Richard Nixon: A Life From Beginning to End He’s the president with the asterisk by his name: Richard Milhous Nixon, the only U.S. president to resign from office. But Richard Nixon’s legacy to the history of the United States is much more complicated than the scandal of Watergate. His is the classic story of American legend, of a young man who rose from his humble roots to achieve power and influence. The story has tinges of Horatio Alger, but also of Machiavelli, and that may be the enigma of Richard Nixon, the student who was offered scholarships to Ivy League schools but couldn’t afford to go there, forever embedding within him the resentment against his political opponents, such as John F. Kennedy, who did; the politician who helped to bring the Republican Party back into power after the Roosevelt years, but who didn’t shy away from “dirty tricks” in order to win election; the dogged, diligent candidate who had his facts in order, but couldn’t compete on television with the telegenic JFK; the anti-communist who negotiated treaties with the Soviet Union and opened the door to China; the stigma of presidential abuse during the Watergate investigation, and the rehabilitation as the elder statesmen of American politics in the post-Watergate years. Was Nixon a villain or a hero? Meet the president whose personality consisted of conflicting layers of pragmatism, patriotism, self-doubt and a fall from grace that roiled American democracy.