The Watergate Scandal

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by lemasterbrooke
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
American History
Grade:
9

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The Watergate Scandal

This was a major political scandal that occurred in the 1970s as a result of the June 17th, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

Early in the morning of June 17th, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. This was no ordinary robbery: The prowlers were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they had been caught while attempting to wiretap phones and steal secret documents. While historians are not sure whether Nixon knew about the Watergate espionage operation before it happened, he took steps to cover it up afterwards, raising “hush money” for the burglars, trying to stop the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from investigating the crime, destroying evidence and firing uncooperative staff members. In August 1974, after his role in the Watergate conspiracy had finally come to light, the president resigned.

What Happened

The Watergate Seven

On July 13th, 1973, Alexander Butterfield, Deputy Assistant to Richard Nixon, revealed in testimony that there was a White House recording system that automatically recorded everything in the Oval Office. After some resistance, Nixon agreed to release a 1,308-page transcript of some edited tapes. Nixon claimed that the tapes proved his innocence. This transcript, in which Nixon swore frequently, allowed Americans to see a side to the president they had never seen before. Despite the release of the transcript, Judge John Sirica subpoenaed the tapes and some documents. Nixon argued that he shouldn't release the tapes because the confidential conversations between the president and his advisors shouldn't be a matter of public record. The lawyers of the Watergate Committee and the Special Prosecutor's office responded that any conversations involving illegal affairs should not be concealed due to claims of executive privilege.

Lessons Learned

The Watergate Scandal

When

Although Nixon was never prosecuted, many Americans distrusted him becasue of what happened. They were appalled at the case and the way Nixon had tried to cover up the scandal. The Watergate scandal changed American politics forever, leading many Americans to question their leadership and think more critically about the presidency.

The Tapes

The Watergate Seven was a group of men involved in the scandal who were advisors and aides to President Nixon. The members were indicted by a grand jury on March 1st, 1974.

Charles Colson

John Ehrlichman

H.R. Haldeman

Robert Mardian

John N. Mitchell

Gordon C. Strachan

Kenneth Parkinson

Brooke LemasterLand A 3-4


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