Illusion and Delusion: The Watergate Decade
On June 17, 1972, five men, including former CIA agent James McCord, were arrested in the burglary of the Democratic party headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C. McCord was working for the Republican party.
Later in the same year, President Nixon announced that an internal White House investigation by counsel John Dean revealed no involvement by White House officials.
President Nixon made an historic visit to China in February, 1972. China and the U.S. agreed to normalize relations and lessen the risk of war.
On May 22, 1972, the Twenty-seventh, or Equal Rights, Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Senate and sent on to the House for ratification. The amendment prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex.
On September 15, 1972, a federal grand jury indicted the five men involved in the Watergate burglary and former White House aides G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.
Less than two months later, Richard Nixon was reelected in the biggest Republican landslide in history over challenger George McGovern. 45,767,218 people voted for Nixon and 28,357,668 voted for McGovern. In the Congress, the Democrats gained two Senate seats and moved to a 57-43 majority and maintained a 255-179 majority in the House.
President Nixon ordered the resumption of full-scale bombing in North Vietnam on December 18 after the Paris peace talks reached an impasse. Bombing was halted on December 30.
On December 29 Life Magazine stopped publishing after 36 years of weekly publication.
On January 30, 1973, James W. McCord and G. Gordon Liddy were convicted of breaking into and illegally wiretapping Democratic Party headquarters in the previous year.
FBI director L. Patrick Gray resigned on April 27 after revelations he destroyed Watergate records given to him by White House counsel John Dean.
On April 30, President Nixon announced the resignations of his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman, counsel John Dean and attorney general Richard Kleindienst. Nixon denied personal involvement in the Watergate break-in or the subsequent cover up.
In May, the 110-story Sears Tower in Chicago was completed, making it the world's tallest building.
On October 16, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Henry Kisssinger and to Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam for their efforts in ending the Vietnam War. Tho declined his award.
The Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, chaired by North Carolina democratic Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., opened public hearings into the Watergate affair on May 17, 1973.
White House counsel John Dean testifed before the committee from June 25 to June 29 and implicated himself, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Nixon, Mitchell and others. He also produced a White House enemies list of scores of administration foes.
In January, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in the now-famous "Roe v. Wade" decision. State laws restricting abortions during the first six months of pregnancy were struck down.
On May 5, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in a record time of 1:59. Five days later, the New York Knicks won the NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers, four games to one.
On July 16, 1973, Alexander Butterfield, former White House aide, revealed the existence of the Watergate Tapes, which were recordings of the Nixon White House conversations.
On July 26, President Nixon refused to release the tapes.
In August of 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew denied charges that he received kickbacks while previously serving as Baltimore county executive and as governor of Maryland.
Agnew resigned on October 10 and pleaded no contest to one charge of income tax evasion. Two days later, Gerald Ford, Representative from Michigan, was nominated for Vice President.
Maynard Jackson was elected as mayor of Atlanta on October 16 and became the first black mayor of a major Southern city.
John Ehrlichman and G. Gordon Liddy were indicted on September 4, 1973 in connection with the 1971 burglary of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ellsberg had given Pentagon documents to the New York Times in 1971, and Ehrlichman's and Liddy's "White House Plumber's Unit" was created to plug such security leaks.
On October 20, Attorney General Eliot Richardson resigned during the "Saturday Night Massacre". Richardson had refused to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus also refused to fire Cox and also resigned. Solicitor General Robert Bork then took over the job of firing Cox.
On October 23, eight impeachment resolutions were introduced in the House, and Nixon announced he would turn over the Watergate Tapes.
On November 21, an 18.5 minute gap in the tapes was revealed by the White House, and on November 27, Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods testified she accidentally erased five minutes of the tapes.
On July 30, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon for blocking investigation of the Watergate affair and for not complying with the committee's subpoena for taped White House conversations.
Nixon released the tapes on August 5, which revealed he impeded the Watergate investigation.
In a television address to an audience of 100 million viewers, Richard Nixon announced his resignation on August 8, 1974. He said he made some wrong decisions, but that he was resigning because he no longer had the support of Congress. He formally resigned on August 9.
On August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States.
On September 8, President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed or participated in while in office.
In the face of surging oil prices, President Ford proposed a program on October 8 to control inflation, called WIN (Whip Inflation Now). Ford also called for a five percent tax surcharge on corporate profits and on personal incomes of more than $15,000.
On December 10, Wilbur D. Mills, Democratic Representative from Arkansas and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, resigned his chairmanship after several highly - publicized incidents linking him with stripper Fanne Fox.
On July 14, 1976 James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, former governor of Georgia, was nominated on the first ballot for the presidency. He selected Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota as his running mate.
On August 19, the Republicans narrowly nominated Gerald Ford as its nominee over former California governor Ronald Reagan, and Senator Robert Dole of Kansas was nominated for vice president.
In the same year, Barbara Walters became the first anchorwoman of a network news program and the highest-paid in television history with a five-year, $5,000,000 contract with ABC.
Representative Wayne Hays was forced to resign in 1976 in the wake of a sex scandal, and high-level congressmen admitted to receiving illegal donations from Gulf Oil Corporation. The Justice Department launched a major probe into the activities of the South Korean lobby, led by businessman Tongsun Park. The lobby influenced congressmen and government officials through cash and campaign contributions estimated at $500,000 to $1,000,000 annually.
During his presidential campaign, Jimmy Carter pledged "I'll never tell you a lie."
On November 2, 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected president of the United States with 51% of the popular vote. Democrats kept a 61-38 majority in the Senate and a House majority of 292-143.