October 23rd, 2012
The Rise and Fall of Nixon’s Watergate Scandal
July 4th, 1776 America was given Independence and the chance to start a new type of government, by the people. The government has been criticized countless times for keeping critical information from the American people. Our forefathers and framers of the Constitution set up a separation of powers to ensure enumerated power between each of the three branches of government. Political corruption has been the fear of every American citizen since being colonized by Great Britain. But in the support of our Constitution and separation of powers, it was never thought that our government could take advantage of us without final word of the people. Our founding fathers set up this scapegoat for the most executive position in the United States, our president, could be impeached for misconducting their use of power. In Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, it says, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” (Longley, 2012) In 1968, Richard Milhous Nixon defeated Hubert Hoover in the closest U.S. election in history. At the same time Vince Lombardi was head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the newly assembled National Football League (NFL) and won Super Bowls one and two in 1967 and 1968. Lombardi was the greatest coach to this day in NFL history and still one of the most recognizable sports figures. One of his many famous quotes, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”, this was the thought of every American citizen and one particular man took these inspirational words and applied them to politics. Four years after the 1968 election, Nixon was re-elected as president in one of the largest landslides in American political history, taking more than 60 percent of the vote and crushing democratic Senator George McGovern.
In the time frame between these two elections we will see how paranoid a man can get in a position with so much power and pressure to succeed. That without whistle-blowers or good honest people, this country could be mishandled. Throughout this paper, we will cover every event between the years of both elections and the aftermath of what becomes known as the Watergate Scandal. The main themes through this scandal include the information released against Nixon and how he scrambles to control the silence of these allegations. The Newspapers play a key role in how these events unroll, specifically The Washington Post and their young, ambitious, and persistent investigative talents of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Finally, after the crimes are evident, we will cover how the White House was turned into a criminal enterprise and how their futures were affected.
The story begins after the 1968 election and Richard Nixon takes the oval office for his first term as President of the United States. After running in the previous election and losing to the Democratic Party, Nixon decided to run again with the democrats torn between the Vietnam War and a good chance for a Republican to take the election. He was right, winning by a hair. After taking office he promptly planned to expand intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA, and other federal agencies. Much of Richard Nixon’s beliefs among intelligence agencies came from J. Edgar Hoover who changed the way the FBI conducted surveillance on this country and its officials. After his death, Mark Felt continued as associate director of the FBI and Nixon appointed Patrick Gray to take over for Hoover. Gray had no FBI experience, but had recently been a Justice Department official. His paranoia throughout his presidency started at this moment and might have been the reason people were given the hard evidence needed to make this scandal known. The Vietnam War had been an ongoing war handed to Nixon upon his arrival to office.