Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal

Richard Nixon and the Watergate Scandal

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Richard Nixon was in one of the most controversial issues that the United States has ever seen. The Watergate Scandal is now well known throughout history today. This issue led to Nixon resigning only 2 years in his 2nd term. Did President Nixon make the right decisions? Can anyone really trust the government after a situation like this? Some Historians believe that this changed the course of history, and that we can never truly trust the government again. While others believe that Nixon didn’t make the right decisions; however, this should not change the way the people look at our government. The government and the people need to keep a strong trust.
The opposing argument believes that Richard Nixon made a turning point in history that allowed the people to turn against the government. Nobody can trust a government where the president himself does something against the law. When Nixon was inaugurated he took a sworn oath to protect the people and the country. He lied to his people. He states, “The major problem on the Watergate is simply to clean the thing up by having whoever was responsible admit what happened. Certainly I am satisfied that nobody in the White House had any knowledge or approved any such activity…” (Memoirs 646)
The supporting argument is that Nixon made awful choices, but that should not change the people’s opinion of government. Nixon supporters were disgraced and his opponents just shook their heads. His supporters trusted him to do the right things, but in the end he just hurt them. While this was a mayor issue in history the American people should not look at this one bad apple. If the whole United States thought that everyone in the government was corrupt then we would have a huge problem.
Historians on the opposing side believe that Nixon had a choice, but he choose the wrong one. He wanted to cover up the Watergate Scandal, and that was the turning point of his presidency. Maurice H. Stans explains, “Nixon was not a party to the Watergate break-in. That has been established, especially by the White House tapes beginning in June 1972, which showed his initial consternation at learning about it.” (Nixon 178) He could have turned the guilty party to the police, but he thought that it would end up hurting him.

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He didn’t turn them in, and now look what happened. Congress was on the verge of impeaching him, but he wanted to resign before that could happen. He ended up making the wrong decision.
It didn’t stop there he wanted to cover it up, and that meant lying to the public. He stated, “No intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the people elected me to do for the people of the United States.” (Defining Moments 53) The president is suppose to be one of the most important men of the country. He should have the trust of the United States, but when he broke that bound the public is going to feel unsecure. They aren’t going to know who to trust anymore. If they can’t trust the president who can they trust? Their view of the government starts to change. They think that maybe the government is corrupt.
If Nixon abuses his powers then what stops another president from abusing his powers? Nixon abused he powers for all of the wrong reasons, and it changed the way people look at him today. When people think of Nixon they mostly remember the Watergate Scandal, and the trouble he caused. They don’t remember him for the good things he did. Neal stated, “….Nixon’s abuses of his authority were a threat to the American Political System.” (Defining Moments 154) Nixon caused a lot of damage, and in the end people should beware of the government. They don’t know who they can trust.
When Nixon became president he was going to do great things. However, he wasn’t placed in the best situation. He had many issues that needed to be solved. One in particular was that he was suppose to resolve the Vietnam War. The pressure got to him. Stans explains, “He was not only to address a number of domestic problems, but also to end the war in Vietnam and help maintain peace among the superpowers. In doing so, he was continually frustrated by opposition from Congress and the media.” (Decision 176) People were hounding him and he couldn’t take the pressure. He ended up making decisions about Watergate that would ultimately end his presidency.
Nixon presidency did not change the way people look at the government. Nixon was just another problem that the country had to go through. He did it for his own personal gain and to make sure nothing could lead back to him. He underestimated the legal system. If anything we should be glad that the system caught him before he could do anymore damage could be done. The country dealt with another issue is outstanding. This should represent how strong the country is. It’s not going to be without hardships. The government is not afraid to get rid of its own to protect the people. Even if that means that Congress has to impeach the president. However, in this case Nixon resigned before he was impeached.
When the people don’t trust the government there could be riots. People might start to rebel. No one will listen to anybody, and Americans might try to take things into their own hands. The government could go down in shambles. Congress may start to impeach based on emotions and not fact. There needs to be a government to regulate laws, foreign policy, and things that are important to the United States.
The government plays an important role in this country. People need to support the government, but the government should also support the people. Nixon should not be the reason why Americans cannot trust the government. It was an error in history, and the government should learn from it. Watergate should just make people aware that it happened. The people should have every right to know what’s going on. The government fixed the problem, and Americans should not be worried.
The Watergate Scandal should actually make the government stronger. They have made it where it should never happen again. Kevin Hillstorm explains, “Yet many observers also expressed hope that the scandal would usher in a new era of ethical and moral product in the nation’s political and social institutions. The Watergate affair did prompt a score of legislative reforms designed to prevent future Watergates from ever happening.” (Defining Moments 84) They have learned from the scandal, and have now made it to where they are determined to change it for the better.
President Nixon made decisions that were for his own personal gain, and the United States has learned form his mistakes. Americans should not fear the government based on his actions. In fact, the people should feel safer. They have now fixed it to where it will most likely never happen again. It has made the government stronger, and while others believe that it destroyed the way people look at the government. It was an issue that the country faced, but they solved it. If another issue were to come up the people should not be afraid because they will hit it straight on.
On June 18, 1972 thousands of newspapers went out across the United States until a story about a burglary at the Democratic National Committee in Washington D.C. It was a short story that didn’t have much importance at the time. It would later turn into a important issue that effected many people in the government. When Nixon first read the paper he didn’t think much about it, and thought he was a rather cold joke. Yet, he didn’t know that it would one day lead to his resignation.
5 Men were caught to regards of the break in. Out of the 5 men 3 of them were Cubans and the other 2 were Americans. James McCord was a former CIA agent and was the on the CRP payroll. The CRp is the Committee to Reelect the President. The authorities found multiple hundard dollar bills and a small black notebook. It was here that it was the first connection to the White House. In that notebook contained the name of Howard Hunt. Hunt and along with Gordon Liddy supervised the whole thing. They planned it to be precise, but failed when the men were arrested.
The scandal was not the first attempt at bugging the offices. They first was a failure do to the equipment because it was either broken or not placed right. They didn’t know the next time would end up putting them behind bars. The story got old rather quickly until they connected it with the government. There were two journalists that would not let the story end. Between Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein they published numerous articles. One source was very secretive, and was known as “Deep Throat.” Nobody knew exactly who this person was except the journalist.
The FBI and the CIA were never suppose to never cross a case, and must leave the other cases alone. However, Nixon became a very paranoid person, and wanted to know everything that was going on. He wanted the CIA to intervene with the investigation. John Dean was also on the cover up. He was told to get rid of the documents anyway he could, but he didn’t listen. He ended up giving them to the FBI, but they were told that it had nothing to do with the Watergate. The documents ended up being untouched for a long time. John Mitchell was ahead of the CRP for a little while, and his duty were to pay off the burglars. They money was suppose to keep the burglars for keeping their mouths shut, but the burglars double crossed Mitchell. Nixon believed that the people arrested would get off easy because they had to pass records. However, Judge J. Sirica also known as “Maximum John” was on the case. Even though being paid off James McCord game the Judge names and information. Hunt and Liddy ended up getting sentenced to jail time.
John Dean was later fired by President Nixon. It was a huge mistake on Nixon’s part. Dean gave the prosecution the information they needed. He revealed that Nixon did take apart in the incident. This sudden insight shocked the American people. However, with Dean’s statement there needed to be physical facts. These facts didn’t come until Alexander Butterfield confirmed that there were actual recording tapes in the White House. President Nixon refused to give the tapes to authorities. He twisted his words up a lot when it came to the tapes. He wanted to protect the people and the nation’s security. If he were to give them up they both would be at risk. He wanted to make a deal with Archibald Cox. Nixon stated, “He would turn over written transcripts of the requested tapes. A neutral third party could listen to the tapes and verify them against the manuscripts.” (In American History 79) Coz didn’t agree, and it would end up costing him his job. Nixon had the right to fire Cox and some others, and it would be known as “Saturday Night Massacre.” The public was angry, and Nixon knew if he didn’t turn over the tapes there would be consequences. When he finally turned over the tapes to were missing and one had part of it misses. The types ended up revealing that Nixon was involved with the cover up, but had nothing to do with the actual break in. Nixon put the tapes end to stop any leaks from getting out, and in the end it ending up hurting him. Before Congress could impeach him he resigned.
The people of the United States have no reason to fear the government. President Nixon ended up making the wrong decisions, and unfortunately he had to pay the price. This is just one mistake out of many years of a strong system. There were a couple of other issues, but ultimately the government has stayed intact. The government is what keeps this country from falling apart. Without one who would make the decisions? People will want to take things into their own hands. However, they won’t have the skills and credentials needed to do the job. It would just turn into one large mess. If anything the Watergate Scandal should be a lesson to everyone. The government has make policies that should keep this from happening again. The people should be reassured and understand that they will do anything to make the system better. Nixon
Nixon was put under a lot of pressure when he became President, but he should have relied on people to help him. When he went against the law was the moment he no longer had the people of the United States in mind. He lied to the public, and the public doesn’t need a President that isn’t honest with them. He ended up trying to save his own bottom in the process. Before the Watergate Scandal the people had full faith in him to protect and serve this country. The people now understand the government isn’t afraid to make changes, and even get people out of office. It is all about the American people, and it will never change. The Government should serve and protect the people, and it doesn’t all lie with the President. The public should never fear the government and believe that it is corrupt. Nixon made horrible decisions, but he the end the government will always fix its problems.



Works Cited

Fremon, David K. The Watergate Scandal in American History. Springfield, NJ: Enslow, 1998. Print.
Hay, Jeff. Richard M. Nixon. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 2001. Print.
Hillstrom, Kevin. Defining Moments Watergate. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2004. Print.
Nixon, Richard M. The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978. Print.
Summers, Anthony. The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. Pengiun, 2001. Print.
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