Monday, December 21, 2009

Suspicious Minds: The King in the People’s House

Today marks the anniversary of one of the strangest meetings ever held in the White House. On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley met with President Richard Nixon. The meeting was the result of a letter written by Elvis Presley to President Nixon in which he suggested he be made a “Federal Agent-at-Large” in order to help fight the drug culture and “Hippy Element” in American society. The irony of Elvis offering to help fight a war on drugs is easily seen in light of the nature of his demise (I say this as a fan).

In his meeting with Nixon, Elvis presented the president with a Colt 45 pistol and pictures of his family. According to accounts of the meeting produced by staffers shortly after the visit, Elvis told Nixon that he wanted to infiltrate youth culture and combat some of the anti-American sentiment that he felt was on the rise. He stated that he believed that the Beatles were responsible for much of the anti-American sentiment. At the end of the meeting, he hugged Nixon and told him he supported him. Oddly enough, of all the photocopy and reproduction requests received by the National Archives each year, the photo of President Nixon and Elvis’ meeting receives the most requests. That is, more people request a copy of this photo than reproductions of either the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

Visit the National Archives site to check out Elvis’ letter to the president, as well as photos of their meeting and other related documents.

[Image via tvland]

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