Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency 40 years ago today. His one-sentence resignation letter is “Today’s Document” at the National Archives website.
The question mark in the title of this post is not meant ironically. It’s an open question, for an open thread.
For those of us who work on recent U.S. history, the 1970s are a period in which the paths of historical inquiry inevitably pass through (or around) personal memory — either our own memories, or the memory of those who were “there” and are often still here. And many (all?) periods in American history also have their corresponding “memories,” their particular character and place in the popular imagination or the broader culture.
So I’m wondering how the anniversary of Nixon’s resignation plays today as an event in American memory, and what we make of that as historians.
I am not sure how I’d answer this question myself, so I’m hoping somebody else will chime in here.