Watergate and Afterward: The Legacy of Richard M. Nixon

By Leon Friedman; William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

Preface

This volume of papers and proceedings from the Hofstra Presidential Conference on Richard M. Nixon examines the darker sides of the Nixon Presidency--the Watergate controversy, his impeachment, his alleged misuse of governmental power for political ends, and his administration's obsession with secrecy and the control of information.

Whatever else will be said about the accomplishments of the Nixon Administration--in terms of its opening of relations with China, its domestic initiatives, including the passing of new environmental laws and welfare modifications, and so forth--the fact remains that the Watergate scandal and the forced resignation from office of a sitting president marks the Nixon Presidency off from every other reign in our history. The governmental accomplishments of the Nixon Administration are described in companion volumes to this one. However, it seems appropriate to present what would be called the dark years of the Nixon period in a single volume.

Included in this volume are a final assessment of the Nixon Presidency by a group of biographers who have written about the man and his politics. In addition, various administration figures and outside historians appraise his accomplishments and failures in light of the scandals of the time. The question still remains whether the constitutional crisis created by Watergate ultimately outweighs the list of achievements under Nixon's rule.

In planning the conference we sought both papers and discussants to examine these contrasting impressions. The participants included scholars, journalists, and people who served in the Nixon Administration. We wanted to make the panels as comprehensive in scope and as extensive in depth as possible to create

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