Here is the video clip of Nixon's televised Resignation
Speech. Find text transcript below.
It follows the full text transcript of
Richard Nixon's Resignation Speech, delivered at
Washington D.C. - August 8, 1974.
This is the 37th
time I have spoken to you from this office,
where so many decisions have been made that
shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I
have done so to discuss with you some matter
that I believe affected the national interest.
In all the decisions I have made in my public
life, I have always tried to do what was best
for the Nation. Throughout the long and
difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it
was my duty to persevere, to make every possible
effort to complete the term of office to which
you elected me.
In the past few days, however, it has become
evident to me that I no longer have a strong
enough political base in the Congress to justify
continuing that effort. As long as there was
such a base, I felt strongly that it was
necessary to see the constitutional process
through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise
would be unfaithful to the spirit of that
deliberately difficult process and a dangerously
destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now
believe that the constitutional purpose has been
served, and there is no longer a need for the
process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the
finish whatever the personal agony it would have
involved, and my family unanimously urged me to
do so. But the interests of the Nation must
always come before any personal considerations.
From the discussions I have had with
Congressional and other leaders, I have
concluded that because of the Watergate matter I
might not have the support of the Congress that
I would consider necessary to back the very
difficult decisions and carry out the duties of
this office in the way the interests of the
Nation would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office
before my term is completed is abhorrent to
every instinct in my body. But as President, I
must put the interest of America first. America
needs a full-time President and a full-time
Congress, particularly at this time with
problems we face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead
for my personal vindication would almost totally
absorb the time and attention of both the
President and the Congress in a period when our
entire focus should be on the great issues of
peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency
effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford
will be sworn in as President at that hour in
As I recall the high hopes for America with
which we began this second term, I feel a great
sadness that I will not be here in this office
working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in
the next 2 1/2 years. But in turning over
direction of the Government to Vice President
Ford, I know, as I told the Nation when I
nominated him for that office 10 months ago,
that the leadership of America will be in good
In passing this office to the Vice President, I
also do so with the profound sense of the weight
of responsibility that will fall on his
shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the
understanding, the patience, the cooperation he
will need from all Americans.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will
deserve the help and the support of all of us.
As we look to the future, the first essential is
to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to
put the bitterness and divisions of the recent
past behind us, and to rediscover those shared
ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and
unity as a great and as a free people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have
hastened the start of that process of healing
which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been
done in the course of the events that led to
this decision. I would say only that if some of
my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong,
they were made in what I believed at the time to
be the best interest of the Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these
past difficult months, to my family, my friends,
to many others who joined in supporting my cause
because they believed it was right, I will be
eternally grateful for your support.
And to those who have not felt able to give me
your support, let me say I leave with no
bitterness toward those who have opposed me,
because all of us, in the final analysis, have
been concerned with the good of the country,
however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming
that common commitment and in helping our new
President succeed for the benefit of all
I shall leave this office with regret at not
completing my term, but with gratitude for the
privilege of serving as your President for the
past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a
momentous time in the history of our Nation and
the world. They have been a time of achievement
in which we can all be proud, achievements that
represent the shared efforts of the
Administration, the Congress, and the people.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and
they, too, will require the support and the
efforts of the Congress and the people working
in cooperation with the new Administration.
We have ended America's longest war, but in the
work of securing a lasting peace in the world,
the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and
more difficult. We must complete a structure of
peace so that it will be said of this
generation, our generation of Americans, by the
people of all nations, not only that we ended
one war but that we prevented future wars.
We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of
a century stood between the United States and
the People's Republic of China.
We must now ensure that the one quarter of the
world's people who live in the People's Republic
of China will be and remain not our enemies but
In the Middle East, 100 million people in the
Arab countries, many of whom have considered us
their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us
as their friends. We must continue to build on
that friendship so that peace can settle at last
over the Middle East and so that the cradle of
civilization will not become its grave.
Together with the Soviet Union we have made the
crucial breakthroughs that have begun the
process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must
set as our goal not just limiting but reducing
and finally destroying these terrible weapons so
that they cannot destroy civilization and so
that the threat of nuclear war will no longer
hang over the world and the people.
We have opened the new relation with the Soviet
Union. We must continue to develop and expand
that new relationship so that the two strongest
nations of the world will live together in
cooperation rather than confrontation.
Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin
America, in the Middle East, there are millions
of people who live in terrible poverty, even
starvation. We must keep as our goal turning
away from production for war and expanding
production for peace so that people everywhere
on this earth can at last look forward in their
children's time, if not in our own time, to
having the necessities for a decent life.
Here in America, we are fortunate that most of
our people have not only the blessings of
liberty but also the means to live full and good
and, by the world's standards, even abundant
lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal
of not only more and better jobs but of full
opportunity for every American and of what we
are striving so hard right now to achieve,
prosperity without inflation.
For more than a quarter of a century in public
life I have shared in the turbulent history of
this era. I have fought for what I believed in.
I have tried to the best of my ability to
discharge those duties and meet those
responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have
failed, but always I have taken heart from what
Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in
the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs
and comes short again and again because there is
not effort without error and shortcoming, but
who does actually strive to do the deed, who
knows the great enthusiasms, the great
devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause,
who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of
high achievements and who at the worst, if he
fails, at least fails while daring greatly."
I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a
breath of life in my body, I shall continue in
that spirit. I shall continue to work for the
great causes to which I have been dedicated
throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator,
a Vice President, and President, the cause of
peace not just for America but among all
nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity
for all of our people.
There is one cause above all to which I have
been devoted and to which I shall always be
devoted for as long as I live.
When I first took the oath of office as
President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred
commitment, to "consecrate my office, my
energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the
cause of peace among nations."
I have done my very best in all the days since
to be true to that pledge. As a result of these
efforts, I am confident that the world is a
safer place today, not only for the people of
America but for the people of all nations, and
that all of our children have a better chance
than before of living in peace rather than dying
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to
achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more
than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy
to you, to our country, as I leave the
To have served in this office is to have felt a
very personal sense of kinship with each and
every American. In leaving it, I do so with this
May God's grace be
with you in all the days ahead.