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What was the watergate scandal and what was its effect on American politics - Essay Example

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on June 17, 1972. The break-in into the DNC’s offices was perceived as a unique burglary linking back to 1960s harsh politics,…
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What was the watergate scandal and what was its effect on American politics
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The Watergate Scandal and Its Effect on American Politics The Watergate scandal is a burglary that occurred inDemocratic National Committee (DNC) office at Watergate building located in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 1972. The break-in into the DNC’s offices was perceived as a unique burglary linking back to 1960s harsh politics, which fueled enmity between contesting political candidates and their parties. By the time president Richard M. Nixon was pursuing re-election in 1972, the United States was deeply engrossed in the Vietnam War, which ran from 1955-1975 and riddled with serious internal divisions.
President Nixon was out to achieve his re-election ambition through whatever means. The idea of pursuing re-election through draconian means seemed attractive to him and his consultants. However, their approach to re-election campaign turned out to be an illegal act. As revealed in May 1972 evidence following the NDC’s office break-in, it emerged that the members of the re-election committee of President Nixon were the culprits of the Watergate burglary. Many intruders, who were linked to the reelection campaign of Nixon, were caught trying to wiretap phones and filch confidential documents (Vaughn 579).
Owing to the failure of the wiretaps, the burglars would soon return to the Watergate office on June 17, 1972 to rectify the fault. Unfortunately, a security guard detected when they tapped the locks to Watergate building using a microphone. The guard informed the police of the incident and it was fortunate that the police wasted no time and caught the burglars red-handed (Vaughn 579). Despite the fact that the link between the burglars and President Nixon initially remained oblivious, the link would later be established when detectives identified white house contact of the president’s re-election committee in the baggage of the intruders. President Nixon gave a public speech on August 1972 distancing himself and his office from the burglary. Consequently, he won the trust of most voters, which handed him a landslide victory in November election (Vaughn 579).
Nixon later planned financial reward for the burglars to cover up for the crime. However, the plan failed when some of his confidants yielded to the cover-up pressure revealing that the president orchestrated the burglary. Some of his aides were incarcerated in 1973. Nixon was pressured to produce the Oval Office’s taped conversation, which he allegedly possessed. When he finally handed over some of the tapes, the cover up began to blow apart in early 1974. In July 1974, the House of Representatives impeached the president for obstructing justice when he refused to hand over the tapes in his possession as was directed by the Supreme Court. Nixon eventually released the tapes on August 5, which clearly indicated that the he was behind the burglary. On august 8, he resigned from presidency paving way for President Gerald Ford, who was sworn in six weeks later (Vaughn 579).
The Watergate scandal brought some major reforms in the U.S. The public as well as the media in the post-Watergate scandal now conduct robust background scrutiny of public office contenders than ever before. The scandal led to the demand for availability of records of government meetings to the general public. The Watergate saw significant reforms in the federal open-records. In 176, the Government in Sunshine Act was ratified, which was also followed by the passing of the Ethics in Government Act as well as the Presidential Records Act in 1978 (Genovese and Farrar-Myers 157).
The Watergate scandal was fanned by greed for re-election on the part of the then President Nixon in 1972. The scandal involved stealing confidential information and tapping conversations of DNC by Nixon’s re-election committee members. Even though the Watergate scandal was a reflection of abuse of power, it also created positive legacies that live to date. The scandal would later affect political landscape in America through uncovering the need for public office contenders by the media and public. It also led to massive federal reforms that have since been the foundation of good governance in America.
Works Cited
Genovese, Michael A. and Victoria A. Farrar-Myers. Corruption and American Politics. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2010. Print.
Vaughn, Stephen L. Encyclopedia of American Journalism. New York, NY: Routledge, 2007. Print. Read More
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