Nixon: His Cover-Up Essay, Research Paper
Nixon: His Cover-up
Who would have knew a U.S. President would have done a crime? Unless it was a good reason that is. This incident is called the Watergate scandal. At the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. was where this all started. This led to even more complications. In this paper I hope to prove that even though Nixon had a cover-up plan it failed to succeed. In order to accomplish this several questions come to mind: Was Nixon trying to hide anything? Where there any evidence that Nixon had committed a crime? What proof did the detectives have? Did Nixon’s plan end up failing?
Richard Milhous Nixon was born in 1913 in Yorba Linda, California, the second of five sons of Francis Anthony Nixon and Hannah Milhous Nixon (Nixon). Richard Nixon went to a public school in Whittier, California. After graduating he went to Whittier College, a Quaker institution, where he majored in history (Bowmen). Whittier was also where he met his future wife Thelma “Pat” Ryan. They got married on June 21, 1940, and had two daughters: Patricia, born in 1946, and Julie, born in 1948 (Lexicon).
Nixon had many political roles. In 1946 Nixon became a congressman persuaded by California’s Republicans. Then in 1950 he became a member of the U.S. Senate from California (Nixon). Nixon with his running partner, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was elected to be the Vice President in 1952. And then they both were reelected for another term in 1956 (Lexicon).
After that Nixon’s last term of Vice President he ran for President against John F. Kennedy. This election was one of the closest elections in U.S. history. Kennedy won by only 112,803 votes. After his defeat Nixon returned to California and ran for Governor and lost once again (Bowmen). So now Nixon had a break from political offices. But now, in 1968 Nixon ran for President once again against Hubert H. Humphrey and was successful. And once his first term was over Nixon ran and won the Presidency again (Lexicon). Now during his second term, however, was consumed by the Watergate Scandal (Nixon).
Watergate was a major United States political scandal that started with the burglary and wiretapping of the Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters (Genovese 6). And then started to create President Nixon and many of his supporters in even more illegal acts, and ended up with the first resignation of a U.S. President.
The burglary was on June 17, 1972, by five men who were caught in the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate apartment and office in Washington, D.C. Their arrest uncovered that the White House was a part of espionage against political opponents (Lexicon).
One main factor of the cover-up was the tapes. The taping system was a system that automatically recorded all conversations, which meant that the tapes would tell if Nixon was involved in the burglary and cover-up (Lexicon). In July 1973 was when White House aide Alexander Butterfield told the committee, on nationwide television, that there was a taping system that Nixon ordered installed in the White House. Then Archibald Cox immediately asked for the tapes to be revealed in court (Nixon). But Nixon refused to give them up. He was claiming “executive privilege”, saying they were vital to the national security (Nixon). Which let him hide certain documents because he didn’t want to loose the presidency (Bowmen). This grew more doubts about Nixon’s integrity. On July 24, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 in the United States v. Nixon that Nixon must turn over the tapes (Nixon). Then the Judiciary Committee looked into impeaching Nixon (Bowmen). And on July 29 and 30, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee had three articles of impeachment, charging Nixon with misusing his power in order to violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, obstructing
justice in the Watergate affair, and defying Judiciary Committee subpoenas (Genovese 27). And the next day Nixon agreed to give in the tapes, but soon after, it was found that some of the tapes had been edited and the key parts of one had been erased (Nixon). Now this brought even more complications for President Nixon.
During this madness there were many people that “gave up”. The year of 1973 was the year of all sorts of resignations. In April 1973 White House Chief H.R. Haldeman, White House Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs John Ehrichment, and US Attorney General Richard Kleindienst all resigned. Also in April 1973 Nixon dismissed White House Counsel John Dean (Nixon). This embarrassed and forced all but one of Nixon’s closet aides and officials to resign as well (Lexicon). On October 10 Vice President Agnew resigned, in an unrelated scandal. So Nixon nominated Gerald R. Ford, a conservative Michigan Republican congressman, to replace him (Lexicon). On October 20, 1973 Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special investigator Cox over the issue of access to the tapes. But Richardson got angry and refused to fire Cox. In such anger Richardson resigned in protest, so did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshavs (Nixon). So in the end, solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox (Genovese 30). All this mess that was
done on October 20, 1973 was named to be the “Saturday Night Massacre” (Lexicon).
Nixon was caught trying to cover-up his mishaps. Investigators Bob Woodward and Carl Benstein reporters for the “Washington Post” were the first to notice the cover-up. And questioning U.S. District Court Judge John J. Sirica showed that a cover-up was made to hide the burglars’ activities (Bowmen). Other investigators against the scandal were Sam Ervin and Archibald Cox. Sam Ervin of North Carolina was head of a Senate Committee on Watergate. Archibald Cox was a special prosecutor to uncover Nixon’s secret. Working together Ervin and Cox slowly revealed that Watergate was just one of many scandals that Nixon was associated with (Nixon). This cover-up not only failed to hide the Watergate scandal but also revealed other crimes done by Nixon.
The Watergate burglary wasn’t the only scandal that Nixon was accused of performing. Watergate lead investigators to a burglary ordered by Nixon aids to get information about Daniel Ellsberg (Bowmen). He was the man that got a hold of the Pentagon Papers, a secret study on US policy during the Vietnam War (Lexicon). Other questions that came about because of the Watergate scandal was one regarding possible income tax evasion by Nixon, and another was his misuse of government funds to enhance his homes in Key Biscayne, Florida, and San Clemente,
California (Lexicon). A report by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in early 1974 showed that Nixon owed $432,787 in back taxes for the years 1969 to 1972 (Nixon). Investigators also found out that the Nixon administration had a lot of money in illegal campaign contributions. They used this money to pay more than $500,000 to the Watergate burglars (Nixon). Another thing that Nixon was accused of was he had four years of political espionage and sabotage by his loyalists (Bowmen).
With all these crimes done Nixon had nothing else to do but to give up. On August 5 Nixon gave in the tapes. They showed that he had been involved in the Watergate cover-up as early as June 23, 1972 (Bowmen). His supporters in Congress felt betrayed, and were sure that the House would impeach Nixon and convicted in the Senate (Nixon). So on August 8, 1974, Nixon announced that he would resign (Bowmen). He resigned without admitting guilty. They next day he left office, and Vice President Gerald Ford took over the presidency position. A month later Ford, pardoned him for all crimes he might have done while in office (Nixon).
Nixon’s plans did not turn out the way he hoped they would. He was trying to hide his involvement in the Watergate Scandal but he failed. The tapes were the main reason he got caught and were the detective’s only hope. Once the tapes were finally given up Nixon’s presidency was over. His mission ended up in
catastrophe. Watergate now is a general term used to describe this complex web of political scandals between 1972 and 1974 (Lexicon). No matter how much faith Nixon had in his cover-up, the intended conclusion was not accomplished.
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