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The Presidency of Richard Nixon, 1969-74

4. The Presidency, 1969-70

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In this module, we think about the first two years of Nixon’s presidency, from the beginning of 1969 to the end of 1970, focusing in particular: (i) the extent to which Nixon was open and experimental with his policies in this period, and his key priorities for his first two years in power – government spending, inflation, civil rights, etc.; (ii) the extent to which Nixon’s advisors represented a broad section of the political spectrum, from liberals such as Leonard Garment to conservative such as Pat Buchanan and Charles (‘Chuck’) Colson; (iii) the extent to which the idealism of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations in terms of civil rights gave way to a more pragmatic approach to the issue under Nixon; (iv) Nixon’s implementation of affirmative action legislation, notably in the 1969 Philadelphia Plan, but later in other cities and institutions; (v) Nixon’s approach to the Vietnam War, and his appointment of Henry Kissinger to help him decide how to extricate the United States from Vietnam; and (vi) the extent to which Nixon lurches to the right from 1971 onwards, and the reasons for this shift.


In this course, Dr Kevin Yuill (University of Sunderland) explores the presidency of Richard Nixon, 1969-74. In the first module, we think about the incident for which Nixon is best known and which dominated his final year in office – the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation on 9 August 1974. After that, in the second module, we go back to the beginning of the story and trace Nixon’s rise to power between from his childhood in Yorba Linda, California to his losses in the 1960 presidential election and 1962 California gubernatorial election. in the third module, we continue the story up to Nixon’s victory in the 1968 presidential election, before turning in the fourth and fifth modules to Nixon’s time in the White House.


Dr Kevin Yuill is Associate Professor of American History at the University of Sunderland. His primary interests are in the intellectual history of the United States, particularly race and equality in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, attitudes to suicide and death, and attitudes to the possession of firearms. His recent publications include (as co-author) The Second Amendment and Gun Control: Freedom, Fear, and the American Constitution (2017) and Assisted Suicide: the Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization (2013).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Yuill, K. (2021, February 04). The Presidency of Richard Nixon, 1969-74 - The Presidency, 1969-70 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Yuill, K. "The Presidency of Richard Nixon, 1969-74 – The Presidency, 1969-70." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Feb 2021,