Chapter Richard Nixon and Watergate Scandal
Chapter Richard Nixon and Watergate Scandal
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Born on January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California into a modest Quaker family, he spent his youth working hard and studying. A brilliant scholar, Dick Nixon graduated second in his class from Whittier College (1934), then third in his class from Duke University Law School (1937). Nixon practiced law in his hometown in Whittier, California from 1937 to 1942.
Richard Milhous Nixon, the thirty-seventh President of the United States (1969-74) became President in 1969 after defeating Lyndon Johnson’s Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, in one of the closest elections in US history. Nixon won that election by only one percent of the popular vote. Nixon was the second youngest Vice President and the first Californian to serve in the White House. He was also the first Vice President to be elected President, but not to succeed the President under whom he had served. He was also the first President to resign the presidency. Richard Nixon was a controversial President, nicknamed “Tricky Dick” and demonized by some, while admired by others for his accomplishments.
Nixon Domestic Policy
- Nixon and Economic Policies
The American economy was shaking by time Nixon took the presidency due the Vietnam War. Nixon Passed Economic Stabilization Act in 1970 which reduced unemployment in America and brought prosperity back.
- Civil Rights
In addition to reconcile public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970 the first significant federal affirmative action program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification. Nixon had campaigned as an ERA supporter in 1968.
Nixon also Passed Equal Employment Opportunity Act and Comprehensive Child Development Act 1970 (universal child care bill) which helped in eradication of child labor from American society.
- New Federalism
New Federalism is a political ideology that feels certain powers should be transferred from the Federal Government back to the State Government. It would restore some of the autonomy and power the states had before FDR’s New Deal and the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s.
- Space Program
After a nearly decade-long national effort, the United States won the race to land astronauts on the moon on July 20, 1969, with the flight of Apollo 11 landed on the moon and
- Neil Armstrong
- Edwin Eldrin
- And Michal Collin
became the first to land on the moon. These historic scenes were telecasted live worldwide.
Nixon Foreign Policy
Nixon’s goal is to be a great peacemaker works closely with Henry Kissinger Nixon initiates secret talks with North Vietnamese plans to withdraw American troops and replace them with South Vietnamese in 1969 states that the Cold War should be a thing of the past Russian summit communication with Communist China first American troops withdraw from Vietnam arms control talks begin
- Vietnam War
Vietnam War Started in 1969 at was at its peak when Nixon was in office. He adopted a process of gradual withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam to save American life and expenses. The President withdrew 70,000 US troops from Vietnam in 1972.
- Relation with China
Since China was a communist country and there was no concept of US relation with any communist country before his presidency. Nixon was the 1st President to announce a surprising visit to china which developed cordial relationship between the two countries.
- Relation with USSR
Nixon used the improving international environment to address the topic of nuclear peace. Following the announcement of his visit to China, the Nixon administration concluded negotiations for the president to visit the Soviet Union. The president and first lady arrived in Moscow on May 22, 1972 and met with Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party and other leading Soviet officials.
Nixon engaged in intense negotiations with Brezhnev. Out of the summit came agreements for increased trade and two landmark arms control treaties:
The first comprehensive limitation pact signed by the two superpowers:
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty:
This treaty banned the development of systems designed to intercept incoming missiles. Nixon and Brezhnev proclaimed a new era of “peaceful coexistence. Having made considerable progress over the previous two years in US-Soviet relations, Nixon embarked on a second trip to the Soviet Union in 1974. He arrived in Moscow on June 27 to a welcome ceremony, cheering crowds, and a state dinner at the Grand Kremlin Palace that evening. Nixon and Brezhnev met in Yalta, where they discussed a proposed mutual defense pact, Détente (a term usually associated with the relations between America, Russia and China).
Yum Kippur War and Support to Israel
When an Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria attacked in October 1973, beginning the Yom Kippur War, Israel suffered initial losses. The US took no action for several days, until Nixon ordered an airlift to Israel, taking personal responsibility for any response by Arab nations. Nixon cut through inter-departmental squabbles and bureaucracy to initiate an airlift of American arms. By the time the US and Soviet Union negotiated a truce, Israel had penetrated deep into enemy territory.
The war resulted in the 1973 oil crisis, in which Arab nations refused to sell crude oil to the US in retaliation for its support of Israel. The embargo caused gasoline shortages and rationing in the United States in late 1973, and was eventually ended by the oil-producing nations as peace took hold. Kissinger played a major role in the settlement, and was also able to reestablish US relations with Egypt for the first time since 1967.
Nixon Watergate Scandal
The Watergate Scandal refers to a series of events that occurred between 1972 and 1974. The scandal got its name from the burglary at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel Complex in Washington, D.C.
Evidence found on one of the burglars implied a possible link to the White House and prompted an investigation. Over the next two years, the unlawful acts were committed on behalf of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP), which was later referred to as CREEP. The reputations of many politicians were tarnished by the scandal, which ultimately resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP)
In June 1972, five men were arrested while breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. After it was revealed that one of the men arrested was James McCord, the security coordinator for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), the White House denied any culpability for the break-in.
Nixon 2nd victory as President
Nixon went on to win a landslide victory for a second term over Democratic candidate Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, but the Watergate scandal would not go away.
Administration’s involvement in the burglar
The investigative reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the Washington Post prompted the Senate in February 1973 to open hearings on the administration’s involvement in the burglary. Televised Watergate hearings began in May 1973. The American people were shocked as the widening scandal unfolded with testimony about the Nixon administration’s enemies list, misuse of government agencies, and trading for political favors.
Saturday Night Massacre:
When the Senate committee learned about the taping system in the Oval Office in July 1973, it demanded that the tapes be turned over. Nixon claimed executive privilege and refused to give them up. In October 1973, he ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating the matter for the Justice Department. Richardson refused and resigned, as did the deputy attorney general. When Nixon ordered Solicitor General Robert Bork to fire Cox, Bork complied, and Leon Jowarski replaced Cox. The resignations and dismissal became known as the Saturday Night Massacre.
Charges on President and Judicial Committee
As the Watergate scandal continued, Vice President Agnew resigned and pleaded no contest to charges of income tax evasion and bribery in a case stemming from his term as governor of Maryland. Nixon named Congressman Gerald Ford as the new vice president, and Congress confirmed the appointment. After a year of legal wrangling, the Supreme Court ordered the president to turn over the Oval Office tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, which was considering impeachment, in July 1974.
Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974, and Gerald Ford became president.