“I’m not a crook”, said Nixon. It all started with hissecond term of presidency when one night five men were arrested for burglary inthe White House Watergate office. This led to many suspicions about what actuallyhappened that night. MaybeNixon’s second term was planned from day one. It could all have beenjust a lie.
Maybe Nixon was hiding what he knew. There is evidence that hedidn’t want to reveal. All of this led to a giant situation and a bigsuspicion. “Crisis can indeed be an agony”. When the name Watergate is spoken we think of scandal inthe White House, lying, and a long investigation.
The Watergate hotel wasluxurious, stylish, and futuristic. It was constructed by a political scienceteacher from Australia. The first parts of the building were completed in September1964. The building consisted of luxurypenthouses and high class, arrogant people. Only the wealthy could afford it.In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Watergate apartments and offices wereknown to be commonly used by the Democratic Party. But later, no resident ofthe Watergate apartments would suspect the name of their home would be foreveraltered.
In the late 1960s,when Richard Nixon was running for president, the U.S. was mourning the deathof two influential people, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Followingthe death of King, riots broke out across the country. To add to the tension,many students and young Americans were protesting the war in Vietnam. Nixonpromised to restore order if he were to be elected. The Democrats, who hadcontrol of Congress, were prepared to block many of Nixon’s plans.
A committeecalled CREEP (committee to re-elect the president) began its corrupt path togetting Nixon into office again. Even going so far as to break into theDemocratic Party’s National Committee headquarters located in the Watergateoffice in the nation’s capital. June 17, 1972 was thedate of the Watergate break-in. The five men who broke in attempted to bug theoffices, take photographs of file drawer documents, and steal over $2,000 incash.
They were trying to find secretdocuments and “dirt” on the Democratic National party that could help reelectPresident Nixon. The men involved were Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, andEugenio Martinez. These men were Cuban exiles from Miami.
Two other men whowere associated with the burglary were ex-CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and ex-FBIagent G. Gordon Liddy. All the men were carrying lock picks, tear-gas guns,cameras, and electronic listening devices for the break-in. They were alsocarrying brand new one hundred dollar bills.
The men were caught by a Watergatehotel security guard. Several men including Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, JohnMitchell, Gordon Strachan, Robert Mardian, Kenneth Parkinson, and CharlesColson were eventually indicted by a grand jury for cover-up of the Watergateburglary.Initially, the crimewas not taken too seriously. People thought it was just a botched burglaryattempt.
Nixon denied all rumors thatthe White House had a role in the break-in. Americans believed Nixon in thebeginning. Investigators later learned that some of the men in the burglary werepart of the Nixon reelection committee. This created suspicion which lead tothe launch of a full investigation. TheWhiteHouse tried to contain the investigation by making it very difficult to getinformation. The goal was to keep Nixon unattached to the scandal and to keepthe burglars quiet.
One of many problems the White House faced during this timecame from former White House lawyer, John Dean. The FBI revealed that Dean hadsat in on interviews they conducted during the Watergate investigation. Nixonrefused to allow Dean to testify and argued Dean should only be allowed to talkabout things that could be harmful the public.
Dean knew a lot of informationthat would embarrass the President. Another problem that arose during the courseof the Watergate scandal came from the burglars themselves. Most of the men thatplayed a role in the break-in wanted some sort of payment to keep quiet.
Theburglars threatened tell everything if they weren’t promised some money inreturn. Nixon eventually decided to pay the burglars for their silence but thenthere was no one to take the fall for this crime so things began to unravel asthe burglars started talking.One of the burglarsmentioned the names of John Dean and Jeb Magruder, a Deputy Director of CREEP.Not long after, both Dean and Magruder decided to tell the truth and the storyof Watergate. After this information was revealed, the White House went into panicmode. The FBI director, Patrick Gray, resigned after it was discovered that hehad destroyed some evidence relating to Watergate. Then, Nixon fired Dean afterhe had revealed that two of Nixon’s top aides, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman,were involved in the cover up.
Soon after, Haldeman and Ehrlichman resigned. James McCord, who hadworked for the CIA and the Nixon reelection committee, also revealedinformation that would put Nixon in a bad light. McCord wrote a letter to JudgeSirica that revealed that the defendants were pressured into pleading guiltyand remaining silent. The letter caused an uproar and made many Americansbelieve that Nixon had been involved in the scandal from the beginning.
As thescandal revealed more during the trials and testimonies of many witnesses, theAmerican people began to lose trust in the government. This trust was further tested when White Houseofficial, Alexander P. Butterfield, revealed that Nixon had been tape-recordingconversations in the Oval Office. Americans seemed to disapprove of the buggingas well as Nixon’s actions when he refused to give the tapes for theinvestigation. Nixon used the excuse that the tapes would bring harm to futurepresidents. He offered a compromise suggesting the White House could listen tothe tapes and give a summary to prosecutor Archibald Cox and to the SenateWatergate Committee.
Cox refused to go along with Nixon’s plans so Nixon hadCox fired and the investigation was sent back to the Justice Department. Nixon eventually providedthe tapes to Judge Sirica although one of them had an eighteen minute gap. JudgeSirica was shocked by the content of the tapes. Nixon used vulgar language andethnic insults. The tapes also discussed blackmail to keep people quiet. As the president’spopularity declined, many Americans called for his impeachment. In a nationally televised speech, Nixon promised to neverresign from office, but it became clear that he was involved in the Watergatescandal and the cover up. On August 9, 1974, Richard M.
Nixon became the firstpresident ever to resign. Nixon knew he would have to spend all his time tryingto defend himself and not on the issues of America. On the same day heresigned, Vice President Ford was sworn in as the new president of the UnitedStates. Was Watergatenecessary? Nixon used campaign funds to hire men to spy on the Democrats inorder to win the election. As the election came and went, it proved that he didnot need to do these horrible things.
Nixon won the 1972 election with 62% ofthe overall votes over George McGovern. Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, Californiain 1913. After completing his undergraduate studies at Whittier College, hegraduated from Duke University School of Law and returned to California topractice law.
He and his wife Pat moved to Washington in 1942 to work for the federalgovernment. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Hewas the running mate of Dwight D.
Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidentialnominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as vice president,becoming the second-youngest vice president in history at age 40. In 1960,Nixon beat out Vice President Hubert H.Humphrey to run as the Republican Party presidential candidate. He ran an unsuccessful presidentialcampaign, barely losing to John F. Kennedy.
He then lost a race for Governor ofCalifornia to Pat Brown in 1962. He moved his family to New York and became apartner in a leading Wall Street law firm in 1963 claiming he was done withpolitics.In 1964, Nixon campaigned for republican presidentialnominee, Barry Goldwater, and was one of the few not blamed for the lack ofsuccess. Then again in 1968,he ran for the presidency and was elected, defeating incumbent Vice President HubertHumphrey.
After Nixon’sresignation he wrote a series of books that tells the story of his lifeincluding: RN:Memories of Richard Nixon, The Real War, Leaders; Real Peace: A Strategy forthe West, No More Vietnamese, In the Arena and Beyond Peace.In Conclusion, The Watergate scandal was a series of lies,triumph, and defeat. Nixon was in his second term of presidency when the publicrealized what was really happening.
This event will change the perspective ofpolitics forever. But everyone knows you have to move on from defeat and thatis exactly what President Nixon did. On September 8, 1974, President Ford granted Nixon a “full, free, andabsolute pardon”, which ended any possibility of an indictment.