Nixon's resignation: 40 years later

It's the 40 anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation. The Atlantic's David Graham discusses the rise and fall of one of the nation's most infamous commanders-in-chief. 

DAVID A. GRAHAM --- The Atlantic 

On the evening of August 8, 1974, Richard Milhous Nixon sat at his desk in the Oval Office and announced that he was resigning the office of the president. The next day, he submitted his letter of resignation to Henry Kissinger and left for Yorba Linda, California.

In his immediate wake, Nixon left a shattered and confused nation, a host of spurned aides, and an accidental president. The fallout from Watergate stripped the nation of its political innocence, revolutionized executive power, and bequeathed a range of new reforms. It sent a huge new crop of politicians to Washington. It marked the American vocabulary, producing a range of new expressions and one durable naming scheme for scandals. We're still grappling with the scandal today: In every debate about executive power or campaign-finance law or White House press management, Nixon looms in the background, glowering under his perpetually furrowed brow. 

Nixon has been a frequent presence in the pages of The Atlantic over the decades. The archival material retains its ability to shock—an important riposte to the disheartening majority of Americans who today say they believe Watergate was business as usual and little more than a political kerfuffle. Here are a few pieces that show how the magazine covered the 37th president and how understandings of Nixon have changed over the years.

Read the full story of the Nixon's rise and fall here.