Watergate, designation of a major U.S. political scandal that began with the burglary
and wiretapping of the Democratic party's campaign headquarters, later engulfed
President Richard M. Nixon and many of his supporters in a variety of illegal acts, and
culminated in the first resignation of a U.S. president.
The burglary was committed on June 17, 1972, by five men who were caught in the
offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate apartment and
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in office; Nixon was then immune from federal
The Watergate scandal severely shook the faith of the American people in the
presidency and turned out to be a supreme test for the U.S. Constitution. Throughout
the ordeal, however, the constitutional system of checks and balances worked to
prevent abuses, as the Founding Fathers had intended. Watergate showed that in a
nation of laws no one is above the law, not even the president.