The Watergate Scandal and its Effect on America
U.S. History Period 7
The Watergate Scandal will likely go down as the biggest presidential scandal in U.S. history. It involved a variety of illegal activities with the objective of helping President Richard Nixon win re-election. The scandal involved campaign wiretapping, burglary, financing violations, and the use of government agencies with the intent to harm political opponents[footnoteRef:0]. The cover-up of these illegal actions also played a major role. However, Watergate was different from previous political scandals, personal greed was not the apparent incentive. Instead what Watergate attacked was free and open elections, one of the main features of democracy. Watergate was the first political scandal that had a large lasting impact on American society. The American political system was shaped drastically by Watergate. This is because it caused Americans to have distrust in their politicians. This event blew the whistle on corruption occurring in the presidency. Comment by Julia Jensen: thesis Comment by Julia Jensen: attack was on/ targeting (?) free and open elections Comment by Julia Jensen: try to use complex sentences so your paper reads more smoothly [0: Karimi, Faith. “Watergate scandal: A look back at crisis that changed US politics.” CNN Politics. Last modified May 17, 2017. Accessed March 19, 2018.]
The Watergate Scandal is named after the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. The office building was not only the site of the Democratic National Headquarters, but also the site of the break-in that gave way to the largest scandal in American Politics.[footnoteRef:1] Watergate was a series of break-ins involving illegal activities such as beating up political opposition physically, stealing memos, wiretapping opponents, breaking into psychiatrist’s offices, firebombing think tanks.[footnoteRef:2] The break-in took place on June 17, 1972, with the arrest of five men carrying $3,500 in cash along with high-end surveillance and electronic equipment for breaking into the Watergate Complex.[footnoteRef:3] They were all a part of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP).[footnoteRef:4] What they were attempting to do was fix a broken phone tap that they had installed about a month prior. The next few months was what turned this minor break-in into a full blown political scandal. When questioned, Nixon had always denied any linkage of the break-in to the White House. Evidence was uncovered later in 1973 that linked several White House officials to the break-in, along with the concealment of the evidence[footnoteRef:5]. The Watergate trial ended in 1974, it resulted in the only resignation of a U.S. president to date.[footnoteRef:6] [1: Perlstein, Rick. “Watergate scandal.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed March 19, 2018.] [2: The Final Report: Watergate. National Geographic. January 7, 2017. Accessed April 3, 2018] [3: Perlstein, Rick. “Waterg...