For my signature assignment, I chose the Watergate scandal and the far-reaching effects of its cover-ups! The Watergate Scandal happened in 1972 and involved a number of legal actions designed to assist President Richard Nixon to win his re-election. It involved wiretapping, campaign financing regulations, burglary, and the use of the government’s power to jeopardize the other candidates. The thieves were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign and had been caught stealing documents and wiretapping phones. This impacted many things including government power, media, politics, society, and culture but overall the direct impact it had was the resignation of Nixon.
President Nixon denied any involvement and knowledge about the actions resulting in him winning the 1972 election. Although after an ongoing investigation, investigators found that he attempted in hiding the burglaries by bribing and paying them off. He even fired government officials and destroying any evidence of his involvement. Nixon never admitted to any criminal actions but did acknowledge using poor judgment. In the tapes recovered by investigators, Nixon is heard stating Going after all these Jews. Just find one that is a Jew, will you ().
In November 1971, Indira Gandhi visited the White House to try to make peace because of the tensions between India and Pakistan. Nixon’s recorded conversations with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger during that time uncovered the disrespectful comments for the prime minister of India. He says We really slobbered over that old witch (). The most shocking tapes were when Nixon was heard talking about the scandal telling the crooks Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it ().
After the Watergate Scandal citizens began an to question the foundation of our government, the separation of powers that the founding fathers had been so proud of. The government has been criticized countless times for keeping important information from the American people. Immediately following the scandal; changes were made to the political system. When the scandal was put on the air for the world to see, citizens were outraged. The influence on how the media portrayed the scandal created a barrier of aggression between the government and the media. Without Washington Post journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward the Watergate Scandal would have never been a scandal.
The reporters claimed that they had not even known the names of the top government officials in Nixon’s administration (). Following the day after the Watergate Hotel break-in, Bernstein and Woodward issued their report on the Watergate Scandal showing that among the burglars was a member of Nixon’s reelection committee.
After this outbreak, Nixon became more conservative towards the media shutting down connections he had with media. He then provided the press with only brief press releases limiting and choosing his words carefully.
Before lawyers were thought to be fair and want justice for whom they are representing but after the Watergate scandal. As Nixon’s case was being investigated his legal counsel John Dean testified to Congress while providing names that he had suspected to be involved in the scandal. He stated that it was a Conspiracy of obstruction of justice because more than half of the names listed were marked with a star meaning those were lawyers. Today professional ethics education are required in law school because of the Watergate scandal as well as having to take an ethics exam in order to get licensed.
In conclusion, the Watergate Scandal showed that the President was not above the law, and it nearly destroyed the remaining faith in American Politics people had. Recently, it resulted in Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s being investigated prior to the election. The Watergate Scandal was an important mark in history that made citizens re-think about trusting the government. It weakened and brought down the power they so rightfully owned and today have changed their ways in order to prevent something like this to happen once more.