I finally have made it to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, while on my week long vacation in Los Angeles, California.
This blogger has spent his entire teaching career, beginning in 1972 when he started teaching his first class just eleven days before the Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972, surrounded by Nixon, who I despised at the time, and analyzing and evaluating Nixon over the rest of his life, and in the 23 years since his death in 1994. I also had a sabbatical period where I did a lot of reading and reflection on the 37th President.
It can be said that the half century from Nixon’s first election to Congress in 1946 to his death in 1994, is the Age of Nixon. One cannot fully understand American history since 1945 without addressing the positive and negative legacy of Richard Nixon.
Many would say that Nixon was the most significant and influential President of the years since World War II, and still has a role in our lives in 2017, with all of the accomplishments he had, often forgotten in the cloud of the Watergate Scandal.
And with Donald Trump facing likely removal from office due to scandal and abuse of power, it makes it incumbent upon us to compare Trump to Nixon, as I did before the election in an article on History News Network, found on the right side of my blog. Nixon shines in so many ways, as he was a very intelligent, perceptive, experienced political leader, unlike Donald Trump. But Nixon also had demons which undermined his ability to be successful, so he ranks in the mid 20s among our Presidents, and is seen by many as a failure, due to the fact that he faced certain impeachment and removal from the Presidency, if he had not resigned in disgrace in August 1974.
My impressions of the Nixon Library and Museum are that after much work to change the tone and exhibits of the museum, originally not accepted as legitimate, now the ability to recognize the truth of Richard Nixon’s life is possible, and I would highly recommend everyone visiting Southern California to visit and reflect on the Nixon historical role in our history. I would say that the Nixon Library has succeeded in presenting the complex aspects of Richard Nixon, both good and evil.