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Nixon and Watergate Scandal, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1235

Essay

The Watergate scandal is an important even that forever changed America’s political direction. On June 17, 1972, President Nixon directed a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. (DeLay & Stoff). The specific facility that was invaded is known as the Watergate office complex. After directing the attack, Nixon attempted to hide his involvement. Fortunately for the American people, Congress investigated this invasion; all while Nixon’s actions to fight against the investigation were highly suspicious. This event has important implications with regards to how the government is conducted in the United States because it shows how politicians, including even the president, could take advantage of their power. Because of this event, there was a need to establish more oversight into the checks and balances of the government to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

The Watergate scandal is one of the most important events in American history because it shows the great lengths to which leaders can abuse their powers and violate the trust of the people. As a consequence, this scandal is one of the most discussed historical events in modern history and politics discussions. While Nixon was primarily in charge of this scandal, he was able to take advantage of many other people to help him carry out this crime. In particular, he knew that there were certain people he could trust and certain people that he would have to eliminate to effectively carry out this mission. Specifically, several lead figures were dismissed from their positions and examined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (Waldron). These actions were taken so that it would be easier for Nixon to uphold his power and take action without recourse from these individuals. Furthermore, more than 48 people were found to be guilty in association with Nixon’s action. Thus, Nixon had strengthened his power and was engaged in unethical action in order to secure power. This event will continue to go down in history because the extent of negative influence Nixon exerted on others and for the clear abuse of power that allowed him to be involved in such a scandal.

An additional reason that the Watergate scandal is one of the most important events of its time is that it led to Nixon’s resignation. This is an interesting event because before this point in history, no other president had resigned from his post. It is likely that Nixon did this because he was afraid of being impeached. In addition, removing himself from office is a clear sign of guilt. Even though Nixon worked hard to seemingly detach himself from involvement in the Watergate scandal, it was challenging for him to cover up a case in which he encouraged so many people to become actively involved. Thus, to protect his image, Nixon was essentially left without additional options because he was certain that the investigation would eventually prove his guilt.

An additional reason that the Watergate scandal left such a significant mark on American politics is the fact that after the scandal, election results started to show that people had less trust for Republican candidates. During the senate and house elections that occurred several months after the scandal, five Democrats joined the Senate and forty-nine Democrats joined the House. Thus, this scandal demonstrated to the American people and to politicians that it is important for politicians to act as ethical representatives for their parties. Deviating from these values will make them appear negative in the eyes of the public, which will also negatively impact their ability to pass desired legislation. Therefore, this caught the attention of the major political parties and made them recognize that public image is one of the leading factors that will help candidates become elected. Since this point in time, there has been a bigger concern with regards to image and less of a concern on policies. Modern politics places emphasis on the appearance and ethics of the candidate in addition to the issues because people wish to avoid unnecessary violations similar to the Watergate trial.

An additional result of the Watergate scandal is linked to some of the feelings that modern voters feel today. Many people believe that the federal government has too much power and is therefore able to infringe upon the personal rights of citizens. A key example of a federal initiative that was hidden from the populace is the operations that are undertaken by the NSA. Americans were furious to have learned that their private phone calls and communications are being stored in a database to monitor for terrorism for the use of national protection. Because the government was able to implement this without our knowing, it is clear that not only is the federal government able to take action that is against our wishes, it is possible for them to do so without our knowing (Doyle). The Watergate scandal therefore introduced the understanding that we are not fully aware of governmental operations and that we may be powerless to stop unethical activity. As a consequence, we must place trust in Congress because this is the one organization that is able to provide oversight to regulate the federal government.

After resolving the Watergate scandal after Nixon’s removal from the office of president, it was found that the United States had been in a state of emergency since 1950 (Hougan). This shows that it is damaging to keep secrets from Congress and from the people because these are events that directly play into the daily lives of citizens. Overall, it is beneficial to find new ways to help the government remain regulated in the manner that was intended by the forefathers in the Constitution. By gaining an understanding of checks and balances, it is easy to see how the government could become corrupt. However, it is valuable for these understandings to be used in a manner that points towards reasonable solutions.

In conclusion, the Watergate scandal is one of the most significant events in this time period because it changed the way that people think about the federal government. Even the president of the United States has motives that may not be beneficial to the citizens of the country. It is therefore beneficial to ensure that Congress is willing and able to impose relevant restrictions on the president in order to prevent him from taking actions that are actively detrimental to the American people. The Watergate scandal emphasizes the importance of checks and balances in a democratic system, and provides an important message concerning the need for ethics to be in place in the government.

Works Cited

DeLay & Stoff. Volume 2: 1865 U.S. Seventh Edition, 2014.

Doyle, James. Not Above the Law: the battles of Watergate prosecutors Cox and Jaworski. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1977.

Hougan, J. Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA. New York: Random House, Inc., 1984.

Waldron, Lamar. The Hidden History. Berkeley, California: Counterpoint publishers, 2012.

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