Nov. 6, 1972: President Nixon on television on the eve of the presidential election. Unable to photograph Nixon in person, the enterprising Times photographer shot TV screens instead. Photo: Tyrone Dukes/The New York Times
On August 9, 1974, facing impeachment for his role in the Watergate affair, President Nixon resigned from office, and Gerald R. Ford succeeded him as President. A month later, on September 8, Ford stunned the nation by announcing that he was granting Nixon “a full, free, and absolute pardon” for all crimes committed during Nixon’s time in office. The decision to pardon Nixon was one of the most controversial decisions ever made by a President.
A few days afterwards, a one-line letter arrived for Ford. “Dear President Ford,” it said, “I think you are half Right and half wrong.”
The writer, one Anthony Ferreira, did not state his age, but his brevity, handwriting, and use of wide-ruled paper suggest that he was quite young. While his figures weren’t precise—fifty-nine percent of the population actually opposed Ford’s decision—this child managed to encapsulate, in a single sentence, the country’s deep division over the pardon. (National Archives)
The Dog Stays - On September 23, 1952, Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon went on live television to respond to accusations that he had misused campaign funds. Nixon appealed to the nation with an independent financial audit and full disclosure that his family had accepted one campaign gift for themselves: a beloved black-and-white cocker spaniel named Checkers whom they intended to keep.
How successful was the “Checkers Speech”? Well, two months later the Eisenhower/Nixon ticket won the election, and Checkers went on to enjoy twelve more years and many games of fetch with the Nixon Family.
During the early hours of June 17, 1972, Frank Wills was the security guard on duty at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. This log shows that at 1:47 a.m. he called the police, who arrested five burglars inside the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. Investigation into the break-in exposed a trail of abuses that led to the highest levels of the Nixon administration and ultimately to the President himself. President Nixon resigned from office under threat of impeachment on August 9, 1974.