August 22, 2014 By Jonathan Movroydis
Sammy Davis, Jr. was master of ceremonies for the entertainment portion of the Young Voters Rally at the Miami Marine Stadium. (Photo: UPI)
42 years ago today, without referring to notes, President Nixon spoke to a crowd of young voters at a rally in Miami, Florida on the second day of the Republican National Convention. To chants of “Four More Years,” RN assured the rally goers that he was going to continue unrelentingly to work for their futures.
“I have been trying to work for your future. We have had some disappointments, but we have had some successes, and I am going to talk about both tomorrow as I make the acceptance speech,” voiced RN.
“But should the opportunity come to serve 4 more years, I am not going to be resting on what we have done in the past. I am going to be thinking of these wonderful young faces I see out here, your enthusiasm, your idealism, your hard work.”
Watch the entertainment from that night and President Nixon’s remarks below:
Perhaps the highlight of the 1972 Republican convention, President Nixon addressed criticism of Sammy Davis Jr., who was master of ceremonies for the entertainment portion of the rally, for being a sell-out because of his support of Richard Nixon and for having been invited to the White House. RN’s response received thunderous applause from the young crowd of over 6,500:
Well, just let me give you the answer. You aren’t going to buy Sammy Davis, Jr., by inviting him to the White House. You are going to buy him by doing something for America, and that is what we are doing.
In his memoirs, RN reflects on the memorable moment:
I flew to Miami on Tuesday afternoon, August 22. That night I made an unscheduled appearance at the open-air youth rally, and the reception I received overwhelmed me. Pam Powell, the daughter of Dick Powell and June Allyson, escorted me onto the stage. Hands above their heads, four fingers outstretched, the thousands of young people took up a chant that I was hearing for the first time: “Four more years! Four more years! It was deafening. It was music. This was a new king of Republican youth: they weren’t square, but they weren’t ashamed of being positive and proud.
The picture that is probably most remembered from the 1972 convention is of Sammy Davis Jr., impulsively hugging me on the stage at the youth rally. When the crowd finally quieted down, I described my first meeting with him at the White House reception a few weeks earlier. We had both talked about our backgrounds and about how we both came from rather poor families. “I know Sammy is a member of the other party,’ I said. “I didn’t know when I talked to him what he would be doing in this election campaign. But I do know this. I want to make this pledge to Sammy, I want to make it to everybody here, whether you happen to be black or white, or young or old, and all of those who are listening. I believe in the American dream. Sammy Davis believed in it. We believe in it because we have seen it come true in our own lives.” For me – and, I think for many others – the youth rally was the highlight of the convention.
August 20, 2014 By Jonathan Movroydis
President Nixon sits down with President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico to discuss matters of mutual interest between the neighboring nations.
On this day 44 years ago, President Nixon traveled to Puerto Vallartas to begin his first official state visit to Mexico. A year removed from their meeting at Lake Amistad, the two leaders were eager to resume the personal acquaintanceship fostered then.
RN and Ordaz one year ago at Lake Amistad.
President Nixon was treated to a very warm welcome in Mexico one year later, on August 20, 1970.
Many items of bilateral concern lay waiting to be conferred upon, as the geographical bond of the two nations undoubtedly linked the two in economic and political marriage. The United States and Mexico suffered from problems of smuggling across the border–drugs into the United States and merchandise into Mexico. Thus, upon taking office, President Nixon prioritized the need to enhance U.S. and Mexican customs cooperation. Additionally, boundary differences along the Rio Grande and the Colorado River remained to be solved. The United States and Mexico had yet to agree, in the 20th century, on the location of the international boundary from sea to sea. To make matters slightly more controversial, the Mexicans were unhappy with U.S. water deliveries from the Colorado River, objecting to their degree of salinity. Lastly, the Ordaz administration was concerned with access to U.S. markets for Mexican products, sensing a growing protectionist demeanor in the United States.
Since their last meeting, progress had been made on the substantive issues. But healthy relations called for more progress. For President Nixon, the purpose of this visit was to:
-establish a plan for a comprehensive settlement of all present and future boundary issues between the United States and Mexico;
-indicate his interest in continuing the tradition of close personal relations between the governments of the two nations;
-show President Ordaz respect as a statesman by reviewing foreign policy issues of the day; and
-express satisfaction and continued cooperation in making progress towards resolving substantive issues.
Below, view a memorandum prepared by President Nixon’s National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, highlighting suggested talking points and principle issues to address during RN’s visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The fruitful discussions between President Nixon and President Ordaz on August 20, 1970 produced an announcement of a final boundary agreement. The U.S.-Mexico Joint Communique, establishing an undisputed boundary, can be viewed below. The Joint Communique also stated that the two Presidents discussed the salinity of the Colorado and the two countries’ continued cooperation in suppressing illicit drug trafficking between the borders.
August 18, 2014 By Jonathan Movroydis
President Nixon gives remarks to representatives of Springfield, Illinois before signing a bill establishing the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
President Nixon in the Old State Capitol Building of Springfield, Illinois signing H.R. 9798, a bill establishing the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
On this day 43 years ago, President Nixon signed a bill dedicating the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois, as a National historic site. In 1887, the old Lincoln home, sitting on 8th and Jackson Streets, was donated to the State of Illinois by Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s son. The state held the responsibility of maintaining and keeping the residence open to the public. In 1960, the home was designated a National Historic Landmark and was automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places in October of 1966. Finally, on August 18, 1971, the home was turned over to the National Parks Service by Congressional mandate and authorized by President Nixon.
A portrait of President Nixon in the Oval Office. A bust of President Lincoln sets the background.
It was a special occasion for the President–he had admired Abraham Lincoln his entire life. At a very early age, RN cultivated a budding interest in the 16th president, writing a short biographical piece on him as a 6th grader.
His biography is transcribed below:
On Feb. 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born. When a young boy his father moved to Indiana. Lincoln did not have much education and what he did have he got from his mother. When he was nine years old his mother died. Lincoln was very sad. He afterwards said, “all that I have and all that I know I owe to my angel mother.”
His father again married, this time a wealthy widow. She gave him more education and he began to read. John Hanks, his stepmother said that when he got home from work, he would grab a piece of corn bread, get a book, sit down by the fire and begin to read.
When Lincoln was getting to be a young man a friend of his asked him to go down the river with him. Lincoln gladly consented and on the way he saw a slave auction. he said, “if I ever get a chance to hit that thing I’ll hit it hard.”
Soon after Lincoln went in partnership with another man, keeping a store. One day he walked six mile to pay a woman back three cents and earned the name of “Honest Abe.” One day he bought a barrel that contained some law books. He was interested in law and one day when he was defending a man, his opponent said that he saw the man commit the murder by the moon light. Lincoln said that the moon was not shining that night.
Lincoln was opposed to the Kansas, Nebraska bill and started to debate with Douglas, the founder. He rose so high in popularity in this debate that he was elected president of the United States.
Just about as soon as he was elected, the south left the Union and the Civil War started. Lincoln had four children but all die except one, Tad. Tad would write funny letters to his father. About the time that the Battle of Gettysburg was over, Lincoln made his great speech. He did not think that it was good but he learned that it was so fine that the people could not clap for it.
After the war the Lincolns went to the theater with the Grants. He was shot by Boothe and he soon died. The martyred patriot, president of our country.
As a representative and later guardian of the party birthed at the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, RN often referenced the words and philosophies of the great President. As a precursor to the 1966 campaign season, RN urged his Republican peers to be Lincoln Republicans in hopes of spurring a renewed image of a battered party.
RN found himself at the helm of a country divided and crises ridden–a state of which had not seen since the Civil War. It would come as no surprise then, that when RN gripped the helm of a fledgling ship and tried to steer his country to peace and prosperity, he looked to the posthumous council of President Lincoln. In a letter to Congressman Robert McClory of Illinois written on February 12, 1972–Lincoln’s 163rd birthday–RN aptly personified the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, a spirit that runs deep in the lore of American perseverance.
His forthright and honest words sank deep into the understanding of every listener, and what he said of Henry Clay, a man he deeply admired, could well be applied to Lincoln himself:
He loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country; and he burned with a zeal for its advancement, prosperity and glory, because he saw in such, the advancement, prosperity and glory of human liberty, human right and human nature. He desired the prosperity of his countrymen partly because they were his countrymen, but chiefly to show to the world that freemen could be prosperous.
Lincoln meant more to RN than simply a man to be admired for his accomplishments. He represented the most ideal qualities of a United States President–strong, competitive, with an unwavering faith in the potential of a young and free nation. He was a man to be revered for his ability to see beyond the perils of war and weakness to the periods of peace ahead. RN alluded to Lincoln’s merits in his address to the distinguished guests of the bill signing:
What we must also remember is that Lincoln, while he was very kind and very compassionate, was a very strong man. He was a very competitive man. He argued almost 200 cases in the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, and he always argued to win. He lost elections, and came back to win for the Presidency of the United States. He never gave up.
In his contests with the various generals, Lincoln, while he was always kind in handling them, could not accept or resign himself to temerity or timidity. After the great victory at Gettysburg, General Meade was dismissed, not because he had lost–because he had not-but because he did not follow up. Lincoln wanted to follow up and end the war. So we see this man, kind and compassionate and considerate on the one hand, but strong and competitive on the other.
Lincoln also had a very profound sense of destiny about the United States of America–what it was, what it meant to its own people, and what it meant to the world. We all remember what he said: that the United States of America was man’s last, best hope on earth. But listen to when he said it. America then was far from being the strongest nation in the world; it was far from being the richest nation in the world; and it was sorely stricken and divided by a civil war, the most brutal war, perhaps, of the 19th century in terms of the casualties that were suffered.
Yet Lincoln, this man who could see beyond war and beyond strife and beyond weakness to the periods ahead, stood tall and said America is man’s last, best hope on earth.
August 15, 2014 By Jonathan Movroydis
The Challenge of a Peacetime Economy
“The time has come for a new economic policy,” insisted President Nixon in an address to the nation on August 15 1971. “It targets unemployment, inflation, and international speculation. And this is how we are going to attack those targets.”
President Nixon prepares for his address to the nation on a new economic policy from the Oval Office in the White House.
From 1944 through 1971, the United State’s currency was managed through a fully negotiated monetary order among the industrial powers of the 20th century. Under this system, deemed Bretton Woods, independent nation-states tied their currency to the U.S. dollar, whose value was expressed in gold at the congressionally-set price of $35 an ounce.
Problems with this system surfaced in the 1960s when increased federal spending spurred on by a rise in foreign aid, military expenditures, foreign investments, and burdensome domestic programs caused a surplus of U.S. dollars. As a result, the U.S. dollar was becoming overvalued and threatened to undermine the nation’s foreign trading position. The year of 1970 saw the highest inflation rates since the Korean War. All economic commodities were rising: food and services, construction and wages. Unemployment figures trickled higher into the realm of the unforgiving.
Through the first two years of his administration, President Nixon addressed the economic situation just as his predecessors did–by cutting foreign aid and providing disincentives on foreign investments. However, as there appeared no end in sight to quell inflation and rising interest rates, President Nixon took drastic action. He convened a secret summit of his top economic advisers at Camp David on August 13 1971, and after a full afternoon of discussions, President Nixon was prepared to address the nation regarding his administration’s new economic policy.
Photos of High Profile Meeting Between President Nixon and Economic Advisors at Camp David:
On the evening of August 15 1971, President Nixon shocked the nation and the world by announcing his intention to amend the Bretton Woods system, stating:
I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interest of monetary stability and in the best interests of the United States.
President Nixon also highlighted other economic initiatives in his address. On the subject of job development, he urged Congress to enact the Job Development Act of 1971. To combat inflation, the President ordered a freeze on all prices and wages throughout the United States for 90 days–a policy RN initially thought he would never implement, but the circumstances called for it.
The White House released an explanatory fact sheet on President Nixon’s new economic policy. View it below:
Though a turn from his original economic stance, the President’s speech received all around praise. Below, view a slew of support from members of the public and government officials:
August 14, 2014 By Jonathan Movroydis
Vice President Nixon and Mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher, observe construction of Candlestick Park on June 12 of 1959.
Candlestick Park, the workhorse stadium that housed both the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, will host its final event tonight–in grand fashion, no less. Paul McCartney will grace the stadium’s final moments, performing in front of a sellout crowd of 49,000.
As we bid our final farewell to Candlestick, nixonfoundation.org takes a look back on a special moment in the stadium’s history: opening day, April 12, 1960.
On February 3, 1960, the Mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher, personally invited the Vice President to attend the dedication of his city’s new ball park. See Mayor Christopher’s letter to RN below:
As seen by his personal annotation, RN did not hesitate to accept.
Before the game, the Vice President was joined by Governor of California Pat Brown, Mayor Christopher, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in giving opening remarks at the dedication ceremony. While in the stands, RN even had a chance to chat with Hall of Famer Ty Cobb:
After the game, in which the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 3-1, RN visited the home team’s locker room, where he would talk baseball to future Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda and Willie Mays.
RN shakes hands with Orlando Cepeda.
RN shares a laugh with Willie Mays.
An aerial view of Candlestick Park on April 1, 1960.