BackStory explores the Nixon presidency before Watergate
Today the presidency of Richard Nixon is mostly remembered for how it ended – with the Watergate scandal, impeachment and resignation. But what about early Nixon, the man sworn into office in January 1969? On this episode, Nathan Connolly, Ed Ayers and Brian Balogh discover Nixon ran a more imaginative and ideologically flexible administration than its ignominious ending might suggest.
“Nixon made an issue of abortion, made an issue of pornography, made an issue of drug use,” said Rutgers University professor David Greenberg. “He was trying to pit the average American, who he wanted in the Republican column, against the liberal elite, the university professors, the media and all of those people who were defined as alien and somehow vaguely, or not so vaguely, un-American.”
- Brooks Flippen is a professor of history at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the author of “Nixon and the Environment.”
- Lassiter is the author of “The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South” – winner of the 2007 Lillian Smith Award presented by the Southern Regional Council. He is a professor of history, urban and regional planning at University of Michigan.
- Greenberg specializes in American political and cultural history. His book, “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image,” won the Washington Monthly Annual Political Book Award, the American Journalism History Award, and Columbia University’s Bancroft Dissertation Award. He is a professor at Rutgers University.
- Michelmore teaches U.S. history as well as 20th century U.S. political, cultural and social history at Washington & Lee University. Her research areas include American political development and she’s published in the Christian Science Monitor, The Richmond Times Dispatch and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
“Nixon Beyond Watergate: A History of the Presidency Before the Scandal,” is available now. Find it and every episode of BackStory on the website (www.BackStoryRadio.org) or on popular podcatchers including iTunes, Spotify and Google. BackStory publishes every week at noon and is available for free.