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What would've happened to our history if Nixon had got away with the Watergate scandal?

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MariahFranco | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:09 AM via web

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What would've happened to our history if Nixon had got away with the Watergate scandal?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Of course, there is no way to know what would have happened if Nixon had not been forced from office.  We can never go back and rerun history to see how things could turn out differently.  All we can do is to speculate.  It is possible to envision a number of scenarios that could have played out if Nixon had not been forced out.  Let us look at two such scenarios.

One possibility is that essentially nothing would have changed.  We Americans know very well that our politicians are not angels.  We know that many politicians have abused their power.  We know that there are times when politicians allow themselves to be influenced by people with money.  We know that politicians lie to us.  None of this is news.  It is possible that we would simply have shrugged our shoulders, knowing that our system is basically sound, but that no system can make people perfect.

Another possibility is that this would have irrevocably harmed our attitudes towards our government.  We might have concluded that our system is completely broken because even the person at the top of the government can get away with abusing his power.  We might have decided that we cannot ever trust our government again.  This might have led to a dangerous level of discontent with our system, one that could have ruined our entire democracy.

In all likelihood, the reality would have been somewhere in between.  Americans would have become more disillusioned with government, but not enough to cause a crisis in our system.  Of course, there is no way to prove this and other people can certainly disagree with my assessment. 

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