Bell Ringer Today’s Essential Question: How did the Watergate scandal and President Ford’ pardon lead to American’s distrust of national politics? US-U9-L1 SSUSH25a A. Describe President Richard M. Nixon’s opening of China, his resignation due to the Watergate scandal, changing attitudes toward government, and the Presidency of Gerald Ford. President Nixon • President Nixon was beat by Kennedy in the 1960 election. • Nixon ran again in 1968 and won the electoral college hands-down, but popular vote by only 1%. • He promised to unify the nation, restore law and order, and to end the Vietnam War. Though he did not lay out his plan to end the Vietnam War, so it was just a promise. Nixon Visits China • Since 1949, the US did not recognize the communist regime of China as the official government of China. President Nixon sought to change that for the benefit of the US. • Nixon announced that he would visit China in February 1972 • The leaders agreed to have a more normal relationship, with Nixon giving a toast “Let us start a long march together, not in lockstep, but on different roads leading to the same goal, the goal of building a world structure of peace and justice.” • Nixon also hoped to ease tensions between the USSR and China and allow more peaceful talks between the USSR and the US by visiting China. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fs9Ldkbd CnM Watergate Scandal • Nixon only won the 1968 election by a very slim margin of popular vote, so his reelection campaign committee wanted to more solidly ensure his reelection. • To do this, they began spying on opposition rallies, spreading rumors and false reports, and broke into the Democratic Party’s headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. • The men who broke into the Watergate complex were caught that night and arrested. Watergate Scandal • It is believed that Nixon did not order the Watergate break in, but he certainly ordered the cover up. • The public did not pay much attention after a short time, and Nixon won the next election by a landslide • Shortly after reelection, the Watergate trial started. James McCord, one of the burglars, decided to cooperate and give grand jury testimony, and the flood gates opened. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZUQ6hKmwkI Watergate Trial • Whitehouse aide, Butterfield, testified that Nixon had ordered the tapping of the Whitehouse so he could write a memoir after leaving office. These tapes were discovered and told all that Nixon knew. • Nixon ordered the special prosecutor, Cox, to be fired. Two people resigned instead of firing Cox. Solicitor General Robert Bork fired Cox, and this was nicknamed the “Saturday Night Massacre” and badly damaged Nixon’s reputation. Other 1973 Problems for Nixon • Nixon’s Vice President, Agnew, had to resign due to bribes he had received as a governor and had continued to receive as VP. • Gerald Ford became Nixon’s Vice President. Ford made Nixon answer to his own past financial dealings. Nixon’s Resignation • Nixon was finally required to turn over the original tapes • He then had formal charges of presidential misconduct brought against him, called impeachment. • Charges included: – Watergate cover up, misuse of federal agencies to violate the rights of citizens, defied the authority of Congress by refusing to deliver tapes and other materials that the committee had requested. • The evidence was undeniable and President Nixon stepped down from his office on August 9, 1974. • Gerald Ford took the oath of office becoming the 38th president. Changing Attitudes toward Government • A series of new laws were implemented to limit the power of the executive branch and reestablish balance of power. – Federal Campaign Act Amendments: limited campaign contributions – Ethics in Government Act: required financial disclosure – FBI Domestic Security Investigation Guidelines: restricted the bureau’s political intelligence-gathering activities Changing Attitudes towards Government • Despite the efforts made to help Americans trust the government again, it was difficult to forgive and forget the Watergate Scandal. • People started saying phrases like “no one is above the law”. • Trust in the presidency was never quite the same. President Ford-Domestic Affairs • Ford pardoned Richard Nixon of all crimes he may or may not have committed while president. This action made Ford’s approval rating drop drastically overnight. • Ford faced a terrible economy, the worst since the Great Depression. His methods to combat it were to conserve oil and gas as well as other conservation methods. • He also attempted balance the budget http://www.bing.com/videos/watc and keep taxes low. h/video/fords-role-in-restoringfaith-in-presidency/6ehy6zq President Ford-Foreign Affairs • President Ford, the Chinese, and the Soviet Union signed the Helsinki Accords which established eastern European borders back to the pre-WWII borders and stated that the Soviet Union would uphold basic human rights. The Soviets went back on this promise and many Americans then turned their back on détente. Closing • What was the two-fold purpose of Nixon going to China? • Whose testimony at the Watergate Trial caused Nixon’s whole career to start crashing down? • Do you trust the government? Do you think you should after learning about Nixon today? Why or Why not? • Would you have pardoned Nixon of his crimes? Why or why not?