Watergate in 'America'

John McLaughlin and Richard Nixon

Fifty years after the resignation of President Nixon, literary editor Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., shares the untold story of three Jesuits and the three very different roles each played in the Watergate affair. Here you can take a look back at America's coverage of the political crime of the century as events unfolded between the summers of 1972 and 1974.

"The Watergate, Republicans and the GAO," (Editorial, 9/2/72)


"It would be unfair to pass judgment on anyone's guilt or innocence before that investigation is concluded, but one thing is sure; if no indictments are returned, many people—and they won't all be Democratic party officials—will be convinced that politics influenced the decision not to prosecute."

"Ready to Be Served," Edward Glynn (9/16/72)

"The Watergate affair has been sitting on the back burner all summer, like a covered stew simmering and occasionally sending forth a promise of contents deliciously spicy."

"The Duty of Citizen-Kings," (Editorial, 5/5/73)

"Now it looks, not like the bungling malfeasance of some minor agents of the Committee for the Reelection of President Nixon, but like the malfunction of a sinister strategy overseen by some highly placed Administration men whose faces, at this writing, are still in the shadows."

"Of Many Things," Donald R. Campion (5/12/73)

"One of the most corrosive aspects of the entire Watergate affair thus far has been the repetition of claims by public officials at the highest levels that completely exhaustive investigations has been made."

"The Watergate Comes Down," (Editorial, 5/12/73)

"What is at stake in the Watergate investigation is not an isolated case or two of bad judgment and excessive zeal. The fundamental danger is rather a pattern of power exercised in high places in total disregard of law."

"Watergate and Pretrial Publicity," Thomas M. Gannon (7/7/73)

"The committee's mandate directs it to gather information that will help the Senate to write new laws governing the conduct of Presidential election campaigns, but the committee is performing a quasi-magisterial function as well, running a seminar in American politics and government, complete with guest lecturers, for those citizens with the leisure and inclination to tune in."

"A White House Homily—Undelivered," (Editorial, 7/21/73)

"America politics has known before men who abused positions of power for private gain. The Watergate conspiracy betrayed the public trust in more deadly fashion. It stole our birthright. 

"Amnesty for President Nixon?", John F. X. Sheehan (8/4/73)

“With the dangers inherent in developing the habit of government by impeachment, with the conviction that most of us share some responsibility for the present muddled state, I am calling for an Act of Popular Clemency.”

"Watergate Honeymoon," S. J. Adamo (9/8/73)

"I suspect that before long all journalists will agree that, as good as the Watergate coverage was, it was much too much. In the flood of words, the danger arose that intelligent interest would be drowned."

"Storm Over the White House," (Editorial, 11/17/73)

“Despite the many zigs and zags of the events and explanations that have emerged from the White House in recent months, there still has been no basic change in direction. Counterattack and evasion have remained favored tactics, and they have only driven the President into an ever more isolated corner.”

"Father Smith Goes to Washington: An Interview With Robert F. Drinan," Edward Glynn (2/9/74)

“I must say that despite all of the evil I knew was in the government, I never anticipated that after three years in the Congress I would come upon the most corrupt Administration in the history of the Republic.”

"Politics, Morality and Impeachment," (Editorial, 3/16/74)

"Without prejudging President Nixon's guilt, we think that certain of the charges against him fall clearly into the category of the kind of offenses for which a President would deserve removal from office by impeachment and conviction."

"Untangling the Web of Watergate," Joseph A. O'Hare (6/15/74)

"Big Brother was watching and listening during FBI interviews, in the secrecy of the grand jury and even in the privacy of reporters' apartments. A citizen's freedom was a fragile thing in the Washington of 1972. The nightmare of 1984 has become more thinkable in 1974."

"President Ford Steps Forward..." (Editorial, 8/24/74)

“Gerald R. Ford, as he took his oath of office as 38th President of the United States of America, voiced the relief felt by millions of his fellow countrymen when he declared: “Our Constitution works…. Here, the people rule.”

"And Mr. Nixon Resigns" (Editorial, 8/24/74)

“The possibility of Mr. Nixon standing in dock and even being sentenced to prison is one we cannot contemplate with instinctive horror and compassion. But that horror and compassion are borne of our realization of the magnitude of the political injustice with which he is charged.”

"1974: Crisis of Leadership," (Editorial, 12/8/74)

"A crisis of confidence in government seems to be, as the year draws to a close, not simply a phenomenon of this or that national political scene, but rather a mood spread as widely as the international political order."

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