What was the Watergate scandal?

Another in my new series of longwinded Aardvark answers made public, in this case answering a question about U.S. history from a 19 year-old in New York State: “What was the watergate scandal?”

Here’s my answer. (How’d I do?*):


Watergate is the name of a famous hotel in Washington, D.C. where a lot of political organizations (and individuals) kept offices and apartments. In the 1972 presidential election the Democratic Party, or the campaign of Democrat George McGovern, had an office in the Watergate. This office was robbed in a burglary that turned out to have been planned by undercover operatives working for the campaign of Republican Richard Nixon. This story leaked out bit by bit, mostly in the Washington Post (the movie “All the President’s Men” and the book it was based on, by Post reporters Woodward & Bernstein, tells this story pretty well if you’re interested, btw) and eventually turned out to be a scandal that reached up to the president himself. As with nearly all such poltiical scandals, it was the coverup where the worst crimes were committed. In the end, Nixon resigned (in 1974) rather than face an impeachment hearing. Hope this helps!

(image found using Creative Commons image search at Yahoo! and used with permission)

*I know the comment system seems to be churning here. I’m hacking on the blog so I’ll try to fix that. Reply to me @mediajunkie on twitter to comment.