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The Presidents Connect today's election issues with the past

Richard M. Nixon
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Richard M. Nixon
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More about the film Nixon

Richard Nixon was one of the most important American presidents of the second half of the twentieth century -- and also the most controversial.

Interest in him seems only to increase with time. Nixon books abound. He himself wrote ten, largely about himself. He has been described and dissected by historians, political scientists, political biographers, psychobiographers, and by other politicians. There's been a Nixon opera and a Hollywood film, with Anthony Hopkins in the title role.

American Experience produced the first full-scale documentary biography, a three hour film drawn from archival footage and interviews with the real people. This is the actual story of the president who rose to power as a strident anti-communist and who, once in office, reached out to the two great communist powers of the world, the Soviet Union and China.

He was puzzling, contradictory, very difficult to know, heartily disliked, and acclaimed by the American people in two elections. He was also the first and only president to resign from office. His tragic unmaking, of course was Watergate. But why? How could it have happened to someone so politically astute and by reputation, so keenly intelligent?

Film Credits
Credits for the American Experience documentary program Nixon.

Program Transcript
Nixon transcript.

Read and listen to what historians have to say about Nixon.

Further Reading
A list of related books, articles, and Web sites.


Major funding provided by the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

NEH Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web site do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.