Watergate, the popular name for the political scandal and constitutional crisis which broke out in 1972 during the presidential reign of Richard Nixon, remains a mysterious happening even today. Some details, people, events, degrees of involvement, and reasons are still unresolved. But what began as a third-rate burglary on June 17, 1972 escalated into a full-blown scandal that had a resounding effect on how many Americans viewed the government of their country. Richard Nixon's presidency and Watergate triggered a first-rate national scandal whose consequences still colour the nation's politics.
It alerted many Americans to the possible existence of corruption within their ideal, democratic government. The many faces, places, and events that formulate Watergate are numerous; as varied as the theories as to why and how Watergate actually occurred. Mystery and speculation surround many of the happenings which became "Watergate", a catch-all term of the events surrounding President Nixon's term of office from 1972-1974. On June 17, 1972, a night watchman discovered five burglars in the National Democratic Headquarters (located in the Watergate Complex) in Washington, D. C.
It was discovered that these burglars (Bernard Barkers, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, James McCord, Jr. , and Frank Sturgis) were working on the Committee to Re-Elect the President (which dons the ironic acronym CREEP). The break-in was actually an attempt to replace recording equipment which had been planted in the Democratic Headquarters. Judge John Silica sentenced them, once they refuse to admit their involvement with CREEP, or indeed CREEP's involvement in the burglary.
The burglars were known to the CREEP committee as "plumbers", as they consistently stopped leaks to the press about Nixon's presidential plans. On the outset of Watergate, Nixon vehemently denies his government's involvement in this scandal. Taped conversations with the president later show that a desperate cover-up to conceal Nixon's involvement already began to take place. James McCord, Jr. , relates the involvement of others besides him and his four other "plumbers", and the pressure to plead guilty from the "others." On April 30, 1973, growing media coverage began on Watergate as Nixon accepts general responsibility for it, but denies specific responsibility. Nixon begins to force the resignation of his advisors, his Attorney General, and others who had worked on the CREEP committee.
Upon these happenings, cracks began to appear in President Nixon's "sealing" and cover-ups of Watergate. The mysterious "Deep Throat", jokingly named after a popular pornographic movie title of the time, became an important press informant that leaked many details to the press during the height of the Watergate scandal, especially to Washington Post's reporter Bob Woodward. The identity of Deep Throat still remains a mystery, although Woodward said of him: .".. He was risking a great deal professionally. You may assume that in the course of this he was not truthful with colleagues and family members, and he denied that he had provided information." At this time, there was also the production of Nixon's infamous "Enemies' List", which listed many colleagues that Nixon believed to be his political enemies. There was also a top secret report, published by Daniel Ellsburg, about another truth that Nixon was trying to cover-up-The United States' true involvement in Southeast Asia (Vietnam War).
This precipitated another break-in by the "plumbers", this time to Ellsburg's psychiatrist's office, trying to discredit him. On July 16, 1973, former White House aide Alexander Butterfield testified that Nixon had been "bugging" his own offices, recording his top-secret conversations about Watergate with his officials. President Nixon refuses to release these tapes, citing of national security. The release of these tapes would later become the "smoking gun" in the evidence of the president's true involvement and knowledge of Watergate. These tapes were released on October 23, 1973. A large portion of a 1972 conversation of Nixon with H.
R. Haldeman, one of Nixon's close aides, was missing mysteriously from these tapes. The president maintained that the tapes were erased by accident. In the House of Representatives, various bills called for impeachment of the president, and editorials in various newspapers across America demand the resignation of Nixon. In a shocking televised question-and-answer show in November 1973, Nixon fed the American public this infamous line: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.
Well, I am not a crook." 1974 saw the beginning of impeachment proceedings for Nixon. While he tried to maintain his dignity and national duties as president, more tapes and transcripts were being released, all of which pointed to Nixon's involvement in Watergate-a plot against the Democratic Party in order to maintain a Republican government in the United States. The summer of 1974 held the bulk of the impeachment trials, in which Nixon was subpoenaed with " engaging personally and through his subordinates and agents in the attempt to cover-up Watergate", "repeatedly engage (ing) in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens (and) impairing the due and proper administration of justice... ." , and "ignoring the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives." Through the impeachment trial and the release of this evidence, the final truth came out about Watergate-the president knew a lot, and he had known it early. So on the evening of August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon made his resignation address: "I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.
But as president, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time president, and a full-time congress... Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice-president Ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office." Watergate, in essence, became the beginning of the end for Americans' trust in their government.
With the deterioration of their government and their justice system, the American public began to no longer trust their elected officials. Americans are now cynical, placing little or no faith in the words or actions of their presidents. The criminal, in just overtones of the Watergate scandal made it clear to the average American voter that the Presidency could not, and should not, be trusted. President Richard Nixon, when confronted with his own dishonest actions, gave the American people a ridiculous run-around and played his electors for pitiful ignoramuses. Although his political failure proved that no one, not even the President, is above the law, the United States lost their timid hopes and much-needed faith in their politicians and elected officials. Watergate became the legacy of buried hopes for an honest and un corrupt government.
"The downturn came to a climax with Watergate. Americans saw a presidency disintegrate before their eyes, criminal conspiracies at the highest level of government, and a president driven out of office." Richard Nixon's presidency and Watergate triggered a first-rate national scandal whose consequences still colour the nation's politics. It alerted many Americans to the possible existence of corruption within their ideal, democratic government. What started as a third-rate burglary ended in a modern American tragedy, corrupting a President, a government, and an idealism to which the American voter clung. Bibliography: MAKE IT UP! !