The break-in at the1972 Democratic National Committee offices contained within the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. later became known as just "Watergate". The break-in ultimately caused the demise of President Richard Nixon. Although "Watergate" is what people think of when they think of Nixon he actually had a long and prosperous career in government before then that even continued after Watergate.
Nixon was born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California. He attended Whittier College where he was raised and later Duke University School of Law where he earned his law degree. He subsequently moved back to his home town, joined a law firm and married Patricia Ryan in 1940. They later had two daughters, Patricia and Julie. In 1942 during World War II, Nixon was commissioned and served as a Navy lieutenant commander in the Pacific.
In 1946 shortly after leaving the military, he was elected to the House of Representatives from his home district in California. After only two years in congress he became a leading member in the House Committee on Un-American Activities. This committee dealt with espionage charges against Alger Hiss who was a Soviet Union spy during World War II. This committee almost single handedly turned Nixon into a national figure as well as a controversial one because among other members, he asserted Hiss's innocence. Nixon was then elected to the United States Senate where two years later Dwight Eisenhower selected him as his Presidential running mate in 1952. Nixon was only 39 years old at the time. He spent eight years as Vice President taking on major duties for the Eisenhower administration. Nixon unsuccessfully tried to run for the Presidency against John F. Kennedy but lost by a thin margin. He also made an attempt to run for governor of California in 1962 but failed. After this he practiced law, wrote, and traveled throughout Europe and Asia. .
Six years later, in 1968, Nixon put together a political comeback that surprised both his friends and enemies.