Essential Questions: Essential Questions



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Essential Questions:

  • Essential Questions:

    • Do the negative effects of the Watergate scandal truly deserve to overshadow the positive foreign policy accomplishments of Richard Nixon?
    • What was the Watergate scandal about? How did it change American society?


LBJ disgraced

  • LBJ disgraced

    • Tet offensive
    • Refuses to run for Presidency in 1968
  • Democratic Party collapses

    • Eugene McCarthy vs. Robert Kennedy for control of party
      • Both gain anti-war support
      • Kennedy assassinated----Sirhan, Sirhan
    • Democratic National Convention in Chicago
      • mass protests against war
      • Americans witness the radical “anti-war and counter culture” on TV
    • VP Hubert Humphrey wins Democratic nomination






Richard Nixon only narrowly won the 1968 election, but the combined total of popular votes for Nixon and Wallace indicated a shift to the right in American politics.

  • Richard Nixon only narrowly won the 1968 election, but the combined total of popular votes for Nixon and Wallace indicated a shift to the right in American politics.

  • The Vietnam war and a series of assassinations and crises eroded public trust in government and produced a backlash against liberal movements and the Democratic party.



Although he had a reserved and remote personality, many Americans respected Nixon for his experience and service.

  • Although he had a reserved and remote personality, many Americans respected Nixon for his experience and service.

  • Nixon was willing to say or do anything to defeat his enemies, who included political opponents, the government bureaucracy, the press corps, and leaders of the antiwar movement.

  • Believing that the executive branch needed to be strong, Nixon gathered a close circle of trusted advisors around him.



Nixon’s Close Advisors

  • Nixon’s Close Advisors

  • H. R. HaldemanAfter campaigning tirelessly for Nixon, advertising executive H. R. Haldeman became Nixon’s chief of staff.

  • John Ehrlichman — Lawyer John Ehrlichman served as Nixon’s personal lawyer and rose to the post of chief domestic advisor.

  • John Mitchell — Asked to be Attorney General after working with Nixon’s campaign in New York, Mitchell often spoke with Nixon several times a day.

  • Henry KissingerAlthough he had no previous ties to Nixon, Harvard government professor Henry Kissinger first became Nixon’s national security advisor and later his Secretary of State.



During Nixon’s presidency, the United States achieved its goal of a successful moon landing.

  • During Nixon’s presidency, the United States achieved its goal of a successful moon landing.

  • On July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. He was joined by Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., a fellow crewman on the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

  • Television viewers around the world watched the moon landing, and Apollo 11’s crew were treated as heroes when they returned.





















Détente = easing of tensions between US, Soviet Union and China. Nixon visits

  • Détente = easing of tensions between US, Soviet Union and China. Nixon visits

    • China
    • Soviet Union
  • SALT I

  • Vietnam War

    • Vietnamization
    • Peace With Honor
    • Cambodian bombing raids
    • Paris Peace Accords of 1973


Practical Politics

  • Practical Politics

  • Kissinger admired the European political philosophy of realpolitik, or practical politics.

  • Under this policy, nations make decisions based on maintaining their strength rather than on moral principles.

  • Kissinger applied a realpolitik approach to his dealings with China and the Soviet Union, which led to better diplomatic relations with both nations.



Détente

  • Détente

  • Although Nixon had built a reputation as a strong anti-Communist, he and Kissinger reversed the direction of postwar American foreign policy by holding talks with China and the Soviet Union.

  • Nixon and Kissinger’s greatest accomplishment was in bringing about détente, or a relaxation in tensions, between the United States and these Communist nations.

  • Nixon visits China, meets with Chou En Lai and Chaiman Mao.



Advisor Henry Kissinger creates détente, warming Cold War relationships

  • Advisor Henry Kissinger creates détente, warming Cold War relationships

  • Goes to both the USSR and China in 1972 becoming first President to visit those nations

  • SALT agreement with the Soviets



Easing Relations Between the United States and China

  • Easing Relations Between the United States and China

  • Historical Background — After its Communist takeover in 1949, the United States refused to recognize the People’s Republic of China, viewing the government of Taiwan as the legitimate Chinese rulers.

  • Steps to Ease Relations — During the early 1970s, relations eased between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Nixon referred to the nation by name, travel and trade restrictions were lifted.

  • Nixon’s Visit to China — In February 1972, Nixon became the first American President to visit China. Touring Chinese sites in front of television cameras, Nixon established the basis for future diplomatic ties during his visit.

  • Recognizing the Chinese Government — The United States decided to join other nations in recognizing the Chinese government.



Uses new relations with China to get USSR to talk, wants to limit Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs), leads to Strategic Arms Limitations Talks—helped reduce tensions

  • Uses new relations with China to get USSR to talk, wants to limit Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs), leads to Strategic Arms Limitations Talks—helped reduce tensions

  • In 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, known as SALT I.

  • SALT I froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels, and provided for the addition of new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and SLBM launchers had been dismantled.

  • SALT I demonstrated that arms control agreements between the superpowers were possible.

  • However, it did not reduce the number of weapons that either nation possessed, nor did it halt the development of conventional weapon technologies.



Peace With Honor Nixon's idea of "peace with honor" in Vietnam was designed to contrast his plan with that of the Democrats, who just wanted to dump US allies in South Vietnam and allow them to be taken over by the Communists.

  • Peace With Honor Nixon's idea of "peace with honor" in Vietnam was designed to contrast his plan with that of the Democrats, who just wanted to dump US allies in South Vietnam and allow them to be taken over by the Communists.

  • Vietnamization Nixon had hoped to slowly remove US from the war while helping South Vietnam to defend itself.  He tried to force North Vietnam into accepting a peace plan by increasing bombing on North Vietnam and by attacking North Vietnamese strongholds in Cambodia.



Nixon’s belligerent Vice-President who took on opponents much like Nixon did for Ike

  • Nixon’s belligerent Vice-President who took on opponents much like Nixon did for Ike

  • Alliteratively referred to “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history”

  • Pleaded ‘no contest’ to bribe charges, resigns from office in late 1973

  • Gerald Ford replaces



Watergate Scandal

  • Watergate Scandal

    • Pentagon Papers = New York Times vs. US Govt.
    • CREEP, the “plumbers”, and the enemies list
      • Committee to Re-elect the President
    • Senate Investigation = Impeachment charges
    • Resignation on August 9, 1974
    • Aftermath
  • Succeeded by Gerald R. Ford





Nixon’s suspicious and secretive nature caused the White House to operate as if it were surrounded by political enemies.

  • Nixon’s suspicious and secretive nature caused the White House to operate as if it were surrounded by political enemies.

  • One result of this mind-set was the creation of an “enemies list,” a list of prominent people seen as unsympathetic to the administration.

  • When someone in the National Security Council appeared to have leaked secret government information to the New York Times, Nixon ordered that wiretaps, or listening devices, be installed on the telephones of some news reporters and members of his staff.

  • Leaks to the press continued, including former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers, a government study that revealed widespread deception about the situation in Vietnam.

  • In response, Nixon organized a special White House unit, nicknamed the Plumbers, to stop government leaks. In September 1971, the Plumbers broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, hoping to punish Ellsberg by disclosing damaging personal information about him.



Jane Fonda

  • Jane Fonda

  • Paul Newman

  • Edward Kennedy

  • Joe Namath

  • Daniel Schorr

  • Bill Cosby

  • Several hundred more U.S. citizens



In June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the NY Times

  • In June 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the NY Times

  • These are a detailed study of US policy in Vietnam commissioned in 1967

  • Because they showed that US leaders had planned all along to expand the war even while promising not to, Nixon and Kissinger felt threatened

  • They tried to stop publication and even burgled Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office looking for evidence to discredit him





Campaign Funding

  • Campaign Funding

  • The Committee to Reelect the President, led by John Mitchell, aimed to collect as much campaign money as possible before a new law required such contributions to be reported.

  • The money that the Committee collected was intended to fund both routine campaign activities and secret unethical actions.



Nixon established a secret group known as the plumbers to plug leaks

  • Nixon established a secret group known as the plumbers to plug leaks

  • Started campaign of dirty tricks that included IRS harassment and derailing of Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie.

  • Used methods as calling New Hampshire voters in the middle of the night and claiming to be from Harlem for Muskie or putting signs around Florida stating “Help Muskie in busing more children now”

  • Funded by Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) which used highly questionable fund raising tactics and raised over $20 million



In March 1972, a group within the Committee to Reelect the President made plans to wiretap the phones at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

  • In March 1972, a group within the Committee to Reelect the President made plans to wiretap the phones at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C.

  • This group was led by E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. The group’s first attempt failed. During their second attempt on June 17, 1972, five men were arrested.

  • The money they carried was traced directly to Nixon’s reelection campaign, linking the break-in to the campaign.

  • The break-in and the cover-up which resulted became known as the Watergate scandal.



Some of the money raised by CREEP went to pay for the break in at the Democratic Headquarters located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington

  • Some of the money raised by CREEP went to pay for the break in at the Democratic Headquarters located in the Watergate Hotel in Washington

  • 5 burglars caught June 17, 1972, carrying cameras, wiretapping equipment and large amounts of cash

  • Nixon administration denied any knowledge

  • Burglars were convicted in January 1973 and, despite offers of $400K in hush money from White House Counsel John Dean, one of the burglars started to talk

  • At same time, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward began to expose cover-up



Although Nixon had not been involved in the break-in, he became involved in its cover-up.

  • Although Nixon had not been involved in the break-in, he became involved in its cover-up.

  • He illegally authorized the CIA to try to persuade the FBI to stop its investigation of the break-in, on the grounds that the matter involved “national security.”

  • Nixon advisors launched a scheme to bribe the Watergate defendants into silence, as well as coaching them on how to lie in court.

  • During the months following the break-in, the incident was barely noticed by the public. Nixon won the 1972 election by a landslide.



The Watergate Trial

  • The Watergate Trial

  • At the trial of the Watergate burglars in early 1973, all the defendants either pleaded guilty or were found guilty.

  • Judge John J. Sirica, presiding over the trial, was not convinced that the full story had been told.

  • He sentenced the burglars to long prison terms, suggesting that their terms could be reduced if they cooperated with upcoming Senate hearings on Watergate.





The Senate Investigates

  • The Senate Investigates

  • Aided by Woodward and Bernstein and by the testimony of one of the Watergate burglars, a Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities began to investigate the Watergate affair.

  • Millions of Americans watched the Senate hearings unfold on national television.

  • Nixon attempted to protect himself by forcing two top aides to resign and by proclaiming that he would take final responsibility for the mistakes of others.



Nixon stonewalled turning over tapes citing executive privilege and national security

  • Nixon stonewalled turning over tapes citing executive privilege and national security

  • Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox successfully petitioned a lower court to force Nixon to hand over tapes

  • Nixon refused and ordered Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire Cox

  • Richardson refused and resigned as did Asst. AG William Ruckelshaus

  • Third in line, Solicitor General Robert Bork complied

  • Became known as Saturday Night Massacre and sparked outrage and new demands for tapes

  • Finally after new round of subpoenas, Nixon released heavily edited transcripts in spring of 1974 included a suspicious 18 minute gap in one of the tapes



Problems in the Nixon Administration, 1973–1974

  • Problems in the Nixon Administration, 1973–1974

  • Nixon’s public approval rating plummeted after his firing of Cox.

  • When Cox’s replacement, Leon Jaworski, also requested that Nixon turn over the tapes, Nixon turned over edited transcripts instead. Feelings of anger and disillusionment arose among many who read them.

  • Vice President Spiro Agnew, accused of evading income taxes and taking bribes, resigned in early October 1973. His successor, Gerald Ford, was not confirmed until two months later.



In summer of 1974, a committee of the House convened to consider impeachment

  • In summer of 1974, a committee of the House convened to consider impeachment

  • On July 30, 7 Republicans joined Democratic majority to vote three articles of impeachment

    • obstruction of justice
    • abuse of power
    • subverting the Constitution
  • 2 days later, Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had no right to claim executive privilege as justification for turning over additional tapes

  • On August 5 Nixon released the unexpurgated tapes which contained shocking evidence that he had ordered the cover up as early as 6 days after the break in



A delegation of the most senior members of Congress, led by Barry Goldwater, informed the President that no more than 15 Senators still supported him

  • A delegation of the most senior members of Congress, led by Barry Goldwater, informed the President that no more than 15 Senators still supported him

  • On August 9, 1974, Nixon resigned

  • Vice President Gerald Ford became President and a month later pardoned Nixon





26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote. If 18 year olds young men could fight and die this country, than they should have the right to vote.

  • 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote. If 18 year olds young men could fight and die this country, than they should have the right to vote.

  • In middle of crisis, Congress, over Nixon’s veto had passed the War Powers Resolution that limited presidential commitment of troops overseas to 60 days, after that required to get congressional approval

  • 1974 strengthened Freedom of Information Act gave citizens greater access to files that federal government agencies had on them

  • Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1974 limited campaign contributions and provided for stricter accountability and public financing of presidential campaigns

  • Independent Counsel Act of 1978 required Attorney General, in cases of suspected criminal activity in the executive branch, to call on three federal judges to appoint a special prosecutor

  • American distrust of its government = “credibility gap”





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