Richard M. Nixon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 May, 2006, 12:00am

Excerpt from Richard M. Nixon's presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, on August 8, 1968:


As we look at America, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home.


And as we see and hear these things, millions of Americans cry out in anguish: Did we come all this way for this? Did American boys die in Normandy and Korea and in Valley Forge for this?


Listen to the answers to those questions.


It is another voice, it is a quiet voice in the tumult of the shouting. It is the voice of the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans, the non-shouters, the non-demonstrators. They're not racists or sick; they're not guilty of the crime that plagues the land; they are black, they are white; they're native born and foreign born; they're young and they're old.


Language points:


1. we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame


- there's chaos and conflict in some of the American cities, including looting and burning, that strikes at the heart of society


2. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad


- American soldiers are being killed in wars fought on foreign land (Nixon was probably referring to the Vietnam war which was going on at the time)


3. millions of Americans cry out in anguish


- Americans are distressed and want all the internal and external conflicts to stop


4. Did American boys die in Normandy and Korea and in Valley Forge for this?


- First there was the Revolutionary War (Valley Forge, near Pennsylvania, was a symbol of that conflict) against the British colonialists, then the US joined the Allied invasion of Normandy during the second world war, followed by its involvement in the Korean war. Are the sacrifices of the US soldiers in all these wars really worth it?


5. it is a quiet voice in the tumult of the shouting


- amid the turmoil, many Americans who want to lead a peaceful life are quietly waiting for things to change


6. they're not guilty of the crime that plagues the land


- they (most Americans, young and old, from various ethnic groups) are not responsible for the problems in their country


Reflection:


1. How many overseas wars has America been involved in since 1950?


2. How has America's relationship with China changed the world?


(1913-1994)


Biography


Date of birth: January 9, 1913


Place of birth: Yorba Linda, California


Political party: Republican


Presidency: 1969-1974


Date of death: April 22, 1994


Background


As the first US president to visit China, Richard Nixon was popular among the Chinese. Nixon's handshake with then-Communist Party leader Mao Zedong during his trip to China in 1972 symbolised a new partnership between the two countries.


During Nixon's presidency, he ended the Vietnam war and initiated the world's first moon walk.


His nomination speech allowed Americans to see what kind of person he was before they went to the polls a few months later.


Nixon, who became the 37th president of the United States, resigned on August 9, 1974, following the Watergate scandal.


 

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