Watergate has become the household name for infamous and inherently shameful political scandals that leave a permanent mark on the reputation of those involved. However, with the weight of the emotional characteristics of the specified name, its historical significance and outcomes for American society are often overlooked. The development of a constitutional crisis, which ensued immediately, is by far the greatest and the most devastating outcome of the Watergate scandal.
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The process and legitimacy of information disclosure have become contentious subjects in the American legislation, with the Watergate scandal implying that greater levels of transparency would be beneficial for American citizens and the U.S. government. The infamous event in which Nixon was presumably involved created a rift between the U.S. government and its citizens, affecting social relationships, as well as economic and political settings (Foner 1093).
Despite being the event that created highly negative publicity for the American government and undermined the premises for building trust between state officials and American citizens, one has to acknowledge the historical significance of Watergate. The scandal has affected the perception of the U.S. in the global political arena, showcasing the fact that the American political system and legal framework are far from being perfect (Foner 1091). As a result, the U.S. suffered a significant blow to its reputation and required a lot of time to restore it in the global environment. However, the foreign affairs and the challenges that the U.S. government suffered in the specified domain could not possibly be compared with the damage to the trust that American citizens had built to the President by then.
Therefore, it is reasonable to claim that the Watergate scandal sent reverberation across the entire fabric of American society, causing multiple changes in an attempt to restore the sense of security that a substantial portion of the U.S. citizens lost after the reveal of the issue. The scandal has gained notoriety not only due to the extent of rage that it produced but also due to the fact that exchanged the nature of relationships between the U.S. government and American citizens forever.
The levels of trust that American people had in their government were reduced to the historical minimum, with citizens feeling extraordinarily insecure and exposed to the threat of being betrayed by the exact people that swore to protect them. As Foner puts it, “Nixon’s presidency remains a classic example of the abuse of political power” (1092). Indeed, Watergate can be considered the example of how the relationships between the state authorities and citizens can be destroyed within a few days. The presence of uncertainty around Nixon’s involvement in the scandal and the exact harm that he produced only exacerbated the experience, making Americans feel extremely vulnerable.
Thus, due to its scope and weight, the Watergate scandal sent ripples across the history, legislation, and culture of the United States, alerting the perception of political figures, information management, and the idea of safety within the U.S. forever. Although the instances such as Watergate have been prevented successfully ever since, with the importance of morality and ethical purity having become some o the fundamental principles in the American government, the legacy of the notorious event still has its effect on the U.S. Therefore, the historical significance of the event has to be acknowledged and incorporated into the complex pattern of American history. The Watergate scandal’s significance lies in the lessons that the American government learned about the effects that overstepping their authority implies.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.