Today, Richard Milhouse Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, will have been 100 years old. Depending on who you talk to, he was either a great president or one of our worst; but either way you slice it, the man was iconic. He worked hard to get where he was and ultimately some of that hard work turned against him, leaving him no choice but to resign from the highest office in American political history.
Today we come here not to bury this man’s reputation, nor praise his deeds in excess. Today we celebrate the birthday of a great man. He may have had his share of flaws, but he also had his share of fortitude as well. Ultimately, he was a man, and as such we would expect at least equal measure of the two. So here now are ten iconic photographs chronicling the life and times of Richard Nixon.
1. Nixon’s Youth
January 9, 1913 – Richard Nixon is born in Yorba Linda, California to Francis and Hannah Nixon, a pair of Quakers, in a house that his father had built. The second of five children, all boys, Nixon was born into a faith that prohibited “alcohol, dancing, and swearing”. Reflecting back on his childhood, Nixon once said, “We were poor, but the glory of it was, we didn’t know it.” One could say that from the beginning of his life he learned to live with both compromise and hardship, which made him all the better of a person, and at the same time set him up for his own undoing.
The photo above is from his days of Junior Varsity Football at Fullerton Union High School. Football and Debating were his two passions growing up, but ultimately he’d have to give up the former in order to help care for his family’s business. His father’s declining health due to Tuberculosis made the second eldest Nixon son step up and help out, even turning down a spot at Harvard University in order to stay local.
This article was first posted on January 9, 2013