less than five percent of people over 25 had graduated from college and when three-fourths had not even finished high school.
- California and Progressivism
“You asked me if Teddy Roosevelt is my hero. Not in the sense that Wilson is. I think he was our greatest President of this century. You'll notice, too, that he was the best-educated."Nixon recommended Wilson's essay "Leaders of Men."
The competent leader of men cares little for the interior niceties of other people’s characters: he cares much-everything for the external uses to which they may be put. His will seeks the lines of least resistance; but the whole question with him is a question of the application of force. There are men to be moved: how shall he move them? He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates. The power will fail if it be misapplied; it will be misapplied if it be not suitable both in kind and method to the nature of the materials upon which it is spent; but that nature is, after all, only its means. It is the power which dictates, dominates: the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader.