The first president of the United States to resign from office was Richard Nixon. In the midst of the Watergate scandal, Nixon announced his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974. Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as president the next day.
During the presidential campaign of 1972, operatives working for the Nixon administration broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. Congress's investigation of the break-in and the Nixon White House's attempted cover-up of its involvement led to a major scandal and political crisis. As the investigation by Congress and the media went further, Nixon's involvement became undeniable. Nixon resigned the presidency to avoid impeachment.