National Archives and Records Administration

American Originals Exhibit

Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)

Resignation of President Richard M. Nixon

"I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States."
Richard M. Nixon
August 9, 1974

During the night of June 17, 1972, five burglars broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC. Investigation into the break-in exposed a trail of abuses that led to the highest levels of the Nixon administration and ultimately to the President himself. President Nixon resigned from office under threat of impeachment on August 9, 1974.

The break-in and the resignation form the boundaries of the events we know as the Watergate affair. For 2 years, public revelations of wrongdoing inside the White House convulsed the nation in a series of confrontations that pitted the President against the media, executive agencies, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Watergate affair was a national trauma—a constitutional crisis that tested and affirmed the rule of law.

National Archives records relating to the Watergate affair are in the Nixon Presidential Materials Project, Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, Records of District Courts of the United States, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Records of the U.S. Senate.

President Richard M. Nixon resigns the Presidency in a letter dated August 9, 1974. President Nixon's resignation letter


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Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
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National Archives and Records Administration
Last updated: July 1, 1998