From birthplace to final resting place, Richard Nixon’s life and legacy is a timeline of key events and influential accomplishments.

January 9, 1913

Born in Yorba Linda, California to Frank and Hannah Milhous Nixon, he was  the second born of five brothers.


Frank Nixon sold the family home and lemon grove in Yorba Linda, and moved the family to nearby Whittier.


Richard Nixon finished 3rd in his high school class and won numerous awards, including the Harvard Club California award for outstanding all-around student, which earned him a scholarship to Harvard University. Due to the family’s limited finances, Nixon forgoes the scholarship and instead attended Whittier College


At Whittier College Nixon was elected student body president, became the founder and elected president of the Orthogonians fraternity, joined the debate team, acted in several plays, and was on the football team.


Attended Duke University Law School on a scholarship and was a member of the law review. After graduation, he returned to Whittier where he took the California bar and was hired by Wingert and Bewley, the city’s oldest law firm.


Met his future wife, Pat Ryan, at a Whittier Community Players tryout for the play, Dark Tower.

June 21, 1940

Married Pat Ryan at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.


Began work as an attorney at the Office for Price Administration (OPA) in Washington D.C. where he witnessed first-hand the problems of government bureaucracy. The experience greatly influenced the policies Nixon would later develop during his political career.

August 1942

Nixon was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

January 1944-July 1944

Nixon received a battle-station assignment for the South Pacific, first at Bougainville and then at Green Island. While in Bougainville, he opened a “Nick’s Hamburger Stand” for flight crews on their way to battle missions. He also developed a skill for poker, which quickly became a great diversion while on active duty.

September 1945

Nixon was urged by Republican leaders in Whittier to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

January 1946

Nixon was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy with the rank of lieutenant commander.

February 21, 1946

Richard and Pat Nixon welcomed their first daughter, Tricia.

November 1946

Nixon defeated 5-term veteran Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhis and was elected to represent California’s 12th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Appointed by the Speaker of the House to a special committee, led by Representative Christian Herter of Massachusetts, Nixon was tasked with traveling throughout Europe and preparing a report on the Marshall Plan.

July 5, 1948

Richard and Pat Nixon welcomed their second daughter, Julie.


Nixon worked as lead committee member in the investigation of accused Soviet spy Alger Hiss, which ultimately uncovered Hiss’s role in the Communist Party and conviction on charge of perjury.


Nixon was elected to the U.S. Senate seat, defeating Democratic Congresswoman and one-time Hollywood starlet Helen Gahagan Douglas.

July 11, 1952

The Republican National Convention ratified by acclamation Dwight Eisenhower’s choice of Richard Nixon as his Vice Presidential running mate.

September 23, 1952

Nixon gave his famous televised Checkers’ Speech, refuting false charges of fiscal impropriety, retaining his position as Vice President candidate to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and gaining nationwide support.

November 4, 1952

General Eisenhower was elected President of the United States, Senator Nixon was elected as his Vice President.

Spring 1953

At the request of President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon—along with Pat Nixon—made a two-month trip over 30 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East.

September 1955

President Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack. In his absence, Vice President Nixon presided over regular Cabinet and National Security Council meetings.

Spring 1958

President and Mrs. Nixon made a trip to South America, visiting Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, the two narrowly escaped death after a violent communist mob attacks this motorcade.

July 24, 1959

Nixon went head-to-head with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev on the merits of freedom versus communism at the American Exhibition in Moscow in what became famously known as the “Kitchen Debate.”


Nixon ran for President against Senator John F. Kennedy, participated in the first televised debates, and lost by the smallest popular-vote margin in American history.


Nixon wrote his first book, “Six Crises,” he ran for governor of California against the incumbent Pat Brown and lost and his critics wrote his political obituary.


During his years as a private citizen, Vice President Nixon traveled across the globe and met world leaders, and campaigned tirelessly across the country for Republican candidates in the 1964 and 1966 elections.

August 8, 1968

Nixon was nominated as the Republican candidate for President and pledged to bring the nation together.

November 5, 1968

Nixon was elected President of the United States, beating Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace in the general election.

January 20, 1969

Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States, declaring in his inaugural address,”The greatest honor that history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

February 1969

Nixon made his first foreign trip as President to Europe, visiting France, Great Britain, Belgium, and the Vatican.

July 20, 1969

Nixon made the longest long distance phone call in history, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took mankind’s first steps on the moon.

July 25, 1969

Nixon announced his new foreign policy doctrine in Guam that called for the United States to act within its national interest and keep all existing treaty commitments with its allies.

August 8, 1969

Nixon gave his first major address on domestic policy announcing plans for welfare reform and returning greater authority to state and local governments.

November 3, 1969

Nixon received overwhelming support from the “silent majority” following a televised address announcing his plan to honorably end the Vietnam War.

January 1, 1970

Nixon signed the National Environmental Policy Act, and launched several environmental initiatives including the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Mammal Marine Protection Act, and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

April 30, 1970

In a nationally televised address, President Nixon announced military incursion into Cambodia, where communist sanctuaries were aiding the North Vietnamese and Vietcong.

Fall 1970

Nixon peacefully and effectively ended school segregation, leading Daniel Patrick Moynihan to say: “There has been more change in the structure of American public school education in the past month than in the past 100 years.”

June 12, 1971

Nixon’s daughter Tricia married Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden at the White House.

July 15, 1971

Nixon announced that he had been invited to China, ending a quarter of a century of hostility in Sino-American relations.

October 12, 1971

A joint announcement was issued in Washington and Moscow confirming that President Nixon would visit the Soviet Union three months after returning from China.

February 21-28, 1972

Nixon made a historic trip to China, meeting with Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and Premier Chou En-Lai, and agreeing on a roadmap to peaceful relations through the Shanghai Communique—”It was the week that changed the world.”

May 21-27, 1972

Nixon journeyed to the Soviet Union and signed the historic agreement on the limitation of strategic arms with Premier Leonid Brezhnev.

November 7, 1972

Nixon was re-elected with largest mandate in American history, winning 49 out 50 states, and nearly 61 percent of the popular vote.

January 27, 1973

Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev visited the United States for the Summitt II talks. A Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement is signed.

February 1973

The POWs return home from Vietnam.

May 24, 1973

The President and Mrs. Nixon host the largest dinner ever held at the White House for all the POWs.

June 22, 1973

Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev visited the United States for the Summitt II talks. A Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement is signed.

October 1973

Nixon provided massive American military aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, ensuring its survival.

Early 1974

Nixon initiated the Middle East Peace process through “Shuttle Diplomacy”.

June 1974

Nixon re-engaged the Middle East as the first president to visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

June 1974

Nixon returned to Moscow for Summit III.

August 8, 1974

Nixon announced his decision to resign as President of the United States.

August 9, 1974

Nixon bid farewell to White House staff and returned to his San Clemente home.


Advised five U.S. Presidents

Summer 1977

With over 45 million people watching, the Nixon-Frost interview became the most-ever watched political interviews in history.


Nixon released his memoirs RN, which sold more than 300,000 copies, becoming the best selling Presidential memoir ever.


finishes his third book The Real War, which greatly influenced President Reagan’s foreign policy.

October 1981

The Nixon’s moved to Saddle River, New Jersey.


Nixon finished his fourth book, Leaders.


Nixon finished his fifth book, Real Peace.


Nixon finishes his sixth book, No More Vietnams.


Nixon finished his seventh book, 1999: Victory Without War.

July 19, 1990

Attended dedication of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace with four Presidents and their First Ladies, and 50,000 friends and supporters.


Nixon finishes his eighth book, In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal.

Summer 1990

The Nixons move to Park Ridge, New Jersey.


Nixon finished his ninth book, Seize the Moment: America’s Challenge In A One-Superpower World.

June 22, 1993

First Lady Pat Nixon died at home in Park Ridge, New Jersey, at the age of 81 and was laid to rest four days later at the Nixon Library.

January 1994

On the 25th Anniversary of his first inauguration as President Nixon opened the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, a Washington foreign policy think tank based on pragmatic and principled realism.


Nixon finishes his tenth and final book, Beyond Peace, which is published posthumously.

April 22, 1994

President Nixon died at 81 in New York City.

April 27, 1994

Nixon was laid to rest at his birthplace and boyhood home in Yorba Linda, next to First Lady Pat Nixon. Bush, Reagan, Carter, and Ford attended the funeral, as did then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole. Rev. Billy Graham officiated the ceremonies which tens of millions observed on television. In his eulogy, Senate Dole said that the 20th Century would be known as, “The Age of Nixon.”


Media Contact:
Joe Lopez, 714-364-1147 or [email protected]

The Richard Nixon Foundation is a not-for-profit organization at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library dedicated to education, and illuminating the life and legacy of America’s 37th President. For more information visit the Foundation online at