The Watergate is one of the most famous scandals ever witnessed in the world. It occurred in the United States of America in the 1970’s, leaving traces that have formed part of the America’s history. It is an event that is known to have effected into great political and social changes in the United States of America.
It is termed as Watergate since its initiation involved a break-in to the Democratic national committee headquarters situated Watergate complex, in Washington D.C. At the same time, it was referred to as a scandal since it involved a long sequence of events following one another, i.e., starting with a simple attack but leading to very pronounced consequences, both to the involved individuals and the general public (Anderson 43). The scandal was characterized by very extreme cases of corruption, the break in, influence of mass media across the country, a prominent cover up involving major government official, and finally led to a first incidence where a president resigned before completing his term (Kaplan, 336). The investigations to this scandal revealed the involvement of prominent government officials in the whole affair, which deemed them untrustworthy as leaders of such a nation. There were many reasons behind the occurrence of the scandal, some of which have never been established, since the investigations could not come up with the main reason for the occurrence of the great scandal that caused a great concern throughout the nation.
The scandal had very impetuous impacts on the involved parties, i.e., the five burglars were arrested, many officials in the president’s office were forced to resign after great trials in court and convictions, the mass media influenced the public in major ways, including producing contradicting information about the whole issue. The scandal would be concluded to have its roots in the political rivalries, as a result of the ongoing campaigns by then. The campaigns are revealed to have had a lot of financial frauds at the period, which majorly involved the government officials. The burglars were considered to have been paid, and the payments were connected to mire finance that had been used by the election committee in the 1972, for the purpose of re-electing the president by the FBI.
In an investigation carried out by the Senate Watergate committee revealed that the offices of President Nickson had a tape recording structure, which he used to record conversations. Additionally, the former office staff testified the then operating staff, this serving as evidence that all of them were involved in the scandal in one way or the other. The revelations of the tapes form the presidents office led to several convictions of the involved individuals including Richard Nickson the president. The scandal saw the president resign when he was summoned by the House of Representatives, almost leading to his conviction.
The sequence of events that characterized the scandal were very dramastic, and whose way was paved by a break-in event, whose background was a corrupt government institution (Anderson, 79).
Impact of corruption in the government institution
The government institution by then was under the President, Richard Nickson, Having risen to power with not much opposition from his rivals. The cases of corruption were rampant during the election time, as evidenced by the money that the burglars had at the time of their arrest. The police found them with notes which had serial numbers that were following each other, showing that they must have come from the same bank and at the same time, the conclusion being that the money must have been given to them form a common source. During the elections, there had been well wisher groups and individuals who had chosen to give their funds to the election committee, for the purpose of re-electing the president (Kuper 15). The investigations that were conducted provided clear evidence, by revealing some of the government officials that were convicted under the cases of corruption.
Jim McCord, who was among the arrested burglars during the break-in’s Saturday night, was a Securicor at the President’s re-election committee. The committee had been set up to oversee the re-election of the president. A diary that contained the phone number of Horward Hunt and Gordon Liddy was found by the investigation committee. The two held the positions of an intelligence government officer and a member of the white house plumbers respectively. These were positions that implied that a surreptitious panel of operatives was working for the white house. The investigations revealed the two as the masterminds behind the initial break-in at the office of the Democratic national committee. The investigating committee revealed that according to the findings, there had been a large team that had been paid in order to spy the Democratic Party.
Further evidence was provided by a cashier’s cheque that was included in a suspected burglar’s account, which showed a clear mark specifically inscribed for the purpose of the re-election campaigns; indeed, such evidence was very vital since it provided some clear information on one of the most un-anticipated Watergate scandal facts. The conclusion made by the investigation committee was that their campaigns for the Nick son’s re-election involved activities that were funded through channels that were illegal. This was revealed as the reason why the president had won the elections with a greater margin than had been expected (Kaplan 227) The corruption cases involved also other big officials in the government institution, including the attorney general Mitchell in 1973. The evidence provided by the recorded tapes that Nickson made it clear that even the president himself and all his officials were either directly or indirectly involved in the fraud cases.
The evidence of a missing tape which had contained the information on the dealings of the planned break-in made it clear that all were involved since his secretary gave a false fact concerning it loss. The corruption evidence would also be considered pronounced in the fact that even if Nickson was convicted in so many cases, he was the only conspirator In the Watergate scandal who went away without being imprisoned, though being the greatest image in the whole issue (Kuper 27). The corruption has very pronounced consequences, both at individual level as well as at the public level. The figures that were the key players in the cases faced trial, conviction and imprisonment, including the arrested burglars, and except for President Nickson.
Additionally, the major effect of the corruption in the government institution was the famous great in which was the key start of the Watergate scandal. Herein discussed, which happened at the Democratic office at Watergate complex. More to that , corruption is responsible for all the schemes that had been laid down by the conspiracy team to spy the Democratic party , a plan that lead to the break-in. The cases involved the entire government official, and as a result, there was a wide-spread mistrust by the public on the existing governance structure. This led to most of them resigning, including the president himself, Richard Nickson as another took over from him.
Furthermore, the corruption cases were the root causes of every scandalous event that was experienced in the country, majorly termed as the Watergate scandal. The scandal had a very great influence on the media stations, which were working hard in order to reveal to the general public on the proceedings of the sequential events, including revealing the information on the recorded tapes at the office of the then President, Richard Nickson. The negative part of the media is that different stations reported the same information but the facts were contradicting.
Those that provided the public with the correct information also exaggerated, thus completely ruining the image of the government institution. The ultimate result was the resignation of the president plus some of the prominent officials, and finally the vice-president become the president, ultimately forming a new government (Kuper 52).
The Watergate break-in
The break in served as a key element to the great scandal. The event was witnessed at the Democratic National committee office suite which was situated at the Watergate Complex. The earlier investigations to these events revealed the scandal as an attempted burglary, but were later revealed as a plotted conspiracy and an action intended to violate the federal wiretapping laws, since the burglars were reported to have been planning that for a whole week. Five men were found at the complex, where they had gone to fix their bugs after taking their time to scheme the break in.
Careful investigations revealed that the relationship of the men to the white house was so close, there fore were out to spy on the republicans rivals under their leadership. The whole incidence was related to political rivalries among the campaigners for president, since Richard Nickson at the time was the present president, who had risen into the position without much opposition, since his most of the contesters in the campaigns had easily stepped down, while others were not favored by circumstances (Kaplan, 336). The breaks-in victims were arrested in the night of their activity at the Watergate complex. They included Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, James W.
McCord, Jr., Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis. The security guard called wills had witnessed their actions and called the police for the subsequent arrest. After careful investigations, in January, 1973, they were all tried in court and convicted. The convictions were concluded to have a direct or indirect relationship with the CREEP, the 1972 re-election committee for the president, Richard Nickson. In addition, “the trial judge, John J. Sirica, suspected a conspiracy involving higher-echelon government officials” (Kaplan, 336). On the other hand the break-in evidence was provided by Mc cord wrote a letter to judge Sirica revealing that he was under political pressure.
He pleaded guilty and at the same time implicated high administration officials. He explained the case of their former activities, emphasizing the role of the attorney general in the scandal. The evidence assisted in accelerating the scandalous issue into a political scandal; indeed, the break in burglars are said to have has an intention to collect some information from the office of the democrats, of which the main reason for the action has never been clearly understood (Kaplan, 336).
Nixon’s role in the break-in
The Watergate scandal centers on Nickson, the then president of the United States, when it occurred. He was the key layer in the sequence of all the scandalous activities that took place in the 1970’s. The break-in herein discussed was as a result of a plotted conspiracy by the then government institution, which was conducted by five burglars. The evidence of the investigations by the senate committee revealed that the money they had during the break-in night proved that they must have been paid to carry out a spy on the Democratic Party.
Their convictions at the court of law were concluded to relate to the earlier presidential campaigns that had seen Nickson win the election un-opposed, becoming the president to the country. The cheques had marks that were a clear indication that the group had an illegal funding system. After the arrest of the burglars, the president realized what had happened during the break in. he played the main role in the cover up, initiated by the government officials as a way to protect them from facing the consequences of their deeds. Nickson’s office is believed to have had a very powerful tape-recording system, which had many tapes recorded on the planned conspiracy. When the investigation committee demanded the tapes from him, he denied having them, and his secretary he summoned not to give them to anyone.
The secretary ended up hiding the one that would provide clear evidence concerning the scandal even after the president surrendered the rest. Subjectively, Nickson was aware of the entire plan, the reason for him taking part in the cover-up together with his officials. Furthermore, he must have been aware of the marked notes that were in use by his election committee, thus covering up would protect him and hence, he ended up playing a major role in the Watergate scandal (Norton, et al., 67).
Government investigations of the break-in and the “cover up”
The cover up by some of the government officials needed a serious unraveling, hence calling for investigation by the government. The investigation started immediately after the burglars’ arrests on the break-in night. The investigation entailed searches conducted in the hotel rooms that had been occupied by the burglars in the Watergate hotel in order to get a clear evidence of the on-going problem.
However, an immediate cover up was initiated by the involved officials in the government, where Nickson the president denied either being aware of the planned scandal or knowing the arrested burglars which was a lie. The investigation revealed one of the burglars as a GOP security aid (Trachtman, 160). The attorney general to the election team also denied knowing the issue as well as the arrested burglars, though, being the leader in the re-election team, it was expected that he must have been aware of even how the marked notes with the burglars got out of office. The earmarked notes as earlier discussed were found in a burglars account and further evidence revealed more accounts with the same kind of notes.
This evidence showed that they had been using the money to cater for their expenses, in the previous months before the arrest. The conclusions made by the investigation team were that the team had been using illegal funding systems, which saw the defeat of all other contesters, and Nickson winning with a very big gap. The investigations also entailed the committee demanding the tapes that had been recorded in the president’s office to provide evidence for the conversations that had taken place. The cover up was evidenced by the president’s refusal to surrender the tapes to the House of Representatives. However, the investigating team later accessed the tapes that could not provide clear evidence to the main objective of the scandal. The scandal was a sequence of the break-in, the cover up and the investigations, all leading to the change in the government (Norton, et al, 69).
Effects of campaign financing and subsequent changes
Campaigns financing was the order of the day during the campaigns leading to election of the government officials.
The evidence is provided by the fact that Nickson had formed an election committee that organized the funding plans. Form the amounts that were got in the burglary accounts, it is true that a lot of money was used during such periods. Several donors are said to have funded the campaigns even through illegal funding systems. There are major effects of the campaigns that were financed. First, the rampant cases of corruption that were experienced through the funding system were as a result of the campaigns financing. Secondly, it is said that Nickson had borrowed a lot of money to finance the activities, and ultimately led to enmity due to him never refunding the borrowed amount (Kaplan 490). On the other hand, financing the campaigns leads to the public being influenced to elect the poor leaders instead of what they would have preferred, simply because they have been lured using money. The subsequent changes that occurred were that Nickson was forced to resign as a president, and his office was taken over by his vice-president Gerald Ford, who issued a pardon to the former president.
The government officials who had been involved were also forced to resign and were convicted by the court of law (Norton, et al, 78). The American media played a significant role in the process of extrication of the Watergate scandal; for instance, all the reporters from the Washington D.C and the New York times were very busy investigating the US political aspects with an intention of exposing the scandal. There have been various assumptions put forward concerning the burglary at the Democratic National Committee office, but there has not been the evidence for the main aim as had been set by the conspirators.
The media revealed to the public all over the world that the arrested men had been after some form of information, though their plans were not accomplished. Through the media, there are evidences that the Watergate scandal was accompanied by aspects of falsehood, misrepresentation, underground pacts, and smear campaigns in political field. However, the media today is known to have redefined the position of the media in the world political affairs since they were involved in ill framing the Watergate scandal chapter of the history of America (White 7).
In conclusion, the Watergate scandal is one of the most prominent incidences globally.
It was sequence of events that were termed as the scandal, ultimately leading to humiliation of political leaders and subsequent changes in the government. The break-in event was a prior planned centrally to the attempted cover up by the government officials. Financing of campaigns impacted negatively in the political realm, therefore, it was considered as a poor way of electing the appropriate leaders in a nation. The American’s have always remembered the scandal, taking caution to prevent a future repetition of the same (White 8).
Watergate: Scandal in the White House. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books. 2006. Kaplan, Joseph.
SAT Subject Test: U.S. History 2009-2010 Edition.
Kaplan sat subject tests us history. NY: Kaplan Publishing. 2010. Kuper, Jessica. Political science and political theory. Social science lexicons.
NY: Routledge publishers. 1987. Norton, Mary B. et al. A people and a nation: a history of the United States Since 1865. Volume 2.
OH: Cengage Learning. 2009. Trachtman, Glaspie, Michael. The Supremes’ Greatest Hits, Revised & Updated Edition. NY: Sterling Publishing Company Inc.
2009. White, Theodore. Breach of faith: the fall of Richard Nixon. London: Reader’s Digest Press. 1975.