Pardon of Richard Nixon

1193 Words Aug 12th, 2014 5 Pages
Controversial Pardon of Richard Nixon
HIST102
American History Since 1877
Instructor:
22 February 2014

Former President Richard Nixon is most well-known for his role in the Watergate crisis in the early 1970’s. The Watergate crisis started in June of 1972, when the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters was broke into by members of Nixon’s re-election committee. The press took this breaking news and began to dig deeper into what the Whitehouse (President Nixon) was hiding. Over the next two years heavy investigations into the Watergate incident revealed that President Nixon did, in fact, ordered a cover-up to keep the incident under control. Fearing impeachment, President Nixon resigned his presidency in August 1974,
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Unfortunately, the controversy did not stop with whether or not the pardon was constitutional. Political arguments were by far more compelling than the constitutional arguments. Politically, Ford knew there would be loss in “public standing, relations with Congress, and the Republican Party’s fortunes in the 1974 elections.”12 However, he also realized that because of media publicity Nixon would not receive a fair trial. This is where the controversy begins. People, such as Firmage and Mangrum, argued that the law must be “’applied to all persons equally’” and no one, not even a public official “’be permitted to violate the laws with impunity.’”13 What they failed to realize were the extreme circumstances in which Nixon fell under surrounding Watergate. As a former president Nixon was one of the most powerful figures in the world; the amount of ‘bad’ publicity he received would not allow for a fair trial. Special Prosecutor Jaworski was a firm believer that this type of publicity would make ‘innocent until proven guilty’ null and void if Nixon were to go to trial.14 Ford’s choice to pardon Nixon prior to a trial was a well thought out plan of action given the circumstances.

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