On the night of June 17, 1972, police in Washington arrested five burglars. They caught the burglars inside the Democratic Party's national headquarters in the Watergate office building. Journalists on the Washington Post newspaper started to look into the burglary. They discovered that the burglars had been paid to steal information to discredit President Nixon's Democratic opponents.
In February 1973, the Senate set up a committee to look into the Watergate affair. Its meetings were broadcast live on television. Day by day viewers watched the committee uncover a network of lies and dishonesty at the very heart of the nation's government. Nixon vowed time and time again that he had know nothing about the Watergate break-in. But as the investigations went on, few
er and fewer people believed him. Many began to demand that he should be impeached for misusing his powers as president.
The end came in August 1974. A tape recording made in Nixon's office proved that he had known all about the Watergate affair. His impeachment and even imprisonment now seemed certain. To avoid this, Nixon resigned as President of the United States part way through his term of office- the first man ever to do so.
To many people at home and abroad the Watergate affair seemed to show clearly that the American political system had gone rotten. But it was parts of that very system- the newspapers, the law courts, the Congress-which brought the misdeeds of the president and his advisers to light. They showed that not even the highest in the land was above the law.
Ironically, it was Nixon himself who perhaps best summed up this aspect of the Watergate affair. Shortly before his resignation he said:
"Some people will say that the Watergate demonstrates the bankruptcy of the American system. I believe precisely the opposite is true. Watergate represented a series of illegal acts. It was the system that brought these facts to life and that will bring those guilty to justice."
The Watergate Affair written by Herminne Tonita for FamousWhy.com
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The Watergate Affair Image Source: wikipedia.org - Nixon Presidential Materials Photographer: Hartmann