Friday, August 9, 2013

The Resignation of Richard Nixon (August 9th)

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from the years 1969 to 1974. Throughout his presidency, Nixon used many tricks to get what he wanted and to find out information that he needed. Among these tricks was his bugging of offices of political opponents and suspicious person. He was also known to use the FBI, CIA, and IRS to harass activist groups and political figures.

Nixon's tricks were exposed when, in July of 1972, five men were caught breaking into the Democratic party headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Two Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, got news from an informant, known as "Deep Throat", that these men were linked to the Nixon administration. Though Nixon tried to downplay the Wartergate scandal as misleading and biased, it became clear that men working for Nixon had committed crimes in order to sabotage enemies of Nixon. The scandal ended in the conviction of 46 men were convicted.

In July of 1973, Alexander Butterfield, a White House aide, testified that Nixon had a secret recording system to capture all conversations and phone calls in the Oval Office. When asked for the tapes, Nixon refused, citing executive privilege. It was revealed, though, that there was an 18 and a half minute gap in the record was found just three days after the Watergate Incident.

In April of 1974, Nixon released the 1,200 page transcripts of White House conversations between him and his aides. The Supreme Court, though, unanimously ruled that all tapes, not selected transcripts, must be released. One tape that was released that was recorded a few days after the Watergate Incident had recorded Nixon planning to thwart the Watergate investigation. On August 5th, 1974, Nixon admitted to misleading the country, though he did not admit to guilt. After Republican Congressional leaders told him he faced certain impeachment, Nixon did the unheard of.

On the 9th of August, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from his post as president. Nixon's resignation speech also contained no admission of wrongdoing. Gerald Ford, Nixon's vice president, took office as president after Nixon's resignation, and gave Nixon a full pardon, but Nixon's action made him the one and only American president to resign.