Watergate Scandal in the Early Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

What happened with Watergate was exactly this type of unfortunate substitute of the democratic process with the will of another institution.

The subject of the paper is very important for U.S. history exactly because of the implications of what was previously described. It is not a singular case of an American President attempting to substitute himself to the general democratic framework or usual democratic channels.

Andrew Jackson had attempted to decrease the role played by Congress and rule absolutely and despotically. Just in the same manner, the U.S. institutions (namely the legislative and judicial branches) joined together in order to ensure that President Nixon could not use his executive prerogatives to bypass some of the usual procedures and means by which things are done, including in issues concerning the national security. Ideally, Watergate should have also emphasized the idea according to which nobody is above the law. Because of the reasons previously mentioned, this was unfortunately not possible, although the fact that the President did have to resign is encouraging in this sense.

Beyond the subject of wiretapping, the fact that this was used to hamper the opposition's activities is also significantly worrying for the democratic processes. How could the President's argument that this was necessary and required by the national security interests of the country actually stand ground given the fact that the Democratic Party was the primary target of these actions? One can also understand the international context and the fact that the U.S. was involved in the Cold War with the Soviet Union and that this implied that political party in the U.S. could be financed from abroad. Still, the issue of bypassing the usual legal and legislative means still remains.

The last aspect of importance of the Watergate affair and its impact on the U.S. history was that it brought out the importance of an efficient system of checks and balances that the U.S. society had. This included not only the three branches of government, but also the press, which played an essential role in ensuring that the culprits could be followed all the way to the White House. Nobody managed to restrain the activities of the press, which shows again the importance of a free press in an operational society. All and all, it is the press that is the watch dog of society.

Book Sources:

1) American Government: Great Lives by Doris Faber and Harold Faber

Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave., NY, NY 10022. 1988. Pg. 198-203

Gives a brief history of Richard Nixon, born in 1913. U.S. Congressman; U.S. Senator; thirty-seventh President of the United States. Also gives description of Nixon's second term which became famous as the Watergate Scandal surfaced.

2) the American Story by Jennifer Armstrong

Text Copyright 2006. Random House, NY. Pg. 312-315

Gives a detailed description of the events on June 17, 1972. A guard at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C. noticed that the catch on a door to the stairwell had been taped so it wouldn't close. He became very curious and began to investigate. Within minutes police converged on the offices of the Democratic National Committee, where five men were found jimmying filing cabinets, setting up cameras, and bugging equipment. This was just one of the events, leading up to the full blown scandal.

3) Our Countries Presidents by Anne Bausum

National Geographic Society, Washington D.C. Copyright 2001. Pg 155- 157.

Gives an in depth description of Richard M. Nixon and his rise to the Presidency. It also explains how he earned the nickname, "Tricky Dick." Nixon expanded on his use of dirty tricks while he was President. He and other staff members broke laws in their efforts to discover embarrassing information about his political rivals and enemies.

4) Breech of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon by Theodore H. White.

Atheneum Publishers, NY 1975.

The story starts with the last days of Richard Nixon in the White House. Those closest and most devoted to him now realize that he had deceived them all and they must force him out of office. He then traces the story back to the beginning 20 years before. White unravels many of the situations which mystified all Americans for two years. How and why were the famous tapes conceived? Why were they not destroyed? What motivated the selfish men surrounding Nixon and how did they sidestep the law of that time to try and manipulate their plan into action? White gives credit to President Nixon for his achievements as President and peacemaker and also explains how he betrayed the American people.

5) Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate by Bob Woodward.

Simon and Schuster NY, NY. Copyright 1999.

After Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency, Gerald Ford promised a return to normalcy. "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare id over," President Ford declared. In Shadow, Bob Woodward takes a deep look into the administrations of Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush and Clinton, and describes how each discovered that the office of the Presidency was forever changed because of the Watergate Scandal. Powerful investigations increasingly took away the privacy and protections once expected by the nations chief executive.

Internet Sources:

1) www.watergate.info.com

This source gives the historical and political context of Watergate, brief biography of Richard Nixon. Also gives a detailed study of Nixon's resignation speech on August 8, 1974. There is also a brief timeline of events. Also gives a transcript of the Smoking Gun tape, June 23, 1972. Also included are detailed information about the impeachment and Judiciary Committee Hearings.

2) www.americanhistory.about.com/watergate

This source gives a word-for-word account of President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, September 8, 1974. It also gives a brief response from Nixon himself. Also describes the aftermath of Watergate and the subsequent events. This article answers many of the questions people had in regards to Watergate; example what was CREEP?, who was Deep Throat? Etc.

3) www.foxnews.com

Fast Facts; Watergate Scandal. Article dated May 31, 2005 -- Associated Press.

This gives the basic information detailing Watergate, and also a timeline of events. Information can also be found regarding the politics of the early 1970s involving the Republican and Democratic Parties. This source tells the story about an investigation into the break in of a hotel, residential and office complex in Washington D.C. And ends with the detailed resignation of a U.S. President. Richard Nixon is the only U.S. President to have ever resigned from the office of the President.

4) www.washingtonpost.com

This source offers a four part investigation into the full Watergate story. Part one, the Post investigates. Part two, the government acts. Part three Nixon resigns. Part four Deep Throat revealed. Also, details an article about Mark Felt who was the most famous, anonymous source in the Watergate Scandal.

5) www.bucknakedpolitics.com

Watergate investigations dragged on for two years before President Nixon resigned from office. There were many Executive Branch abuses of power and many crimes were uncovered, causing enormous ripple effects. This article simplifies the overview of the scandal in 13 separate topics. The first being, the arrest of the five men at the Watergate and the last being Deep Throat, which was the code name of Woodward and Bernstein's secret source. Later to be discovered as W. Mark Felt.


1) www.britannica.com

This web site gives a brief explanation of which Frank Wills was, and his involvement in the Watergate scandal. It also provides and exact copy of his Watergate security log. Frank Wells was the original security guard who tipped the police to the break in. On this web site you can also find anything and everything detailing the events leading up to the Watergate Scandal, as well as the aftermath.

2) www.encyclopedia.com -- a dictionary of Contemporary World History 2004, originally published…

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