The Personality of Richard M. Nixon: A Comparison of Psychohistorical Approaches and a Psychodiagnostic Analysis of his Undoing

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Arts and Humanities | History | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Kenneth Jones, History; Aubrey lmmelman, Psychology


There are two main concerns under this project's overarching theme of psychology's potential and controversial role in historical analysis. The first is an assessment of how other historians have attempted to account for the unique personality of a man as prominent and influential as Richard Nixon. This will be accomplished by comparing the results and methods of this project's use of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria to the psychohistories of Bruce Mazlish' s In Search of Nixon: A Psychohistorical Inquiry (1972) and Fawn M. Brodie's Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character (1981). The second issue is how a better understanding of Nixon's personality provided by the results of the Millon Inventory can supplement our understanding of Nixon's actions following the Watergate break-in. Why did Nixon make the decisions and commit the acts that resulted in his resignation? While applying these results the project will also consider whether any of the three psychohistorical assessments provide any predictive power for behavior.