Sample Scholarship Essays


Watergate WATERGATE SCANDAL On the early morning of June 17, 1972, five burglars were caught inside the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C. The burglars, who had been attempting to tap the headquarters phones, were linked to President Richard Nixons Committee to Re-elect the President. The Nixon administration, long before the Watergate break-in, had been very careful, almost paranoid, about their public image, and did everything they could to avoid unfavorable publicity. In fact, paranoia was a habitual characteristic of Nixon furthered by the publics criticism of his policies regarding the veitnam War, according to Nixon White House official Jeb Stuart Magruder. That atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion was fueled by the leaking of the Pentagon Papers, defense department documents concerning the United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

These highly secret papers were leaked by Daniel Ellsberg to the New York Times. Shortly after, Nixon established a White House special investigations unit to trace and stop any further leaks to the press. This special investigations unit was nicknamed the Plumbers. It was headed by two of the Presidents men, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.

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In an attempt to stop new leaks, the Plumbers investigated the private lives of Nixons enemies and critics. G. Gordon Liddy was the mastermind behind most of CREEPs (committee to re-elect the president) political tricks and illegal activities and proposed a huge intelligence operation against the Democrats. Included in the intelligence operation were plans for a small-scale burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters, located in the Watergate office complex. When Liddy proposed the operation, Muskie (presidential candidate) was ahead of Nixon in some opinion polls and CREEP was pressured to act. John Mitchell gave the authority to Magruder, who gave Liddy the approval to perform the break-in.

There was enough evidence from Haldeman to indicate the President knew of the plans for the break-in before it occurred, although Nixon never gave direct orders to the Committee concerning the break-in. The June 17,1972 was not the only break-in of the Democratic Headquarters that occurred. On May 28, 1972, five burglars, carrying out Liddys plan, broke into the headquarters in attempt to tap the phones. The Howard Johnson hotel across the street is where CREEP members monitored them. When the transcript of the phone calls reached Committee officials, they were deemed worthless.

Another burglary was planned to bug the of the Democratic National Chairman, Lawrence OBrien, who was rumored to have damaging information about President Nixon. The five burglars under the order of the Presidents re-election campaign broke into the Democratic National Headquarters, on June 17, 1972. Security guard Frank Wills caught the burglars, when he noticed tape over the locks on the doors. The burglars were arrested and charges were also filed against G. Gordon Liddy and E.

Howard Hunt. The Burglars left behind $14,000 in hundred dollar bills that could be traced directly back to the Committee to Re-elect the President. Two young reporters from the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were the first reporters to reveal to the public how deeply involved in the scandal the White House was. CREEPs role however in the Watergate break-in was greatly underestimated during the election do to Nixons commanding lead over the Democratic presidential candidate. In fact, Nixon, won a landslide victory over the democrats, winning 49 of 50 states, to become the 37th president of the United States. Not to long after the election, the story of the scandal was broke wide open, starting with the prosecution of seven men arrested in connection with the break-in.

On January 10, 1973, opening statements in the break-in trial began. The nations attention began to shift to the Watergate affair, while Judge John J. Sirica presided over the case. The seven men, Barker, Gonzalez, Martinez, Sturgis, McCord, Liddy, and Hunt, were charged with various counts of conspiracy, illegal wiretapping, burglary, and illegal possession of eavesdropping equipment. History Reports.


.. had been equipped with a recording system. They were installed in his two offices, the Oval Room The taping device was spring load to a voice actuation situation. (Gold 436) In Alexander Butterfields testimony he said that the recording system was installed to help preserve all documents. The only people who knew of these recording devices were the president, Haledman, Kigbe, Butterfield, and the secret service people. (Gold 434-442) Now the committee had stumbled across exactly what they were looking for, a way to prove the presidents innocence of guilt. The tapes of the meeting s between Dean and Nixon were lying some where in the White House.

These tapes would show which of these men were lying and if the president of the united States had been involved in a criminal conspiracy. Although when the senate asked him for the tapes the President refused, but why? On July 17, 1973 the Senate Committee went directly to the president about their request. Congress wanted the tapes of all the important meetings. President Nixon refused. The Committee decided to subpoena the tapes that afternoon. (Westerfled 45) On the same day, July 17, 1973, special Prosecutor Archibald Cox had also subpoenaed the tapes.

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He declared that they were significant for the grand jury’s criminal investigation. This was the first time anyone had ever subpoenaed the president of the United States, and Nixon has two subpoenas in one day. Although the White House claimed that neither Congress nor the special prosecutor had the right to demand evidence from the executive branch and refused to obey. (Westerfled 45) This started a powerful struggle. The Senate Committee wondered if they could find the president in contempt of congress which would be a serious legal charge. But they didn’t know who would be a serious legal charge. But they didn’t know who would arrest him since the president controlled the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Armed Forces.

The committee had to think quick and come up with another way to get the tapes. Cox and the grand jury was going to sue for the tapes in federal court. The committee decided to follow the special prosecutor’s lead. (Westerfled 43) Both lawsuits went to Judge John Sirca, the same judge who presided the trials of the Watergate burglars. Judge Sirca charged the president to turn over the tapes to the special prosecutor. When the White House Appealed the decision the case went to the Federal Court of appeals.

(Westerfled 43) Another scandal in the White House shocked the nation. The Department of Justice announced that they had been investigating Vice President Spiro T. Anew for taking large bribes in return for government contracts. He then resigned from office October 10, 1973. (Westerfled 47) On October 15, 1973 the court of appeals sustained Judge Sirca’s ruling and demanded that the president give the subpoenaed tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox.

Nixon ordered Cox not to subpoena any more tapes, although Cox said he would do so. Cox also told him that if he refused he would find him in contempt of the court. (Westerfled 45) Nixon was beyond furious. Cox was a employee of the executive branch and questioning the authority of the president. Nixon ordered Richardson’s deputy attorney general William D. Ruckelshavs to fire Cox.

He also refused and was fired. The third-ranking Justice Department official, Solicitor General Robert H. Bork, was now acting as Attorney General. He agreed to fire Cox. This event was called the Saturday Massacre. (Westerfled 48) The nation raged in anger.

So Nixon agreed to hand the tapes over to Sirca’s court and appoint a new Special Prosecutor. The new prosecutor was Leon Jaworski. Jaworski was a very well known lawyer and accepted the offer on the one condition that Nixon could not fire him. (Westerfled 48-49) As the presidents lawyers were going over the tapes preparing them for the special prosecutor they made an alarming discovery. During a conversation between Nixon and Haldman there was an 18-minute gap. This made the nation lose even more faith in their president. (Westerfled 49) On April 11, 1974 Special Prosecutor Jaworski demanded the White House turn over 69 more tapes.

Once again the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to supply the subpoenaed tapes. (Westerfled 51-54) On July 27-30, the House Judiciary Committee, whose public hearings had disclosed evidence of illegal White house activities, recommended that Nixon be impeached on three charges: obstruction of Justice, abuse of presidential power, and trying to impede the impeachment process by defying committee subpoenas. (Watergate) Millions of people watched the committee vote on television. There were twenty-seven votes for the impeachment and only eleven against it. He was accused of misuse of his authority and also violating the constitutional rights of citizens by ordering the FBI and Secret Services to spy on American citizens.

The last thing he was charged with was refusing to obey congress’s subpoenas. Nixon had broken his oath to up hold the law. (Watergate) With the impeachment vote against him, Nixon would have to stand trial before the U.S. senate. Two-thirds of the senate would have to vote for impeaching the president. Nixon would be removed from office.

(Westerfled 46) On August 5, 1974 the White House released an overdue transcript of the tapes. The recording was from June 23, 1972, only a week after the break-in. This tape told how Nixon ordered Haldeman to tell the CIA to cease the FBIs investigation of Watergate. These tapes made it clear that Nixon was involved in the cover-up from the beginning. (Westerfled 56) At nine o’clock August 8, 1974 Nixon made his last speech as president Richard M.

Nixon. He only admitted loosing the support he had from Congress. He said I have never been a quitter, to leave office before my term is complete is abhorrent to ever instinct in my body. But, as president, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time president and a full-time Congress. Therefore, In shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

(Westerfled 57) The next morning Nixon addressed a tearful White House staff. He then boarded a helicopter and began his journey home to San Clemente, California. (Westerfled 57) At noon the Vice President, Gerald R. Ford, was inaugurated. He became the thirty-seventh president of the United States. He told the American people in his first speech Our long national nightmare is over.

(Westerfled 57) — History Essays.


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