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President Richard Nixon resigned his office on August 9, 1974.His decision followed the revelation that five men connected to the Nixonadministration were caught breaking into the headquarters of the opposingpolitical party. At the time of Nixon’s resignation, proceedings had alreadybegun in Congress to impeach him and seemed likely to succeed.
Good evening. This is the 37th time I havespoken to you
from this office, where so many decisions havebeen made
that shaped the history of this Nation. Eachtime I have done
so to discuss with you some matter that Ibelieve affected the
national interest. Throughout the long anddifficult period of
Watergate, I have felt it was my duty topersevere—to make
every possible effort to complete the term ofoffice to which
you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become
evident to me that I nolonger have a strong enough political
base in the Congress tojustify continuing that effort. As long
as there was such a base, I felt strongly thatit was necessary
to see the constitutional process through toits conclusion;
that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to thespirit of that
deliberately difficult process, and adangerously destabilizing
precedent for the future. But with thedisappearance of that
base, I now believe that the constitutionalpurpose has been
served. And there is no longer a need for theprocess to be
I would have preferred to carry through to thefinish,
whatever the personal agony it would haveinvolved, and my
family unanimously urged me to do so. But theinterests of
the nation must always come before any personal
considerations. From the discussions I have hadwith
Congressional and other leaders I haveconcluded that
because of the Watergate matter I might nothave the support
of the Congress that I would consider necessaryto back the
very difficult decisions and carry out theduties of this office
in the way the interests of the nation willrequire.
I have never been a quitter. To leave officebefore my
term is completed is abhorrent to everyinstinct in my body.
But as President, I must put the interests ofAmerica first.
America needs a full-time President and afull-time
Congress, particularly at this time withproblems we face at
home and abroad. To continue to fight throughthe months
ahead for my personal vindication would almosttotally
absorb the time and attention of both thePresident and the
Congress in a period when our entire focusshould be on the
great issues of peace abroad and prosperitywithout inflation
at home. Therefore,I shall resign the Presidency effective at
noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as
President at that hour in this office.
By taking this action, I hope that I will havehastened the
start of that process of healing which is sodesperately
needed in America. I regret deeply any injuriesthat may
have been done in the course of the events thatled to this
decision. I would say only that if some of myJudgments
were wrong, and some were wrong, they were madein what
I believed at the time to be the best interestof the Nation.
As I recall the high hopes for America withwhich we
began this second term, I feel a great sadnessthat I will not
be here in this office working on your behalfto achieve those
hopes in the next two and a half years. But inturning over
direction of the Government to Vice PresidentFord, I know,
as I told the nation when I nominated him forthat office ten
months ago, that the leadership of Americawould be in good
So let us all now join together in affirming thatcommon
commitment and in helping our new Presidentsucceed for
the benefit of all Americans. I shall leavethis office with
regret at not completing my term but withgratitude for the
privilege of serving as your President for thepast five and a
half years. These years have been a momentoustime in the
history of our nation and the world. They havebeen a time of
achievement in which we can all be proud,achievements that
represent the shared efforts of theadministration, the
Congress and the people. But the challengesahead are
equally great. And they, too, will require thesupport and the
efforts of the Congress and the people, workingin
cooperation with the new Administration.
May God's grace be with you in all the daysahead.
Nixon’s primarypurpose in delivering this speech was most likely to
(A) ask the American public for theirforgiveness for his mistakes.
(B) announce his resignation and offer anexplanation to the public.
(C) condemn the press for trying him in thecourt of public opinion before all the facts were available.
(D) express his full confidence in VicePresident Ford.
This passage is adapted fromEdith Wharton, The House of
Mirth, originally publishedin 1905
Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoonrush of the
Grand Central Station his eyes had beenrefreshed by the
sight of Miss Lily Bart.
It was a Monday in early September, and he was
returning to his work from a hurried dip intothe country; but
what was Miss Bart doing in town at thatseason? If she had
appeared to be catching a train, he might haveinferred that
he had come on her in the act of transitionbetween one and
another of the country-houses which disputedher presence
after the close of the Newport season; but herdesultory air
perplexed him. She stood apart from the crowd,letting it
drift by her to the platform or the street, andwearing an air
of irresolution which might, as he surmised, bethe mask of a
very definite purpose. It struck him at oncethat she was
waiting for someone, but he hardly knew why theidea
arrested him. There was nothing new about LilyBart, yet he
could never see her without a faint movement ofinterest: it
was characteristic of her that she alwaysroused speculation,
that her simplest acts seemed the result offar-reaching
An impulse of curiosity made him turn out ofhis direct
line to the door, and stroll past her. He knewthat if she did
not wish to be seen she would contrive to eludehim; and it
amused him to think of putting her skill to thetest.
“Mr. Selden—what good luck!”
She came forward smiling, eager almost, in herresolve to
intercept him. One or two persons, in brushingpast them,
lingered to look; for Miss Bart was a figure toarrest even the
suburban traveler rushing to his last train.
Selden had never seen her more radiant. Hervivid head,
relieved against the dull tints of the crowd,made her more
conspicuous than in a ball-room, and under herdark hat and
veil she regained the girlish smoothness, thepurity of tint,
that she was beginning to lose after elevenyears of late hours
and indefatigable dancing. Was it really elevenyears, Selden
found himself wondering, and had she indeedreached the
nine-and-twentieth birthday with which herrivals credited
“What luck!” she repeated. “How nice of you tocome to
He responded joyfully that to do so was hismission in
life, and asked what form the rescue was totake.
“Oh, almost any—even to sitting on a bench andtalking
to me. One sits out a cotillion—why not sit outa train? It
isn't a bit hotter here than in Mrs. VanOsburgh's
conservatory—and some of the women are not abit uglier.”
She broke off, laughing, to explain that shehad come up to
town from Tuxedo, on her way to the GusTrenors' at
Bellomont, and had missed the three-fifteentrain to
Rhinebeck. “And there isn't another tillhalf-past five.” She
consulted the little jeweled watch among herlaces. “Just two
hours to wait. And I don't know what to do withmyself. My
maid came up this morning to do some shoppingfor me, and
was to go on to Bellomont at one o'clock, andmy aunt's
house is closed, and I don't know a soul intown.” She
glanced plaintively about the station. “It ishotter than Mrs.
Van Osburgh's, after all. If you can spare thetime, do take
me somewhere for a breath of air.”
He declared himself entirely at her disposal:the
adventure struck him as diverting. As aspectator, he had
always enjoyed Lily Bart; and his course lay sofar out of her
orbit that it amused him to be drawn for amoment into the
sudden intimacy which her proposal implied.
Which of thefollowing provides the most reasonable summary of the passage?
(A) Two close friends meet to spend the daytogether.
(B) A traveler notices a woman actingsuspiciously.
(C) Two acquaintances unexpectedly run into oneanother.
(D) A couple prepare to board a train for aromantic getaway.
Selden’s attitudetowards Lily Bart is primarily one of
Over the course ofthe passage, the main focus of the narrative shifts from the
(A) grim and suspicious attitude of onecharacter to the gregarious behavior of another.
(B) meticulous plans laid by one character tothe carefree adventures enjoyed by another.
(C) appreciation of abstract beauty to theenjoyment of living in the moment.
(D) private thoughts of one character aboutanother to a friendly interaction between the two.