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The Watergate Crisis

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Essay title: The Watergate Crisis

Richard Nixon's presidency is one of the most examined,

analyzed and discussed, yet least understood, of all the

American administrations in history (Genovese 1). While

many factors still remain to be discovered, and many

mysteries are left to be resolved, we need to do the best that

we can to make sense of this secretive president of our past

and his era. He is the one American figure about whom very

few people don't have strong feelings for. Nixon is loved and

hated, honored and mocked (Genovese 2).

The term 'Watergate', labeled by Congress in 1974, stands for

not only the burglary, but also for the numerous instances of

officially sanctioned criminal activity and abuses of power as

well as the obstruction of justice that preceded the actual

break-in (Kutler 9). Watergate involved the political behavior of

the President and his men, beginning during Nixon's first term

and extending to his resignation. Some of the criminal

behavior was a result of the disastrous events of the 1960's.

These events include the civil rights movement, the controlling

of cities and most importantly, the Vietnam War (Kutler 9). In

H. R. Haldeman's book The Ends of Power, he quotes, 'I

firmly believe that without the Vietnam War, there would've

been no Watergate' (Haldeman 79). He goes on to say that

the Vietnam War destroyed Nixon as completely as it ruined

Johnson.

Originating in Kennedy's term, Vietnam grew to be even more

of a disaster after his assassination. The tidal wave of

problems crashed abruptly on Johnson, who consequently

made them worse. The American society was dividing.

Furious protests made Johnson portray a scapegoat for the

nation's anxieties (Kutler 10). Then Nixon stepped into the

picture in the presidential elections of 1968. He was

successful with 43.6 percent over Humprey's 42.7 percent

and Wallace's 13.5 percent (Genovese 6). He promised that

he would "bring us together". The riots grew and the divisions

widened.

The day it all began was a Sunday, May 28, 1972. The

contrasts that were taking place on this day were

extraordinary. President Richard Nixon was in Moscow,

nearing the climax of the first-ever summit to be held between

American and Soviet Presidents (Emery 3). Five thousand

miles away, in Washington, D.C., it was a different story.

There was also a first-time event happening in our nation's

capital, but it was not something to be proud of. The first of

several illegal break-ins into the Democratic National

Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate Complex

was in effect (Emery 3).

In Moscow, Nixon was planning a television speech to

present to the Russian people, a speech that would be

considered one of his best. It was an inspiring speech that

would remove the fear that he believed restrained the

Americans and the Soviets from better relationships in the

past. Meanwhile, in Washington, the President's election staff

was overcome with a different fear.

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