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LAW 598 Understanding the Watergate Scandal

Published : 14-Oct,2021  |  Views : 10


To what extend did the Watergate tapes reflect changes in, or deviations from, American ideas about democracy, which later resurfaced in Reagan's speech? What species interests are revealed in each? What views of government? write a introduction and thesis 


The Watergate Scandal


The worst major political scandal to ever occur in the United States was the Watergate Scandal. The scandal occurred in the 1970s. There was a break-in that occurred at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. The break-in took place at the Watergate office complex that is based in Washington, D.C. The incident took place in the year 1972. The man at the helm of the Presidency during that time was Richard Nixon. President Richard’s government attempted to interfere with the ongoing investigations into the scandal (Olson). The administrations attempts were however discovered by the U.S. Congress which resulted into a constitutional crisis due to the resistance by the Nixon administration to hand over the tape recordings to the Congress. The suffix “gate” and the name Watergate to date has evolved to become very synonymous with non-political and political scandals in America.


The term Watergate included many different illegal and clandestine activities that were undertaken by the various members of President Nixon’s government. Nixon’s administration went against America’s ideas of democracy by invading the privacy of people and institutions. The administration was involved in dirty tricks like bugging the offices of the Democrats who were actually the political opponents. Nixon together with his officials did all these on account of mere suspicions. Nixon’s administration together with some of his close aides was also involved in the illegal ordering of investigations of various political figures and activist groups in the United States which is against the American ideas of democracy (Belt). The administration never tolerated any contrary opinions from anyone. To make matters worse, President Nixon was abusing his power as the president by using independent bodies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) to harass the different political figures and activist groups.

After the uncovering of the Watergate scandal, many more multiple discoveries of abuse of power by the administration were also uncovered. The scandal resulted into an impeachment process against Nixon’s administration which eventually led to his early resignation as the president. About sixty nine people were indicted during the Watergate Scandal. Many of these were top government administrators in Nixon’s government.

The Watergate burglary scandal involved five men who according to investigation were closely linked to Nixon’s administration (Schudson). The FBI established a link between a slush fund that was used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President which was Nixon’s official campaign team and the money found on the burglars. There was also a testimony that was provided to the Senate Watergate Committee by former aides in Nixon’s administration. America’s Supreme Court compelled President Nixon to produce recording tapes to the Senate Watergate Committee.

The Watergate scandals ushered in more aggressive attitude from the media and also the formulation of campaign finance reforms. The Watergate scandal is now used as a case study in the operation of the American political values and the constitution. During the scandal, president Regan called Nixon and pledged to support him to overcome it. This clearly shows us that both of them were supportive of the dirty tricks that were being carried out (Tracy). Both were not truthful to the Americans as we came to see in Regan’s speech during his reign when he lied about not knowing about the covert operations in Iran and other countries that were being carried out by his administration something that his close operatives knew about. Regan’s administration involved itself in unwarranted operations outside U.S. without the people’s knowledge which almost cost him his presidency.

Works Cited

Belt, Todd. "Nixon, Watergate, and the Attempt to Sway Public Opinion." Watergate Remembered. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2012. 147-167.

Olson, Keith W. Watergate: the presidential scandal that shook America. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2003.

Schudson, Michael. "Notes on scandal and the Watergate legacy." American Behavioral Scientist 47.9 (2004): 1231-1238.

Tracy, Kathleen. The Watergate Scandal. Mitchell Lane Publishers, Inc., 2007.

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