On April 29, 1974 A Relatively Unknown Freshman Member

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On April 29, 1974 a relatively unknown freshman member of the House Judiciary Committee cemented her place in history when she gave a dynamic, honest and edifying speech regarding President Richard Nixon and the illegal and unethical activity surrounding what is now known as “Watergate”. That woman was Barbara Jordan. After the Watergate scandal broke wide open, the American people had their faith in politicians shaken to the core and trust was at an all-time low. How, then, could the people trust politicians to right the wrong that had been done? What words could be said that would show the people that something good could come from this scandal? Enter Barbara Jordan. A skilled attorney, Jordan became the first African American to be…show more content…
People wanted to see the Constitution upheld and President Nixon be held accountable, they expected new policies that would require transparency and higher ethical standards from elected officials and, not surprisingly, Barbara Jordan became a shining example of how American politicians can be successful in Washington without compromising the people’s trust.
In June of 1972 a break-in at the Watergate Hotel would begin the unraveling of Nixon’s presidency. Burglars were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters and attempting to wiretap the phones. While it has never been proven that Nixon had prior knowledge of the break-in, his efforts at trying to cover it up, attempted bribes and efforts to impede an FBI investigation sealed his fate with the Judiciary Committee and, eventually, in the court of public opinion. Prior to the Watergate scandal, most of the country’s political dissention was directed at the Vietnam War. And even if people were divided on the issue of the war, at least they felt they weren’t being lied to about it. That all changed with Watergate. At the beginning of the Watergate trials, official polls would show that many people viewed the breach of trust as “business as usual” in Washington. But, by the end of the summer of 1973, the numbers would swing away from Nixon’s favor and the American people would be left with a fractured confidence in him and his cohorts. The hearings lasted from

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