The Watergate Scandal - Essay on Political Science

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Wesleyan University
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The Watergate scandal can be viewed as an enormous political scandal in the history of the American politics. The incident is viewed to originate from the harsh political climate that was present in the 60s. In 1972 as Nixon was campaigning for his reelection, the war in Vietnam was still taking place such that the U.S. was highly involved while being internally divided at the same time. The president and his advisors viewed it necessary to have a presidential campaign that was a bit forceful as a result of the hostile political climate. The aggressive strategies that they employed are what resulted in the illegal Watergate undercover activities (Robinson 392). In May, the same year, CREEP, which stood for Committee to Re-Elect the President that was under Nixon managed to get into the headquarters and conduct the intrusion. The telephones that were bugged failed to work as expected and so the intruders went back to the headquarters to correct the damage. A security guard noticed that the locks of the building had been taped and hence called the police who came and captured the intruders. Therefore, in the early morning hours on 17th June 1972, some intruders were caught in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that is situated in the Watergate establishment found in Washington, D.C (Robinson 392). The intrusion is perceived to be abnormal as the intruders were associated with the reelection campaign of President Richard Nixon. They were found trying to tap some phones in addition to stealing important documents. It is not quite known whether Nixon was involved in the espionage before it occurred. Links that showed the connection between the burglars and the president were unclear, but the detectives remained suspicious since the phone number that belonged to the committee was found among the properties of the intruders. Later, Nixon presented a speech whereby he claimed that the members of his staff did not take part in the intrusion. Most people believed him and therefore, managed to win the presidential elections. However, he took part in covering it up after the burglars were arrested by which he gathered what is described as hush money for the intruders, getting rid of evidence, relieving members of staff who refused to cooperate in addition to attempting to prevent the Federal Bureau of Investigation from analyzing the case through the Central Intelligence Agency. His attempt to manipulate the FBI was viewed as the abuse of power in addition to an intentional interference with justice. The president later resigned in 1974 after his connection to the Watergate espionage was discovered. Gerald Ford, Nixons successor, forgave him immediately he got into the office of the cases that might have engaged in during his tenure as president. It is important to note that despite Nixon being pardoned instead of being prosecuted, the view regarding America politics changed completely. Most of the Americans began to inquire about their leaders and whether the presidential seat was acquired through legit means (Robinson 392).

The scandal is a significant change in American presidential politics in regards to the reactions that took place after the scandal. According to a report by Johnson, the feelings towards the Republican Party by the Americans were down when compared to the feelings projected to towards the Democratic Party. The author explains that both parties appeared to have experienced challenges after the incidence took place in regards to public perception. However, after the hearings by the Senate went on, the Democratic Party began to gain back its public confidence while the Republican Party continued to derail. He states, It is also interesting to note that feelings toward two of the Republican Partys traditional constituencies-big business and the rich-also declined, (Robinson 399). The author also highlights the decline of trust in the government by the public as the hearings were being held. It viewed it as corrupt and unreliable when it came to selecting leaders.

Ladd explains that the nations mood was very sour in the sense that the citizens felt that their civil rights had been betrayed. She explains that the views from the Republicans and the Democrats differed by which the Republicans were less moved to condemn Nixon when compared to the Democrats. She states, During Watergate, like today, much of the public expressed irritation at the extent to which the scandal was drawing attention from the real life of the country, (Ladd 25). The Americans viewed the country to be in a big mess such that it would take time for the public to trust the political system. Nonetheless, before Nixons resignation, some citizens sympathized with him with the view that he was doing his best to create a better America.

According to the article, The American Publics Attitudes about Richard Nixon Post-Watergate, the reaction from the public was mixed. Some people viewed the scandal ad being political propaganda while others viewed it as a matter that required serious attention with the view that Nixons administration was full of corruption. In 1982, three-quarter of the American citizens was of the view that his actions illustrated a clear need for his resignation. The opinions regarding the scandal further changed by 2014 whereby Nixon was viewed to be number three when it comes to the U.S. presidents (Roper Center).

Works Cited

Ladd, Everett Carll. Nixon and Watergate Revisited. The Public Perspective, (1998): 25-32. Print.

Robinson, John P. Public Opinion during the Watergate Crisis. Communication Research, 1.4 (1974): 391-404. Print.

Roper Center. "The American Public's Attitudes about Richard Nixon Post-Watergate - Roper Center". Roper Center. N.p., 2017. Web. 20 Apr. 2017.

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