The Political Disaster of Watergate Essay

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The political disaster of Watergate in the early 1970s marked the first time a president resigned. Essentially, it began when a former Marine, Daniel Ellsberg, who no longer supported war in Vietnam, leaked an analysis of American involvement there to The New York Times, starting in 1971. President Richard Nixon, a very private man, demanded that these Pentagon Papers be kept secret in order to prevent the public from finding out exactly what was going on. The scandal that followed ruined Nixon and led Americans to be more critical of the politicians they put in power and to question their leadership.
Nixon wanted to prevent news articles from being published about the papers and their conclusions for reasons of “national security”. He is quoted as saying, “Do whatever has to be done to stop these leaks.” In response, John Erlichmann created the White House “plumbers”, a group of former CIA and FBI agents whose goal was to discredit Ellsberg. They attempted to break into his psychiatrist’s office in Los Angeles to obtain his records. The same group was arrested in 1972 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. for planning another burglary, this time of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. One of these men, G. Gordon Liddy, was part of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). He and Howard Hunt, another one of the “plumbers”, had also worked at the White House. These strong connections to President Nixon made him look suspicious, even though the head of…

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