Nixon family portrait. By White House – Wikimedia

Top 8 Facts about Richard Nixon


Richard Nixon was and still is a well-known American politician. He was mostly known for being controversial especially in his leadership choices.

He entered the political scene after World War II. His first political role was that of a House representative and the senate for the state of California.

Nixon is the only American president who was born in California. He was born on 9 January 1913 to Francis Anthony and Hanna Milhous Nixon in Yorba Linda, California. His mother raised him as a Quacker. He had four other siblings.

His parents, Frank Nixon owned a service station and a grocer, while his mother was a devout Quaker. 

Nixon’s political career ended in 1974 after he was involved in the Watergate Scandal. This made him the only American president to resign from office. 

Here are more facts about president Richard Nixon. 

1. Nixon’s Government was the First to Trade with China

Richard Nixon (right) meets Mao Zedong, February 1972. Photo by White House – Wikimedia

Nixon was the first American President to trade with China. President Nixon visited China in 1972 for a strategic and diplomatic meeting.

The meeting resulted in the resumption of good working relations with China after years of isolation.

This was important for America since his country was seeking to improve relations with China during the Cold War. The United States had recognized Taiwan as the real government of mainland China.

He also negotiated the slow ending of the Vietnamese war. This was done through the Vietnamization Policy that ended America’s involvement in the war. The number o American troops in Vietnam was significantly reduced.

2. He Loved Sports and even had a bowling alley in the White House

President Nixon commissioned the construction of a bowling alley in the White House basement. His highest score was 232 and his old bowling scores from 1969, were recently discovered.

While they were at Camp David, President Nixon won six games against his friend Charles Gregory. He had photos of himself bowling framed.

The other sport that the president loved was poker. He played poker while he was in the Navy. Nixon won between $6,000 and $ 7,000 playing poker. He used this money to fund his political career.

3. Nixon was in the US Navy During World War II

By Naval History and Heritage Command – Wikimedia

Richard Nixon joined the U.S. Navy aged 29. He went to public schools in California, later on, joined Whittier College. Nixon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934.

He then went to Duke University and graduated with a Law Degree in 1937. After graduation, he went back to Whittier to practice law. 

In January 1942, he became an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management in Washington, D.C. A few months later, he accepted an appointment as a lieutenant junior in the United States Naval Reserve.

He worked as a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. Although he did not go to combat, he rose through the ranks.

4. Nixon Played more than one Musical Instrument

Other than instilling the values of Quackers in him, his mother taught him other skills. She insisted that he practice the piano every afternoon.

When he was in the 7th grade, Nixon was sent to his aunt in Indianapolis to study music.

He learned how to play different musical instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, accordion and violin. He however did not learn how to write music.

Nixon used his musical talent as a political asset. He played a tune he wrote during the Jack Paar Program. This helped him win back the people after losing his gubernatorial seat for California. 

5. He Lost His Presidential Bid Twice

Photo By Department of Defense – Wikimedia

In 1960 Nixon lost his presidential campaign to John F. Kennedy and in 1962 lost his gubernatorial bid in California. Many political analysts predicted that this to be the end of Nixon’s political career.

Six years later, he proved them wrong by winning a hard-fought campaign in 1968. He appeared in several shows such as the Laugh-in to win the hearts of voters.

6. His Dog Checkers Had Something to do with his Presidential Win

By 1946 Richard Nixon congressional campaign – Wikimedia

Americans love pets. One of the favourite pets of many is a dog, man’s best friend. During his campaign trail, Nixon mentioned that his 6-year-old daughter had been gifted a cocker spaniel by a campaign supporter.

He won the hearts of many and he was voted president. His speech was labelled as the Checkers Speech, the dog’s name was Checkers.

Political analysts said that it was not the dog that got him to White House but that during the radio interview, he had explained his campaign funds as well as his personal finances.

7. His Dream to Join the FBI did not Happen

Nixon wanted to join the Federal Bureau of Investigations after graduating from Law school. He applied to join the Bureau in 1937 at the age of 24. He even received a scholarship to Harvard but declined to help his family on the farm.

He was called for an in-person interview and later a physical but was never sent an acceptance letter. Later when he became vice president, he enquired about it.

Nixon was informed that budget cuts led to reducing the number of new agents.

8. Nixon was Raised as a Quacker

Nixon’s birthplace in Yorba Linda, California.
Photo by Konrad Summers from Santa Clarita – Wikimedia

Nixon’s father, Frank, married Hannah Milhous who was a Quaker. He joined a Quaker congregation and they raised their children as Quakers. His mother instilled the religion’s values in him.

He would go to Quaker’s meetings four times on Sundays as well as playing the piano during the church service.

When he was impeached for his role in the Watergate scandal, the Quaker society wanted to cut any association with him. They asked that he be removed from office months before he resigned.