Masters Thesis

The legacies of the Watergate scandal

For my MA project, I have selected to analyze the impact that the Watergate incident had on the Richard Nixon presidency as well as its impact on today’s political climate. The four areas that I have chosen to examine include Presidential/Media relations, the history and use of Executive Privilege, campaign finance reform, and how the tactics used by Nixon to impede the Watergate investigation contrasted with the tactics used by Bill Clinton during the investigation of his misdeeds. Although the Watergate incident occurred over thirty years ago, its impact is still felt in today’s political circles. In addition to a historical literature, which examines the middle of Nixon’s first term in office and ends with his resignation from the office of the President, I will also develop lesson plans for high school age students so that they can fully understand the significance of the Watergate incident. These lesson plans will utilize various resources that include readings, film, political cartoons, and the analysis of primary source documents. My objective in showing how the impact of an event that occurred thirty years ago still has significance today will be at the forefront of all lessons that will be developed. Research will be the primary route used to gain the information necessary to develop the narrative and the lesson plans. This research will be done on the internet and in the library. Books like The Wars of Watergate by Stanley Cutler and All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are important to this project because of their effectiveness in presenting important details in the Watergate incident. Mark J. Rozell and Raoul Berger both do an excellent job of detailing the history of the use of executive privilege in their respective books, Executive Privilege: The Dilemma of Secrecy and Democratic Accountability and Executive Privilege: A Constitutional Myth. In conclusion, by completing this project I will be able to successfully display how an event that occurred over thirty years ago still has relevance today; not only in the political arena, but also in the way the average citizen views the government and its institution.