Newly released and unedited video shows Richard Nixon speaking candidly about his resignation.
Forty years ago this week, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency. The Nixon Library is releasing footage of the 37th President chronicling his final days in the White House, recorded in 1983.
The in depth and inside story begins with President Nixon recalling July 23, 1974, the day he learned that three pivotal members of the House Judiciary Committee were going to vote for his impeachment.
"I knew that we could not survive," Nixon says. "However, when I got back to Washington, in my usual methodical way—people think it’s methodical and I guess it is—I decided I should put down the pros and cons of what options I had."
Then came the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the President had to turn over 64 White House tape recordings sought by the Watergate Special Prosecutor.
Among them was tape from June 23, 1972, the so-called “smoking gun.”
Referring to the impact of that tape, Nixon said,
"This was the final blow, the final nail in the coffin."
This lunch was the last meal that Richard Nixon ate as President at the White House. Photographer Oliver Atkins made a point of documenting the preparation of the lunch.
Later that day—August 8, 1974—President Nixon announced he would resign following damaging revelations in the Watergate scandal.
You can learn more about President Nixon and his domestic policies in this Prologue magazine article: http://go.usa.gov/jUKG
Image from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
Shortest tenure on record
Colonel P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command of West Point and superintendency of the United States Military Academy on January 23, 1861. He resigned on January 28, 1861, after his native Louisiana seceded. Two days later, Colonel Richard Delafield, Beauregard’s predecessor and successor, sent this letter to Brigadier General Joseph G. Totten, about Beauregard’s resignation.
Letter from Colonel Richard Delafield Regarding His Assumption of Command of the United States Military Academy at West Point After the Resignation of Colonel P. G. T. Beauregard, 01/30/1861
Richard M. Nixon’s Resignation Letter, 08/09/1974
Following the revelations stemming from the investigation of the Watergate break-in, President Richard M. Nixon resigned the Presidency in this letter dated August 9, 1974. The President’s resignation letter is addressed to the Secretary of State, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 1792. The letter became effective when Secretary of State Henry Kissinger initialed it at 11:35 a.m.