Examines the period of U.S. History during the Presidency of Richard Nixon and the enduring consequences of his presidency, especially with regard to the Watergate Scandal.
Nixon resigned from his office nearly thirty years ago, and his legacy continues to be shrouded in controversy. He was a complex, inconsistent, and highly contradictory personality whose presidency was an extremely mixed bag of successes, failures, and confusion. Nixon once made the prediction that by the turn of the century, he would begin to be viewed in a more favorable light. Marked by solid achievements both at home and abroad, Nixon’s work while in office ended the Imperial Presidency, reopened Western communication with China and Russia, helped see the country through its first round of serious welfare reform; in short, Nixon did have a significantly positive impact upon the nation. But, it was Watergate that opened the doors to the seedier and frightening side of the Nixon Presidency. Secret tapings, brutal escalations in Vietnam, conspiracies to harm other politicians, and his involvement in the thefts at Watergate all cast a deep shadow over what Nixon had been able to accomplish. The most egregious abuses of executive privilege occurred under President Nixon who invoked that doctrine to shield embarrassing and incriminating information (Rozell, 762). It is the purpose of this paper to examine the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon, and to pay special attention to the implications of Watergate both during and after his term.