Nixon had a difficult early life with many trials and hardships, which affected his character and way of thinking about the world and himself. The premature death of two of his brothers caused him deep-rooted trauma. He had a lifelong inability to trust other people. From the competition between his siblings, he got a keen sense of competition and struggle and a belief that in the end, he was alone against fate and his enemies. He believed vehemently that "The mark of the man is to be resilient and continually return after set-backs." Nixon believed that the successful competitor never lets his enemies have the final say in a contest of will. Some of his cruel attempts to discredit his political enemies may have come from the regular beatings his father used to keep Nixon in line. Nixon's ambition was the theme of his life story.
Nixon was born in Orange County, California on January 9, 1913, the second of five sons of Francis A.
and Hannah Milhaus Nixon. The Nixons were longtime members of the Society of Friends, more commonly known as Quakers. Nixon was nine at the time that his family moved to Whittier, California, where his father owned and operated a local gasoline station and country store. He attended public schools until the age of 17, when he entered Whittier Collage, a small local Quaker institution. Success in student politics and strong debating skills crowned Nixon's collage years. Upon graduation in 1934, he won a scholarship to Duke Law School in Durham, N.C. Since his family was short of funds to pay for his lodging and books, he got a part time job. He graduated 3rd in his class and was elected president of the Duke Bar Association. Nixon looked forward to a career with the...