Interviews with South Carolinians about the Watergate Scandal, 1973


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The Watergate scandal is a defining moment for modern American politics. The discovery of men breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington D.C. on June 17, 1972, sparked a period of political exposure. The investigation of the break-in led to the discovery of less than honorable tactics taken by high-level administration to sabotage political rivials and hide campaign money. The proceedings led to President Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974.

This local news clip from WBTW uses a format called Man-on-the-Street to ask passersby their feelings about the Watergate scandal. The South Carolinians that responded to the queries all still supported President Nixon despite the scandal. Watergate illustrates a growing distrust and cynacism in politics that is present to this day. While much of the country was losing faith in the President and in national politics in general, the clip shows that many South Carolinians still remained loyal to the President.


"Man-on-the-Street: Support for Nixon" 26 January 1973, Florence, South Carolina, WBTW 13683. Newsfilm Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


WBTW 13683, Man-on-the-Street Support for Nixon, Florence (?), SC (?), January 26, 1973

Man #1: Yes I do.  I vote Republican and I did vote for him.  I still believe in his integrity and I really don’t believe he is guilty in the Watergate case.  And I think he’s a real good man.  I really like him a lot. 

Woman #1: Not firmly.  Because I feel like he is trying to get off the subject of Watergate by the interview process.  I haven’t heard the details on whether or not there is really an energy crisis or not but I think that’s what he’s doing, getting away from Watergate.  Talking about the energy crisis to get away from Watergate. 

Man #2: I really don’t know.  I support him because he’s the President.  I think because he is the President people should support him even though there is a lot of talk about Watergate and all that stuff.  I don’t know if he is innocent or not.  I don’t know anything about that, but I believe that he is the President and I support him.  And the next man that is in there, I support him until he’s out. 

Man #3: I support President Nixon because I think everyone in this country should have respect for the President of the United States. 

Woman #2: Yes I do.  I feel like whatever he did whether it’s right or wrong, he is the President of our country and it’s our obligation as citizens of the United States to stand behind him and back him one hundred percent until his term of duty is over.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 5-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the social, economic, and political events that influenced the United States during the Cold War era.

Indicator 5-5.1: Summarize the impact of cultural developments in the United States following World War II, including the significance of pop culture and mass media and the population shifts to the suburbs.

StandardUSHC-9: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the social, economic, and political events that impacted the United States during the Cold War era.

Indicator USHC-9: Compare the domestic and foreign policies of the period-- including Kennedy's New Frontier, Johnson's Great Society, and Nixon's establishment of environomental protection and rapproachement with China-- as well as relations with the Soviet Union and the continuing crisis in the Middle East under all administration from Harry Truman to Jimmy Carter.




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