41 years ago today, President Richard Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal. On the anniversary two years ago I ran this article, highlighting Nixon’s remarks upon his departure–which I think contain some sage wisdom for our own era of political polarization. Nixon did a lot of wrong, but he also had some good and wise qualities, which we should not forget despite the disgrace of how he left office.


nixon resignation

Today is a historical anniversary that, while I’m sure won’t go un-noticed, may well go unappreciated. Thirty-nine years ago today, on August 9, 1974, Richard M. Nixon resigned as President of the United States, the only president (thus far) to do so. Gerald Ford took over as the nation’s 37th President that afternoon. This was a pivotal event in U.S. political and social history. Nothing was ever quite the same, but perhaps for reasons that are under-appreciated or outright misunderstood.

Nixon, of course, resigned because of the Watergate scandal. In 1972, as he was running for re-election, a group of political spies paid by the White House broke into some Democratic Party offices to snoop around, and they got caught. This wasn’t really what got Nixon into trouble. What happened was, three days later, he told an aide, Bob Haldeman, to call the FBI and tell them to stop investigating…

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