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Watergate Case in “After the Fact” by Davidson et al. Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2020

Although historical events can be veiled in several ways, the truth will come into the light eventually. Although the details of the notorious Watergate scandal have been hushed down for a bunch of decades, people finally managed to find out the essential information which predetermined Nixon’s retirement and further political changes. Although it seemed obvious, and it has been officially proved that Nixon was to blame for what happened during Watergate, specific historical facts can confirm the opinion of thousands of people wrong.

Like many other historical events, the Watergate case requires thorough considerations. It seems that in their book “After the Fact,” Davidson and Lythe offer rather objective analysis of the historical events connected with Nixon’s impeachment. It is important to note that the book’s authors provide only objective facts to the reader. Yet Davidson and Lythe’s book must be somewhat emotional. As one indulges in reading the book, it becomes evident that the authors oppose neither of the sides, but dishonesty in politics, the disability to compromise, and the fear to admit the truth, no matter how hard it could be.

Considering the chapter in detail, one must note that the authors reflect on the Watergate case, considering each point which concerned the president or the people known as Plumbers. Since the correct evaluation of facts is crucial, the authors’ opinion works as a balance between the stiff description of the historical events and a more emotional interpretation of the story. It is quite peculiar that the authors of the book manage to balance between politics and real life.

Therefore, with the help of the original approach, it becomes possible to see the facts of the Watergate case straight as they are, without any attempts of politics to disclose what they consider right and to conceal what they think will harm their reputation. Despite the complicacy of the case, the book’s authors position it as a valuable historical study, not like a precedent for an example of a political scandal.

Marking the most impressive passages from the chapter, it would be reasonable to note that the authors of the book preferred to adhere to the style which could be called a dialogue with the audience – it was evident from the very beginning that Davidson and Lythe suggest that the reader could think together with them, which is quite unusual for this kind of books and thus provides a peculiar effect. With the help of this literary device, both authors make it clear that the opinion of the reader is of great value for them and encourage their audience to further reading.

“Yes, there’s a recording system in the White House,” Alexander Butterfield claimed (Davidson 2009, 421), and the Watergate scandal erupted. It was so simple, wasn’t it? However, some historians doubt that the case was worth the racket that mass media and the politicians interested in Nixon’s retirement raised. Considering all the evidence which lawyers managed to collect, one can say with certainty that there is much more than meets the eye to this case. Although Nixon was branded as the man not worthy of being truest and the person who could not take the post of the President, Lythe and Davidson considered that several facts had been left unrevealed – or, it would be better to say, left unnoticed: “How did presidential tape recordings turn a “third-rate burglary attempt” into an impeachable offense?” (Davidson 2009, 419)

Since embracing the entire chain of events that occurred at the time of the infamous Watergate case was practically impossible, Davidson and Lythe preferred to enumerate the historical events in their succession to point the reader’s attention to the most important things, which is rather reasonable. However, it is still a great pity that the historians skipped specific periods – these could prove far richer with important facts than it seems as one reads the book.

Thus, it can be considered that Davidson and Lythe embraced the main historical events, paying great attention to details and the tiniest issues which were raised in court. Regarding the court protocols, the authors prove that their research is trustworthy and deserves significant attention. However, it can also be considered that the authors tend to assume the position of Nixon’s barristers, who claimed that the president had nothing to do with the recording of the White House sessions. It becomes evident as the authors build their argument: “No doubt Nixon said little about the tapes because he understood that bugging the conversations of his staff, diplomats, and other visitors was difficult to justify” (Davidson 2009, 423).

Speaking of the sources which the authors utilized in their search for the historical truth, one can claim that the materials from which the information has been taken are highly reliable and more than sufficient for scientific and political research. With the help of the court protocols, the reports concerning the Watergate case, and the recordings Davidson and Lythe came as a bombshell.

Taking a closer look at the bibliography, one can notice that the authors of the book considered such a source as the Washington Post issues with the transcripts of the president’s speech and the court performance of the rest of the participants. Since Davidson and Lythe used the original recording of the court sessions, it presupposes that the authors conducted an individual interpretation of the conversations on the recording since this could lead to a one-sided assessment of the record and further misunderstanding. However, it must be admitted that the authors of the research provided a plethora of information, which proved extremely useful for the consideration of the case; there are still certain doubts that another viewpoint on the problem could be a good idea.

Considering the speech of Nixon, Davidson and Lythe did not provide a thorough analysis of Nixon’s words as a lawyer would have. Yet, they marked the critical details that the speech of the president was shot through. Thus, one of the issues of crucial importance which the two writers noticed was the issue underlying the entire investigation. Indeed, the question of what Mr. President knew and what he did not know about the Plumbers and the way they entered the White House was on the agenda of the court session. It was evident that the idea of the president’s guilt tipped the scale both in the Congress and among the public: “[…] one of the officials confessed that they had been under “political pressure to plead guilty and remain silent.” (Davidson 2009, 419)

Therefore, the sources in the chapter can be considered quite reliable. Yet, it would be a good idea if the authors had added a few opinions of both Nixon’s defenders and his opponents. With this approach, the chapter would have obtained the air of pluralism of views. However, it cannot be denied that with such an approach, the credibility of Davidson’s and Lythe’s position would be seriously doubted – the arguments that both opponents drive are rather strong. The book would have lost its cogency.

Another issue to ponder over is the methodology that has been used to compile the book. There is no doubt that with the help of the original and peculiar structure of the book and how the research was conducted, the new version of the Watergate case started sounding in a new and convincing way. Once the new means of research were applied, the writers could find a way to express their ideas so that the entire USA could hear them.

Davidson and Lythe conducted their research with the help of a peculiar methodic that allowed creating an original and unique evaluation of historical events. Combining a purely scientific approach with a gripping manner of storytelling, the authors create an impressive piece. Although their approach seems to lack scientific issues at a certain point and obtain the air of journalism as a style of writing research, their interpretation of the historical facts has to be taken into account.

In terms of the methodology which Davidson and Luthe used in their research to combine the facts and produce the most objective scientific work, it would be possible to say that the authors worked on a vast material which they have squeezed to a size of an exciting book. The creation of theirs could be called a political novel. Though such research methods bring into question the credibility of certain events, the facts that they expose to the reader are more than plausible – they are convincing.

Perhaps, this could be considered a flaw of the book since classical research presupposes that the author is not supposed to produce half-baked ideas. However, this case can be considered an exception. Since the only thing which the authors of the work convince people in is that they should be as objective as possible, it can be considered that the methodology of the book is rather unusual yet inspiring. Touching upon morals without a trace of fear, Davidson and Lythe manage to stay politically correct and remain ethical and professional throughout the book.

Reference List

Davidson, J. W. & Lytle, M. H. (2009). After the Fact. The Art of Historical Detection, 6th Ed. New York: McGraw Hill.

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