© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Richard Nixon in The 1950s

Richard Nixon (1913-1994) was a Republican congressman from California whom Eisenhower chose as his vice-presidential running mate in 1952. Nixon had developed a reputation as a fierce anticommunist. With the McCarthy era in full swing, the choice of Nixon shielded Eisenhower from any charge of being soft on Communism.

As Vice President, Nixon did little. Because Eisenhower liked to distance himself from politics, he often chose Nixon to fulfill unpleasant political duties, such as attacking Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson during both presidential elections. Eisenhower did not often include Nixon in policy discussions and even tried to push Nixon off the ticket in 1956. Hoping to run eventually for the presidency himself, Nixon refused. When he did run for president in 1960, Eisenhower was asked about the ideas Nixon had contributed to his administration. "If you give me a week, I might think of one," Ike said.2 (Ouch!) Still, Eisenhower was disappointed when John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Nixon in the 1960 election, and he continued to support his former VP in later years. Eisenhower's grandson David married Nixon's daughter Julie in 1969, the same year that Nixon finally did achieve his goal of becoming president.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...