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Richard nixon's resignation speech

The meaning of «richard nixon's resignation speech»

President Richard Nixon made an address to the American public from the Oval Office on August 8, 1974, to announce his resignation from the presidency due to the Watergate scandal.

Nixon's resignation was the culmination of what he referred to in his speech as the "long and difficult period of Watergate", a 1970s federal political scandal stemming from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building by five men during the 1972 presidential election and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Nixon ultimately lost much of his popular and political support as a result of Watergate. At the time of his resignation the next day, Nixon faced almost certain impeachment and removal from office.[1]

According to his address, Nixon said he was resigning because "I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the nation would require". Nixon also stated his hope that, by resigning, "I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America." Nixon acknowledged that some of his judgments "were wrong," and he expressed contrition, saying: "I deeply regret any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision." He made no mention, however, of the articles of impeachment pending against him.[2]

The following morning, August 9, Nixon submitted a signed letter of resignation to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, becoming the only U.S. president to resign from office. Vice President Gerald Ford succeeded to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation.[3]

With the release on August 5, 1974 of several taped Oval Office conversations, one of which was the "smoking gun" tape, recorded soon after the break-in, and which demonstrated that Richard Nixon had been told of the White House connection to the Watergate burglaries soon after they took place, and had approved plans to thwart the investigation, Nixon's popular support all but evaporated,[4] and his political support collapsed.

Nixon met with Republican congressional leaders two days later, and was told he faced certain impeachment in the House and removal from office in the Senate. That night, knowing his presidency was effectively over, Nixon finalized his decision to resign.[5][6]

The president's speechwriter Raymond K. Price wrote the resignation speech.[5] It was delivered on the evening of August 8, 1974 from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television.[6]

Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Nixon's speech "chose to look ahead," rather than focus on his term.[7] This attribute of the speech coincides with John Poulakos's definition of sophistical rhetoric in Towards a Sophistic Definition of Rhetoric, because Nixon met the criterion of "[seeking] to capture what was possible"[8] instead of reflecting on his term.

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