Political Capital

A Historiography of President Nixon’s Domestic Policy


  • Benjamin D.T. Smith Concordia University of Edmonton




In overlooking Nixon’s domestic policy agenda, many Americans find themselves lost in a fragmented understanding of a presidency that brought about some of the most significant changes in American history. Writings about President Nixon tend to focus on the controversies revolving around Watergate (as it is one of the most exciting and dramatic elements in American history), and his foreign policy relations. As time drifts further away from Watergate, many scholars are restructuring their focus and developing a “beyond Watergate” approach to understanding the Nixon presidency. By looking beyond Watergate, scholars are finding a Nixon domestic policy that left lasting impacts on three key domestic issues: civil rights, environmental protection, and social welfare. Still, at the heart of this domestic policy lies the divisive presidency of Richard Nixon, which brings with it divided approaches. Since his resignation in 1974, most scholars argue that Nixon’s domestic policy was designed to maximize his political capital. However, the means by which Nixon gained this capital, as well as its use, is a point of ambiguity among scholars.  




How to Cite

Smith, B. D. (2020). Political Capital: A Historiography of President Nixon’s Domestic Policy. Constellations, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.29173/cons29406