Explain how the Constitution worked in the Watergate Crisis.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that you will be able to find many resources written on the topic.  In the short term analysis, I think that the Constitution played a vital role in the Watergate affair.  The basic idea that the Constitution demonstrated was the principle of limited government.  President Nixon and his staff has been operating in a manner that suggested if the Constitution did not explicitly forbid something, it could conceivably be done.  The reinforcement of the idea that both the spirit and word of the Constitution must be adhered to is what comes out of the Watergate Affair.  The limitations of executive privilege and what can be counted as "national security" were revealed, as these elements proved to be the President's absolute defense.  The Legislative Branch being seen as a way to check the Executive Branch was another element as to how the Constitution ended up working during the Watergate Crisis.  In its landmark decision of United States v. Nixon, the Supreme Court represented the Judicial Branch in its assertion that no one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.  While Nixon and his aides did much to damage the Constitution, the Watergate Crisis ended up affirming the power of the Constitution as something that can transcend political crisis in affirming the needs and demands of a liberally democratic nation.

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