Friday, October 14, 2005

Teaching With Documents: Constitutional Issues - Watergate and the Constitution

Teaching With Documents: Constitutional Issues - Watergate and the Constitution. Lesson plan from the National Archives and Records Administration provides suggestions for using primary documents to teach about Watergate.

From the site:

When Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal, it was only the second time in our history that impeachment of a President had been considered. Nearly every action taken with regard to the case had some constitutional significance. The document shown here deals with a specific question: Should the Watergate Special Prosecutor seek an indictment of the former President?

It is two pages of a three-page memorandum written for the Watergate Special Prosecutor in August 1974, after Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency and before President Ford pardoned him. (The third page adds one more item to the pro-indictment list and adds another category, "delay decision.")

The Office of the Special Prosecutor was created by Executive Order in May 1973 and twice faced the question of whether to seek an indictment of Richard Nixon. The first time was in March 1974, when the grand jury handed down indictments of seven White House aides for perjury and obstruction of justice.

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