The Watergate Scandal and the Resignation of President Richard Nixon

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The Watergate Scandal and the Resignation of President Richard Nixon


The Watergate Scandal and crisis that rocked the United States began on the early morning of June 17, 1972 with a small-scale burglary and it ended August 9, 1974 with the resignation of Republican President Richard Milhous Nixon. At approximately 2:30 in the morning of June 17, 1972, five burglars were discovered inside the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington DC. The burglars, who had been attempting to tap the headquarters’ phone were linked to Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). Over the next few months, what had began as a minor break-in quickly escalated into a full-blown political scandal. It was
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The White House rationalized any illegal actions by the Plumbers as protecting national security. However, the motivating factor for these illegal actions was actually to protect Nixon’s public image as well as his political survival.

In 1972, the Committee to Re-Elect the President was formed and Jeb Stuart Magruder became the Director. In December of 1972, Nixon appointed G. Gordon Liddy as general counsel to CREEP. The Committee played “dirty tricks” on Nixon’s opponents and in one instance, single-handedly ruined the Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie’s presidential campaign by making damaging charges again Muskie and his wife in 1971. (Bernstein and Woodward 114) Liddy was behind most of CREEP’s political tricks and illegal activities and in 1972 he proposed a huge intelligence operation against the Democrats, illegally funded by CREEP’s campaign funds. This operation included plans for a small-scale burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters, located in the Watergate office complex. Magruder, who had been given the authority by John Mitchell, reluctantly gave Liddy the approval to perform the break-in. (Westerfeld 35)

On June 17, 1972, five burglars under the orders of CREEP broke into the Democratic National Headquarters. At about 2:30 a.m., security guard Frank Willis noticed tape over locks of the doors and called the police. The five burglars were arrested,…