Chapter 32: The Crisis of Authority


Student Name AP US History Period 2 April 21, 2008

DQ #8: Detail the rampant corruption of the Nixon Administration. What was the “crime” committed by Nixon and how did this lead to his resignation?
Major Reasons for Nixon’s Behavior A. Personality---defensive, secretive, resentful of critics, subconscious of public image B. Beliefs---believe that U.S. faced danger from radicals and dissidents within the nation; considered any challenge to his policies a threat to “national security”= personal defense becomes national defense C. Changing Presidency a.public expectations of the president increased dramatically since WWII b.presidential actions constrained by media, interest groups, & Congress---presidents sought ways to circumvent c.Nixon faced w/ obstacles from Democratic Congress Scandals & Corruptions Before Watergate A. Phone Tapping: a.started 1969- Nixon and Henry Kissinger tapped phones of numerous journalists & admin. officials in an effort to stop info. leaks to press, like news about secret bombing of Cambodia b.created a group of “plumbers” to stop leaks & discredit opponents; also had an “enemies list” of Americans opposing Nixon, Vietnam War, or both B. 1971 Burglary of Dr. Lewis Fielding: search for psychiatric records of Daniel Ellsberg (leaked Pentagon Papers to press) C. FBI Investigation of CBS news reporter Daniel Schorr: Nixon ordered for investigation after Schorr reported critically on admin. D. Possible Assassination of Jack Anderson: Talk by Nixon’s aide G. Gordon Liddy to have J. Anderson (controversial newspaper columnist) killed Watergate Crisis A. Watergate Break-in a.June 17, 1972- police arrested five men who had broken into offices of Democratic National Committee in Watergate building; 2 more seized & charged with supervising break-in---they were bugging the office & trying to find secret documents b.reporters from Washington Post discovered those involved were former employees of CRP (CREEP)—paid to execute break-in from secret fund of CRP B. The Failed Cover-Up a.Under prodding from federal judge John J. Sirica---James W. McCord (March 1973) wrote letter to judge charging a “cover-up” of burglary---promise of money & pardons from White House staff to keep thieves quiet conclusive evidence that Nixon planned or approve the plan---yet, mounting proof of his involvement in obstruction of investigations & withholding information c.Senate investigating committee led by Democrat Sam Ervin (N.C.)---exposed John Dean (White House lawyer), John Mitchell (Attorney General), H.R. Haldeman & John Ehrlichman (W. House assistants) C. Watergate Tapes & Saturday Night Massacre a.disclosure regarding W.House taping system in Oval office---hold possible evidence against president b.Nixon, exercising “executive privilege”, refused to release them c.“Saturday Night Massacre” (October 20, 1973)--Archibald Cox (president-appointed prosecutor) fired after trying to force Nixon to relinquish tapesresulted in the resignation of both Attorney General Elliot Richardson & deputy d.made predicament even worse---Nixon pressured to appointed Leon Jaworski as special prosecutor (equally determined as Cox to sway Nixon to give up tapes); led to HoR investigation for possible impeachment D. United States vs. Richard M. Nixon a.April 1974: president released transcripts of some relevant conversations (claiming they proved his innocence)---instead suggested more of his complicity with cover-up b.July 24,1974: Supreme Court ruled Nixon must give up tapes to Jaworski—did so on July 30, 1974 c.House Judiciary Committee—recommended 3 articles of impeachment: 1. obstructed justice in Watergate cover-up 2. misused federal agencies to violate the rights of citizens



3. defied the authority of Congress by refusing to deliver tapes & other materials subpoenaed by committee d.early August 1974: “smoking gun”--- concrete proof of Nixon’s guilt (president ordered FBI to stop investigating) IV. The Resignation--- Fall of Richard Nixon A. Threat of Impeachment ---Nixon told by Rep. senators that there were enough votes to convict him--resigned on August 9, 1974 (1st president to do so) B. The Power of Media a.hearings were brought to the attention of Americans through televised broadcasting--exposed to American public the tainted government---Nixon’s reputations also ruined (lost virtually all wide popularity) b.many expressed relief & exhilaration---“Our long national nightmare is over.”---Gerald Ford V. The Significance of Watergate Scandal A. The Power of “Checks & Balances”: final outcome of scandal---proof that constitutional system worked as intended B. The Danger of Concentrated Executive: underlined danger of too much executive power--- fed. gov’t- loss of credibility CONCLUSION:

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