- The Watergate scandal "was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s as a result of the June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included "dirty tricks" such as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the FBI, CIA, and the Internal Revenue Service. The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration, articles of impeachment, and the resignation of Republican Richard Nixon, the President of the United States, on August 9, 1974—the only resignation of a U.S. president to date. The scandal also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction, and incarceration of 43 people, dozens of whom were Nixon's top administration officials...
The name "Watergate" and the suffix "-gate" have since become synonymous with political scandals in the United States and in other English- and non-English-speaking nations as well."
- Watergate Lesson Plan – The Limits of Presidential Power (PBS)
Estimated time: One 45-minute class period
Objective: To gain an understanding of the events of the Watergate scandal and its impact on the American presidency.
- Learn about the Watergate scandal of 1972-1974 and the events that led to Nixon’s resignation.
- Discuss the reasons why Nixon’s leadership was known as an “Imperial Presidency.”
- Discuss issues such as executive privilege and think about into how Watergate has limited presidential power in the 40 years since Nixon.
- Explore the ways that the Watergate scandal has changed the public perception of the presidency over the past 40 years."